The Tandoori Technique
To achieve perfection when preparing Indian food, little comes close to what the tandoor is capable of. The oven is usually cylindrical in shape and curves inwards to preserve and concentrate heat. Described in simple terms, the tandoor oven is a large clay pot with materials such as mud or concrete on the outside for insulation. Heat is generated from a hot fire built at the bottom.
Meat is lowered into the tandoor by using long metal skewers and left to cook in the heated and smoky enclosure of the oven. Usually temperatures go up to around 260°C; the strength of the fire can be increased by opening a little hatch at the bottom which allows more oxygen to get sucked into the flames.
Marinate in a Sea of Deliciousness
As Hugo Chetcuti’s kitchen team well know, a good tandoori dish is nothing without some extra spice to really bring out those flavours. The most traditional marinade is yoghurt – its natural acidity is perfect for keeping the herbs and spices in place. Its flavour is very mild, so it doesn’t overwhelm the taste of the meat at all. You might also notice that tandoori meat is typically bright yellow or red. These colours are the result of ground annatto seeds, saffron or turmeric, which are either rubbed into the meat or form part of the marinade.
Naan can also be cooked in the tandoor, but in a different way. The flatbread is pressed up against the inner neck of the oven and allowed to bake slowly over the fire, usually after first being formed into an oval shape.
The most famous tandoori dish is the Tandoori or Dhaniya Murgh – which we’re happy to say is on our menu at Hugo’s Lounge, Hugo Chetcuti’s pan-Asian restaurant in St. Julian’s. And it’s just one of many! Sample our Lamb Boti or share a Tandoori Chicken Platter with friends or family. Everything is cooked in an authentic tandoor clay oven.
Remember to follow us on Facebook for news and updates!