Eating the same meals over and over can get boring, and it's hard to find new recipes that are both delicious and quick. If you're looking for a way to spice up your meals without sacrificing nutrition, Tandoori is the perfect solution. Tandoori is a style of cooking that originated in India, and it is known for its use of spices and herbs. Let's find out more about this delicious Indian dish.
What is Tandoori?
When it comes to spice, I am a bit of an addict. I love nothing more than to add a little heat to my meals, and Tandoori is the perfect way to do that. It is a delicious Indian dish that is cooked in a tandoor, which is a special kind of oven. The meat is marinated in a mixture of spices and yogurt, and then it is cooked on a skewer over charcoal. The result is a juicy, flavorful, and slightly charred piece of meat that is absolutely delicious!
Tandoori is made by marinating meat, fish, or vegetables in yogurt and spices. The items are threaded onto a skewer. They are then cooked over charcoal in a tandoor, which is like an oven made from clay, designed for cooking with high heat.
This style of cooking helps to retain the natural moisture of the ingredients while giving them an incredible flavor. This style of cooking typically uses a blend of cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, chili powder, and turmeric. These spices are combined to create a flavor that is both earthy and flavorful.
What is a Tandoor?
A Tandoor is a clay oven that is used to cook food. The word “tandoor” comes from the Persian word “tanur”, which means “oven” or “furnace”.
A tandoor usually uses charcoal or wood as fuel. It can reach temperatures as high as 900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 480 degrees Celsius. The high heat of the Tandoor cooks food quickly and evenly while also giving it a smoky flavor. source (Wikipedia)
Tandoors have been used in India for centuries, and are commonly used to cook chicken, lamb, and fish. Bread is also often cooked in a Tandoor – naan, a type of flatbread, is one of the most popular items to come out of a Tandoor.
If you want to get a tandoor for your kitchen, you're in luck. They're getting more and more common in home kitchens all over the world.
What Does Tandoori Taste Like?
- Tandoori has a savory and slightly smoky flavor profile.
- It is reminiscent of Indian spices such as chili powder, cumin, and coriander, as well as a hint of ginger and garlic.
- When used in moderation, these spices can add a great deal of flavor to your food without making it too spicy.
- The combination of marinated ingredients and the heat from the tandoor creates a delicious smoky taste that can't be found in any other dish.
Tikka vs Tandoori
Let's break down the main differences between these two popular dishes.
- The word "tikka" means "pieces" or "bits" in Hindi, whereas the word "tandoori" refers to the type of food cooked in the clay oven.
- Tikka is made with chunks of meat or vegetables that are marinated in spices and yogurt, then cooked in a tandoor. Tandoori, on the other hand, is made with whole pieces of meat or fish that are marinated in spices and yogurt, then cooked in a tandoor.
- Both tikka and tandoori are typically prepared using chicken thighs because they are juicier and more flavorful than chicken breasts. However, you can use any type of chicken you prefer when making either dish.
- Both tikka and tandoori are best served with rice, naan bread, and raita (a yogurt-based sauce).
- Both tikka and tandoori are usually cooked in a clay oven and in a variety of different ways including on a grill, in a cast iron skillet, or even in an oven.
Garam Masala vs Tandoori Masala
- Garam masala is an aromatic blend of various dried spices that can be used to season dishes or as a finishing touch to add complexity and depth to a meal.
- It’s usually made with cumin, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, and bay leaves.
- The spices are ground together into a powder and added at the end of cooking to enhance flavors.
- The term “garam” means “warm” in Hindi and it refers to the way this spice blend warms up a dish with its heat!
- Tandoori masala is also an aromatic blend of various dried spices but it has a distinctive taste compared to Garam masala.
- Common ingredients include cumin, coriander, black pepper, ginger powder, turmeric powder, and garlic powder along with red chili peppers for extra heat. This spice mixture is typically quite spicy due to the addition of red chili powder.
- It is used mainly for marinating meats prior to cooking in a tandoor oven or grilling them in an open flame.
Here's a quick overview of some of the most popular Tandoori recipes.
- Tandoori Breads – There are two types of popular tandoori bread: naan and roti. Naan is an unleavened flatbread that has a slightly chewy texture, while roti is made with whole wheat flour and has a crispier texture than naan. Both are delicious when served hot, straight from the tandoor!
- Tandoori Chicken – This dish is one of the most iconic and beloved tandoori dishes, and it’s easy to see why! Marinated chicken pieces are skewered on long metal skewers and cooked to perfection in the tandoor. The marinade typically includes yogurt, ginger, garlic, and spices like cumin and garam masala for lots of flavors.
- Chicken Tikka Masala – This twist on tandoori chicken features a creamy tomato sauce for an enhanced flavor. The chicken is marinated just like in the traditional tandoori recipe but is mixed with the sauce before serving, adding extra sauciness!
- Butter Chicken – A classic tandoori dish, butter chicken, combines tender chicken chunks with a rich tomato sauce and heavy cream for extra richness. Perfect with warm naan or rotis for dipping into the flavorful sauce!
- Shish Kebab – A shish kebab typically involves cubed meat, often chicken or lamb. These meat cubes are threaded onto skewers and then grilled over an open flame to create a delicious dish!
- Seekh Kebab – The term 'seekh' relates to skewers, and 'kebab' signifies meat cooked on charcoal. Seekh kebab are skewered meat sausages (usually lamb or chicken) cooked over an open flame. Serve them with mint chutney for added deliciousness!
How to Make Tandoori At Home
Here's a quick overview of how to make tandoori at home, no matter what your cooking setup may be!
- Home Tandoori Clay Oven: The classic way to make tandoori is in a clay oven or tandoor. If you have access to a tandoor, simply marinate your meats and vegetables in the traditional tandoori spices overnight. The next day, cook them in the tandoor until they're perfectly charred on the outside and juicy on the inside.
- Conventional Oven: Don't own a tandoor? You can effortlessly prepare tandoori dishes in a standard oven. To do this, start by preheating your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, or as high as your oven can go. Then, cook your meats and vegetables on a wire rack that's placed on a baking sheet. Again, you'll want to marinate your food in the traditional spices overnight for the best results.
- Barbeque: Tandoori also tastes great cooked on the barbeque! Simply preheat your grill to high heat, then cook your meats and vegetables for 3-4 minutes per side.
- Cast Iron Skillet: If you don't have an outdoor grill, you can still achieve that ideal char by using a cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Simply heat your skillet over high heat until it's smoking hot, and then cook your meats and vegetables for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Panini Press: Believe it or not, you can even make tandoori with a panini press! Just set your panini press to high heat and cook your meats and veggies for 3-4 minutes per side.
- Electric Grill: An electric grill is another great option for making tandoori at home. Just set it to high heat and cook your food for 3-4 minutes per side. And don't forget...marinate, marinate, marinate!
- Air Fryer: If you're looking for a healthier option, try making tandoori in an air fryer. Just start by preheating your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, cook your food for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it's crispy.
Top Tips for Tandoori Cooking
Tandoori cooking is a delicious and quick way to prepare food – but only if you do it right! Here are my tips on how to get the most out of your tandoori cooking experience.
- Marinade: Start by marinating your ingredients with yogurt and spices. This will add flavor to your dish and help keep it moist while it cooks. I suggest using Greek yogurt because it has a slightly tangy flavor that goes nicely with the smoky taste of the tandoor. When it comes to spices, my usual choices are garam masala, cumin, coriander powder, turmeric powder, chili powder, ginger-garlic paste, and a touch of salt. Mix all these ingredients together until you have a thick paste.
- Resting: Let your ingredients marinate for at least 4 hours (or overnight if you can). The longer you let the marinade sit on the food, the more flavorful it will be! Keep your ingredients in an airtight container or zip-top bag in the refrigerator during this time so they don't spoil or dry out.
- Preheat: Before cooking in the oven, make sure you preheat it to at least 500°F (260°C). This will ensure that the food cooks evenly and quickly without drying out or burning. If possible, place some charcoal or wood chips at the bottom of your oven to provide extra smokey flavor while cooking!
People Also Ask [FAQs]
Tandoori is a term used to describe dishes that have been cooked in a traditional clay oven, known as a tandoor.
Tandoori dishes are known to be spicy, as they contain a variety of spices including cumin, garlic, and chili peppers. However, the level of spiciness can be managed by adjusting the amount and type of spices used in the dish. Additionally, cooling accompaniments such as yogurt or raita can help temper the spiciness.
Wrap Up: What is Tandoori?
- Tandoori is a delicious Indian dish that is cooked in a tandoor, an oven-like clay pot.
- This style of cooking helps to retain the natural moisture of the ingredients while giving them an incredible flavor, and it is becoming increasingly popular in home kitchens around the world.
- Tandoori is an incredibly versatile dish that can be cooked in a variety of ways. Whether you have access to a clay oven or tandoor, a conventional oven, barbeque grill, cast iron skillet, panini press, or electric grill; with the right marinade and cooking method it's easy to make delicious homemade tandoori dishes!
- Garam masala and tandoori masala both boast complex aromas and intense flavors but they should not be used interchangeably because they offer different elements when added to a dish.
- With these tips in mind, now all that’s left is for you to get creative and enjoy some mouthwatering home-cooked tandoori!
How To Make The Tandoori Marinade
- 2 tablespoon melted butter or clarified butter
- 2 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
- 2 tablespoon yogurt
- 2 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder optional
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves Kasuri methi
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala optional
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Firstly, gather all the ingredients including mustard oil, ginger and garlic paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder, Kashmiri chili powder, fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi), chat masala, garam masala, and salt in a bowl. Mix these ingredients well.
- Then add a tablespoon of lime juice along with yogurt to the mixture and combine it together until it turns into a thick paste-like texture.
- After combining all the ingredients together and making sure there is no clumping in the marinade.You can now use this delicious tandoori marinade on your favorite meat or vegetables as desired.
- Let the marinade sit overnight or at least an hour before cooking to allow the flavors to fully absorb.
- Although Kashmiri chili powder is an optional ingredient, using it will give the marinade a vibrant red hue.
- Butter is ideal for tandoori cooking because of its high smoke point of 482°F (250°C).
- Most restaurants use a little red food coloring in the marinade. To add food coloring and achieve the same restaurant-style effect, mix it with the melted butter before adding it to the other ingredients. The amount of food coloring will depend on the type [powdered, liquid, or paste], as well as desired effect.