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Tandoori Chicken and Cauliflower.
Entry by cook Lucy Tishkina.
On Monday evening I made the marinade for the Tandoori chicken. I mixed the yogurt with freshly made garam masala, onions, garlic, ginger and chilies. I put the mixture through a strainer and immersed two chickens in the marinate over night.
On Tuesday I came in later than I expected, deterred by the downpour from riding my bicycle to Dufferin. I set up the tent outside the garage to fire the tandoor. I lit a fire in the dutch oven around 11:40 am and waited for the coals to get hot.
I loved sitting in front of a fire on such a rainy day. The coals went into the tandoor at 12:35. I moved the coals around in the tandoor to make sure that all sides were getting heated evenly, creating air paths the way Heidrun taught me a week before.
I also played around with the amount of air that was let in by the door on the bottom and the lid on the top. I added more coals at 1:15 to keep the high temperature in the oven. I skewered the whole chicken and placed it into the tandoor at 1:30.
When the chicken came out 15 minutes later, it was still raw on the inside. The bird was too big for the tandoor to cook the chicken quickly. The bird was too thick. The meat was charred on the outside and still raw on the inside.
Ginger butchered the second chicken and I cooked pieces of chicken in the tandoor instead of the whole bird.
The bottom pieces took around 30 minutes to cook and were charred on the outside. The top pieces took around 50 minutes to cook.
Ginger suggested basting the chicken in the marinade throughout the cooking process to keep the chicken from drying out and burning.
The chicken also might require a slightly lower temperature and a longer cooking process than what I anticipated.
I continued with my experimentation by placing a head of cauliflower and a few heads of garlic wrapped in aluminum foil onto the coals. The first head of garlic burned after 20 minutes. I decided to place a second head of garlic for 10 minutes and it turned out quite nicely. The garlic would go great with freshly baked naan bread.
I placed the head of cauliflower onto the cooling coals. The head of cauliflower smothered the coals and remained quite raw after 30 minutes of cooking. I still found it delicious. Next time I would find a smaller head of cauliflower and bake the cauliflower for a longer period of time and maybe wrap it in aluminum foil to prevent the outside from charring.
I really enjoy working with the tandoor. I am still trying to develop my skills when it comes to distributing heat evenly and determining cooking times for different foods. I feel the tandoor would work better with smaller sized items that would be cooked quickly without burning on the outside.
The tandoor spent several years at Thorncliffe Park's R.V.Burgess Park, until the park got its own tandoor. Then CELOS brought the tandoor back to Dufferin Grove and continued lending it out from there.