All too quickly my winter cooking goal is over. My Indian Cooking course is complete and my cookery notes are twenty recipes deeper and sixteen spices heavier. We made dishes from all parts of India including curries, vindaloos, parathas, pooris and dal. My favorite was the Tandoori class.
Tandoori dishes are from Northern Indian and refer to the tandoor oven in which food and bread is cooked. The tandoor is a huge clay pot enclosed in a brick and dirt casing. Traditional ovens are wood fired, while modern ovens are gas or electric. In either case, the oven reaches minimum temperatures of 900°F (482 °C) and up to 1200°F (648°C)
At school we had a gas fired tandoor, for which our Chef was immensely thankful. In India, he said the wood fired tandoors have a dedicated staff who feed the fires twelve hours a day. Only recently have labor laws recognized the detrimental effects of constantly inhaling hot ash. Legislation now promote regular breaks for these workers.
Cooking is done by first skewering meat on long metal skewers. The skewers stand upright in the oven while the meat is broiled by the super heated tandoor.
Breads (naan) is baked on the sides of the oven. Using a padded cushion, the flatbread is slapped against the oven wall and cooked in less than five minutes. In restaurants, separate ovens are kept for breads as they need higher temperatures than those used for cooking meat and vegetables.
Of course, the best part of cooking tandoori is eating it. Savory and juicy chicken with hot bread. Yum!
So that’s it for my Winter cooking goal.
But wait. Winter’s not yet over. I still have time for a second goal. What could that be? Hmm. Stay tuned 🙂
Toronto, Canada. February 2020