Tandoor is a big thing in India, a major part of every meal here involves something tandoori, name it various kinds of breads or the grilled chicken, seafood or vegetables, tandoor is the deep clay oven and everything coming out hot and freshly cooked from it, is tandoori.
I found a good place in Anjuna beach, Goa (the Country Kitchen Restaurant) for breakfast and one time my friend and I were having a late morning so we decided to make it lunch, we ordered tandoori chicken and was impressed. The grilled marinated chicken was hot and crispy from the outside yet very juicy inside. I came to talk to the chef and told him I wanted to know more about the tandoor oven and how he bakes and grills his food, and Bijay was nice enough to let me observe his work and even wrote me the recipe for the marination.
A day later we dropped by again to order chicken tandoori and cheese naan ( the flat bread with stuffed cheese inside, baked in the tandoor oven) so I could take some photos and feature them on Eating off the Map, and Bijay was very eager to walk me through all the steps.
Basically you marinate the ingredients, if you are making tandoori food, with a mixture of yogurt and various kinds of Indian herbs and spices such as: black salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, mustard oil, some Indian spices like kastari methi and garam masala… not all together at once but they all create a reddish paste of flavorful spices.
After 1 hour of marination, the chicken is put on the skewer ready to be cooked, with super hot-burning charcoal underneath in the deep oven, one tandoori dish normally does not take longer than 10 to 15 minutes.
Breads are also baked in the tandoor, and Indian breads, ranging from baked to fried, come in such a variety of flatbreads rather than in loaves; with the tandoor oven you will normally see 3 popular kinds of Chapatti, Roti and Naan.
Chapatti is the round, thin unleavened bread, a roti is basically the same shape and size or a little bigger, and thicker than chapatti; then comes naan which is a leavened bread, thick and chewy, and comes in a long triangle shape, normally naan is a great choice to accompany meaty dishes in Indian meals. With naan you can have it plain or spice it up a bit with stuffings like cheese, garlic or butter, and my favourite is the naan with cheese stuffed and melted inside.
On my way around the South of India I have been to different places that serve tandoori food, and recently l found my new favourite place in Arambol beach, Goa – the 21 Coconuts Inn Restaurant where so far I’ve had the best cheese naan ever, you have to come here whenever you are in Arambol, the restaurant is right on the beach, easy to navigate and has friendly smiley staffs, and the thing that matters here is their great fresh food! A highly recommended place in Arambol! Not only for the naan; yet I have to say cheese naan here is the best, as we always kid, it is the cheesiest naan ever, so “cheesy” and everybody would love it. We try the tandoori mushroom; prawn and fish from here and they didnt disappoint us at all.
Here are some tandoori photos i snapped in Aurangabad, Bangalore, at the Counrty Kitchen in Anjuna, and the last couple shots are from the 21 Coconuts Inn Arambol.
(And sorry for the low quality photos, this is all blogging with an iphone can do during my 4 weeks in India so far!)
Hope you have a great week everyone!