Foodie “Friday”: new kitchen edition!
So, as i have a kitchen and *time* now, i am cooking again. Not cooking was, in fact, part of the reason foodie friday disappeared around here. I won’t lie, another part was very certainly laziness on my part – or we could be generous and point out that i’ve been up to my ears in work. I’m sure it was all three, and due to the laziness i wouldn’t exactly count on me, but here’s my attempt to jump-start it.
A tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven used in cooking and baking. The tandoor is used for cooking in India, Afghanistan, the Transcaucasus, the Balkans, the Middle East, Central Asia as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The food is cooked over a hot charcoal fire or wooden fire . Temperatures in a tandoor can approach 480°C (900°F), and it is common for tandoor ovens to remain lit for long periods of time to maintain the high cooking temperature. The tandoor design is something of a transitional form between a makeshift earth oven and the horizontal-plan masonry oven, and is used almost exclusively for live-fire, radiant heat cooking.
Umm, so i don’t have one. I used an oven. It seemed to work fine. The only thing, really, that i know about tandoors is a vague memory. My family used to sometimes go out to an Indian place to eat. It was kind of a special occasion thing. Except that as a kid i hated Indian food because it was all spicy (of either the hot variety or the very spiced variety – usually both) and it took me a long time to grow into my palate. Fortunately for me you really can’t get a better bread-only meal than naan. And, really, who needs to eat when you could stand on your tip-toes and watch through the glass guys slapping the naan dough (with sticks!) onto the side of the round, sideways, sunken oven? It didn’t stop me from being pouty about going there, but it certainly shut me up once we were there.
Tandoori Chicken (see, that was totally going somewhere)
1 Chicken – skinned and cut up (i highly recommend finding some local, real chicken. hippie food-politics aside, the flavor is amazingly better (read: yes, chicken actually does have flavor), and the flavor of the chicken does stand out in this dish.)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne (unless, of course, you’re a wimp like Jamie)
4 cloves garlic – minced/crushed
1/2″ fresh ginger – minced
Mix all the spices and the yogurt in a big (chicken-sized) bowl. Stir in the chicken pieces so they all get all coated. Marinate for 4 (if you must, but 8 would really be better) to 24 hours. Arrange in an oven-pan – it should fit, perhaps tightly, in a 9×13 pan. Broil for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. You want it to burn a little on each side, and, of course, be done in the middle.
You can also do this on a grill, but i don’t have one, so i can’t really help you with that. Serve over:
Bhagharay Chawal (Indian plain fried rice – i got this recipe from a cookbook i would cite if i had any recollection)
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 small onion – chopped
1/4 cup veg. oil
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds
4 cardamom pods
4 cups water
Rinse the rice, soak for 20 minutes, drain. Fry the onion in the oil for a minute or two. Add the garlic paste, stir well. Add the salt, cumin seeds, cloves and cardamom pods. Fry for 1 min. Add rice, stir ’till the water evaporates (about 10 minutes). Add the water and cook ’till it’s about 3/4 evaporated. Cover, turn down and simmer about 10 minutes. At this point i try to take out the cardamom and cloves (to keep folks from chomping down on one), which usually have kind of floated to the top. Fluff.
Enjoy the most awesomely delicious rice ever. Seriously. This may be the best thing i ever learned to cook.