Sunday, May 15, 2022

From Afghanistan and Points North Tikka Khandahari

Ever since the pandemic started, our social life has shriveled down to nearly nothing. First, I had Covid in March of 2020, pre-vax, and we burrowed in, baking sourdough, cooking every meal we ate, and generally just living the pioneer life out here in the country. When I was enjoying all those great dystopian films and books, I never counted this on my 21st century bingo card. It was all fantasy. Make believe. 

So we got vaxxed and boosted, and started doing outdoor entertaining with just a few people whose habits we knew to be careful. We were all sitting at the table (indoors  with proper ventilation) Thanksgiving of 2021 when we heard about Omicron and everybody got quiet. The partying stopped. Christmas and New Years Eve were zoom celebrations, and later in 2022 we got a boost. 

I bought a heater for the deck so that we could entertain comfortably outside. We started having small groups over for outside dining. Not our busy, every Saturday night out life from before covid, but better than what we were doing. Instead of having big dinner parties or gatherings, I'm doing small brunches, dinners, lunches etc. Just a few and weeks apart for safety sake. I'm also trying to use my Homdoor Tandoor as much as possible before Fire Season is officially upon us and all outdoor flames need to stop.

Last week I  invited a few friends for a midweek tandoor dinner. It's something I rarely do because, work. But these friends have only one day off a week  so Tuesday Tandoor it was. This time it was Tikka Khandahar. Lamb cooked in the style of Kabul and Khandahar. I used to cook these dishes years ago. We had a friend in Los Angeles, who'd just returned from a couple of tours in Afghanistan and he used to come over every time I'd make this.  It was one of his favorite dishes. So, here we go.

Tikka Khandahari

Here's What You Need:

 2 lb of lamb cut from the leg and cubed

1 cup of raw diced papaya (tenderizes the meat)

4 tsp ground Kachri ...(okay Kachri is  this is a type of cucumber grown in Begal, Punjab, and Pakistan. Its a dried ground up cucumber with a tangy sourish taste.)

  I didn't have any kachri in my larder so I used dried amchur powder (dried mango powder), if you don't have that, just use LEMON JUICE

1 cup of yogurt

1 cup of whipping cream

2 Tbs ginger paste (ground raw ginger)

4 tbs garlic or shallot paste  (ground raw garlic or shallot) use your food processor or spice grinder w/ a little bit of water to keep things moving.

2 Tbs ground black pepper

1 tsp ground green cardamom

4 tsp garam masala

2 tsp kashmiri chili or red chili powder

6 Tbs of vegetable oil

2 tsp of salt


Here's What To Do:

 Cut up the papaya.

Mix everything together all except the SALT. The salt goes into the marinade  15 minutes before cooking.

Cut the lamb into cubes for the skewers.

Place them in a bowl. As you can see I have an audience.

Slash the meat with a paring knife, this allows the marinade to penetrate the meat.

Pour the marinade over the meat.

Stir it around well, and pop it into the fridge to marinate overnight or at least 8 hours.

How to Cook:

 Oil and wipe your skewers, and thread the meat onto them.

I use a halved yukon gold potato as a stopper to keep the meat from sliding off while cooking. If you are using a grill you won't have to do this.

Once the meat is on the skewers let it rest for 15 minutes while you light your Tandoor oven.

My Homdoor Tandoor is fueled by propane, and is a dream to cook with. Fast, efficient, we don't use the grill anymore. Yes, you can make this with a grill or even in the oven but nothing beats the tandoor. And I say this as the weirdo with 4 old school wood grills in my Santa Monica backyard trying to replicate tandoor cooking for a crowd. Homdoor is easier!

A Tandoor oven heats up really  fast. The tikkas are cooked at 500 degrees for 10 minutes.

Put them in the tandoor.

Cook them for 10 minutes, then take them out.

Hang them on the side of the tandoor.

 Then baste them with the marinade, let them rest for 10 minutes.

Then  in again for another 5  to 8 minutes depending on how done you like your lamb.

 When they're done take them out, and rest them on a platter.

Remove them from the skewers, and serve them up.

I served this with a Saffron rice with saffron, saultanas, cashews, and pomegranate arils, an Indian dried fruit salad with rosewater dressing...

 ...a Mint and pomegranate raita...

...and Green Bean Thoran.

Dinner was served in the garden...

 ...where at our house farm to table gets pretty personal as we grow a lot of what we eat.

I dressed the Tikkas up with some cara cara orange slices.

Dessert was Gulab Jamun and chai  click for my recipe.

As the evening ended and it got dark, we didn't even need to employ the heater.


So another successful  Homdoor Tandoor adventure! Coming up next: summer food as it's getting hot out there! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

No comments :

Post a Comment


Blog Widget by LinkWithin