The other night I cooked this simple linguine and mussels…
Made of brick and clay, this is a tandoor oven.
When you visit an Indian restaurant, many of your dishes might be cooked with this cylindrical and fiery-hot piece of equipment. It runs at nearly 500-degrees and within five minutes, in the confined space, has your skewers of marinated chicken cooked to a perfect tenderness inside with a bit of delicious char on the outside.
That naan, light and fluffy and browned (and sometimes slathered in butter) that is so delicious? The bread is made with a dough of flour and baking powder enriched with a touch of yogurt and fennel seed and shaped on a small “pillow” that is then slapped onto the side of the rocking hot oven to cook.
You may often note a small hole the size of a pencil’s diameter or so in your naan: that marks the spot where the bread was extracted from the tandoor’s inferno by the cook — whose arms are often quite marked by reaching down into the oven. (I used to work a wood-fired pizza oven: I had no hair on my right forearm!)
Here are a three suggestions for tandoor eating this weekend (please check with individual venues for hours of opening).
Mango Chutney, Cambridge
Seekh kabab: minced beef blended with spices and herbs.
Nisha’s Kitchen, Kitchener
Paneer tikka: paneer marinated in yogurt, herbs and spices.
Masala Bay, Waterloo
Murg tandoori: spring chicken marinated in red masala.