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The Weekend Tandoorist (page 2 of 2)

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Fun with the tandoor on a rainy Sunday.
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Back the naans. Flour your working surface, then take a tangerine-sized ball of dough in your hand and stretch it or flatten it using a rolling pin. 'Why can't you just show me?', you will ask. Well, Lord Shiva was on vacation this afternoon and I, unfortunately, had only one pair of hands, both covered in sticky naan dough. No photo.

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Gently lay each naan on a very clean floured towel, here one I bought at Ikea. Cover with sesame or poppy or black onion seeds and leave to raise for 20-30 minutes.

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Get the tandoor ready - heat it up to the max. While a tandoor certainly is a fancy appliance seldom see in Western kitchen, it is by no means a luxury reserved to oil Sheiks. Here is a picture a reader sent me from his gas-powered tandoor. In Britain such a tandoor might set you back 800 quids or less, hardly the most expensive appliance ever.

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Using a glove and infinite precaution, stick the naans onto the tandoor inside walls and pray. They might fall off right away it too dry, or tear in half, lengthwise if you please, if too wet. Or you might need a crowbar to take them off the tandoor. The right balance is quite difficult to attain for the weekend tandoorist.

Readers whose heart would fill with the putrid brew of envy while reading this article will find confort in this picture showing the charred remains of a number of naans who just fell off the tandoor. I can't say that I have made the tandoor my bitch just yet. In the past I managed to turn out some rather fantastic naans, but today only moderate success!

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Using the pair of bread seekhs, those long pikes that come with a tandoor, one flat to pry the naan off the walls and the other ending in an L-shaped prick, remove the naans from the oven after about 4 minutes. Many will fall down the beast's throat, but don't worry, the good Lord will recognize its own.

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Skewer the meat on the regular seekhs and put something to stop them from falling down, like a potato for instance. I use rotisserie forks instead. Much less messy.

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Then plunge the meat into the beast.

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Meanwhile, prepare the garnish. Slice an onion and pepper, cut a few limes in half and bring out the onion date chutney. I'll show you how to make that one very soon.

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After about 8 minutes, remove from the tandoor, hang from the ceiling and let the fat drip for 5 minutes. Baste in clarified butter or the remaining marinade emulsified with some oil, then tandoorize for 5 more minutes until the edges of the meat cubes start to turn black. Go answer the door to tell the firemen that everything is all right, really, then call the guests to the table.

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Finally, here is our quick-fix TV tray.


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If you do this recipe at home please let me know how it worked for you by submitting a comment or send me a picture if you can. Thanks!


  • #1
  • Comment by Ben
Fantastically funny post. Must be the Sunday feeling. Also, I'm impressed your camera didn't melt while taking your picture from the belly of the beast!!
  • #2
  • Comment by Richard
Hi Francois,

I should remember never to read your posts when hungry...

Mmmmm..... Curry..... NEED Curry....

I have a pork vindaloo in the freezer... not for long...

All the best

  • #3
  • Comment by hamish
Hey dude, I love your website, and if that is your head poking over the volcano hole of the tandoor then you look excactly like I imagined. A wee bit off topic, but I made the beef carrot daube the other day and am still eating it today... easily the best dish I have had in months!
  • #4
  • Comment by Stephen
Great stuff!  Noticed you use a Kenwood mixer rather than the iconic KitchenAid.  Deliberate choice and have you been happy with the Kenwood?
  • #5
  • Comment by adriana
Maybe not perfect naan, but your meal is delicious looking, none the less!Love your post!
  • #6
  • Comment by thuan
Looks good. This begs the question, what makes a tandoori a tandoori?  extreme high heat? The walls trapping and reflecting the heat? Functionally it seems like a "big green egg" or "komodo kamado" to me  (charcoal-sourced, porcelain walls).  
  • #7
  • Answered by fx
Ben, thanks for your comment! The hardest was to skewer the camera and still get a usable picture before it melted.
  • #8
  • Answered by fx
Richard, sorry not to help your diet with my pics. I'll try to post a lean vegetarian curry for your enjoyment sometime in the future!
  • #9
  • Answered by fx
Hamish, I am so disappointed as I'd had hoped you'd find me even better than you imagined! Well, anyway, this is now mainly of historical relevance since my head was well-done by the time my pictures were finished.
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
Stephen, I so love my Kenwood that I want to be buried with it in case they don't have it on the other side. And there is an other side, of course. I looked at the KitchenAid and it seems the accessories are all plastic, and I just can't afford plastic cookware. But it still looks very nice and sturdy!
  • #11
  • Answered by fx
Adriana, it was a great meal indeed! Thanks for visiting.
  • #12
  • Answered by fx
Thuan, the word is 'tandoor', tandoori being the adjective of things cooked in the tandoor. Of course now every French chef and his brother offer a 'Prawn grilled with the tandoori spices' on his menu, so the confusion is rather widespread. But here we are tandoor purists. What make the tandoor a tandoor is the extreme high heat inertia, meaning there is an enormous amount of heat stored in the tandoor walls to prevent any major decrease in the air temperature when you lower the meat in. And when you slap a naan on the tandoor's face, oh boy, it just doesn't last long before it bubbles, cracks and falls off! The kamado is more like a city folk substitute for an offside cooker, for long and slow cooking, but I don't think you could bake a naan inside, altough I've never tried one myself and it looks like a great product!
  • #13
  • Comment by Rick
Brilliant as always, Tell me Francois, why does one remove the green bits from the garlic?

  • #14
  • Comment by Paul Mckenna
So I checked out the Kenwood Mixer on Ebay, Its a Titanium model. I caught myself saying "yes you sexy bitch" as I desired it so.

Fxcuisine is evil with its use of quality cooking, quality cooking tools and sensuous enjoyment of food and all related to food.

It is evil and I will not come back until tomorrow to look at the wickedness again.

I must've been a crow in a past life, because once again it's the shiny reflective pics I like best, the eggs reflected in the bowl, and you reflected in the mixer.
  • #16
  • Comment by Mike
Francois, if I'm ever reincarnated a chicken, pic#1 is how I want to go. ^^
  • #17
  • Comment by cookery
Haha! Finally a glimpse of our elusive webhost!  tell me, is this the only article where we see the illustrious visage of fx?
  • #18
  • Answered by fx
Thanks Rick! The garlic sprout inside old garlic cloves is bitter. I must say I don't like very much garlic when it starts sprouting, but hey, it's still seasonal!
  • #19
  • Answered by fx
Paul, FXcuisine could be all about booze and expensive spirits, and after the dust settled all you'd have is an empty bottle and a headache. Instead, you'll end up with a kitchen filled with high-quality cookware that will last you a lifetime. One day you might even thank the day you first browsed FXcuisine!

I almost forgot to mention the great accessories, pasta extruder, sausage maker, etc...
  • #20
  • Answered by fx
Vicki, ain't those reflections cool? I'm working on some ideas for more FX cameos using reflections. Tricky things, those convex mirrors, they sometimes reflect more than you'd want!
  • #21
  • Answered by fx
Mike, if you ever are reincarnated as a chicken please watch your diet and don't exercise too much, then send me an email!
  • #22
  • Answered by fx
Cookery, I created a new tag for 'FX cameo' on http://fxcuisine.com/default.asp?tag=99 - only 2 articles for now!
  • #23
  • Comment by David
Francois, that is some serious merchandise you have in your kitchen. Once again, your recipe was superlative on all levels...
Francois, that's a really cool picture of you.  :)
  • #25
  • Answered by fx
David, thanks for visiting! When it comes to cookware it's best to own really good quality, durable stuff rather than cheap plastic crap or expensive designer cookware that will break within a year. Professional cookware costs a bit more but it'll last you a couple lifetimes!
  • #26
  • Answered by fx
Traci, thanks for your comment! I'll try to think of more FX cameos in the future!
  • #27
  • Comment by parshu
Loved the fx cameo. It's eight in the evening of a 43-degree celsius day in the Delhi suburb where I live. The cans of beer are in the freezer and I have called the kebab place round the corner and yelled "DO BOTI KABAB DO NAAN- JALDI!" - Two Boti-kebab Two Naans - Fast! if that needs any translation after seeing these pix.
  • #28
  • Answered by fx
Parshu, I am sure the naans you get in New Dehli are way better than those I bake here in my city gas-fired tandoor. Let me know if you can put me in touch with an amateur photographer who would be interested to shoot scenes of Indian street food for me, in the style of the Neapolitan Deep-Fried Pizza, I'd be glad to compensate him for his time.
  • #29
  • Comment by Sukhbir Singh
Hi Francois,

Great article Francois,you have inspired me to have my own tandoori night..'ajwaini' lamb chops should hit the spot.

Nice to see the photo of my GAS fired tandoor...for the benefit of anyone that's intrested I can actually supply these units for about 350
...even more attractive at that than 800;)
and ready to cook in 10 minutes which makes home tandoori almost convenient!

Sukhbir Singh
  • #30
  • Comment by parshu narayanan
Hi fx, there is a whole coffee table book on Indian street food by an Israeli photographer called Sephi Bergson who has made India his home, with his family. He's a friend of a friend, whom I've met once or twice at parties. He told me he loves the anomie/freedom that India gives you.Pl log onto sephi.com to check out the gallery.
  • #31
  • Comment by parshu.narayanan
Actually your kalonuji-sprinkled naans in fact look very delicious, fx and your meat tikkas absolutely yum!
  • #32
  • Answered by fx
Parshu, this Sephi Bergson sounds very interesting but I could not find his book, would you know the exact title?
interesting recipe, thanks for sharing.
  • #34
  • Comment by DJ
Now I'm really hungry!  The ancient Mesopotamian stove goes high-tech!
  • #35
  • Comment by Guruvar
The Book 'Street food of India' / 192 pages, Hard cover is scheduled for publication in India, Germany and France on January 2009.
Published by Roli Books in India.
  • #36
  • Comment by Sunil
That was fantastic ......Tandoori Chicken. Lamb Kababs and the Naan.  I really was impressed by the way you laid out your recipes .  Good job!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Sunil, I am glad you enjoyed this piece!

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