In most restaurants which serve Indian or Middle Eastern food, tandoori chicken is a very popular dish. The chicken is slightly burnt, and is cooked with a lot of butter. A tandoori oven is a cylindrical oven made from clay, and is used to bake and cook food. It is very commonly found in countries like India, Pakistan, Turkey, Central Asia, and other Middle Eastern countries.
How Food is Cooked
Tandoori ovens are large clay ovens which are heated with the help of charcoal or wood fire supplied at their base. This cylinder is hollow inside where the charcoal is placed. The food which is to be cooked is either hung right above the fire or stuck to the sides of the clay surface. Because the food comes in direct contact with the fire, this type of cooking is also known as hot air or radiant heat cooking. The speed of cooking in this oven is very fast because the heat in it goes up to about 480 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit). This temperature is maintained for hours, making the process of cooking food quick and easy.
Benefits and Uses
- The ancient tandoori ovens were typically made from clay and thus the tinge of this charred clay would seep into the food, giving it a unique taste.
- Recipes of foods cooked in the tandoori oven usually involve marinating and spicing the food to give it a unique and extraordinary taste. You can cook all types of meat, bread, vegetables, and fruits in this oven with the help of thin metal blades used to expose the food directly to the heat.
- Another major benefit is that you do not need oil for cooking the food, as the oven is specially designed for dry cooking methods. You can add the butter and oil after the food is cooked, like it is done in barbecues.
- The time taken to prepare food in this oven is less than any other oven because of the high temperatures and sustained heating.
Method for Use
- This oven has a clay base where you have to add either the charcoal or the wood.
- There is a side door to the oven which allows air to flow in and maintain the temperatures inside. After the fire has been lit, close this door and let the oven heat up. After about an hour, the oven will be ready for use.
- Insert the meat in the skewers and place them in the middle of the oven, a little above the heat. If you are making bread recipes, stick the dough to the inner walls of the heated oven.
- You do not have to add a lid, as the mouth of the oven is comparatively narrow, and since the side door is closed, you also need some airflow in the oven. After a few minutes, remove the cooked food and make sure that all of it is cooked well.