Sunday, July 5, 2020

Summer's Here.... Throw Some Shrimp In The Tandoor!

   I really thought I'd be back cooking before this, but finally I'm up to speed. 2 plus months getting over what appears to have been covid stopped my cooking and my writing. But now, with a clean bill of health and a LOT more energy I'm back at both.  We've been trying to get this pilot we're working on out of the house and turned in, and at the same time we've been in hunkering down phase, staying in and writing mostly. We have shouted conversations with the neighbors from safe social distancing, we take the dog out, we walk masked, we cycle masked and I am baking tremendous amounts of bread, having started by making my sourdough starter from wild yeast.
Aside from the baking, I've been  starting back cooking and one of the first things I had to do once we got rolling , was fire up my Tandoori Oven from  the folks at Homdoor.
Tandoori cooking is pretty straightforward and simple, after all it's grilling, one of the earliest and most universal forms of grilling. It seems that every country on the planet has some form of  tandoor oven. Tandoor cooking is found in India, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Middle East, Central Asia, Armenia, the Caucasus, Georgia, China, and Bangladesh. This style of cooking is also found in Europe, where the Romertopf clay cooking pots are a form of small tandoor oven.
One doesn't have to have an offical tandoor oven to cook tandoor style, but it helps. I've cooked tandoor dishes for years on a simple American charcoal BBQ, and I have baked tandoor style in my regular oven after lining it top and bottom with pizza stones, or plain unsealed clay pavers from the hardware store. I would crank my oven up to as high as it would go, and put the food in. Bingo, instant tandoor. However, having one in the backyard just like a regular grill makes things a lot simpler.
So for my first tandoor outing after being down for a couple of months, I chose something pretty simple. Tandoor Cauliflower, (aka Gobi) and Tandoor shrimp or prawns.
One of the reasons I decided to use the tandoor is I wanted something simple and easy to fix for a weekend lunch. Now usually tandoor cooking requires an overnight marinade. This tandoor used for fish and vegetables however does not, which I why I chose it. The recipe is simple and there are two steps. One involves grinding spices for a tandoor masala, and the other involves a paste. Both make up really quickly, and don't get scared of the number of spices used in the masala. Most are probably in your kitchen already and if they're not, just skip them.

Tandoor Cauliflower

Here's What You Need:


 Tandoori Masala

1/2 stick of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of cardamom seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger powder
1/2 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek)
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds (caraway)



1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic  or shallot paste
1/2 cup of yogurt
2 Tbs dry roasted (toasted) garbanzo flour
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs of the ground masala powder you just made
1 cauliflower

Here's What To Do:


grind all the spices for the tandoori masala together and set it aside for later.

Grind the ginger  and garlic/shallot into a paste. I combine them together as it's easier.

set it aside.
To toast the garbanzo flour, put it into a small pan and heat it until it starts to turn darker.

set it aside
Mix all the paste ingredients together.

Add in the tandoori masala and continue to blend.
Take your cauliflower and break it into florets.

Put the cauliflower florets into the masala mix you just blended.

Coat them well and  marinate them for 15 minutes. If you don't have a tandoor ,stick them on a skewer and you can then grill them at 428 degrees for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile onto prepping the shrimp

Tandoor Shrimp

Here's What You Need:

1 lb de-veined, de-shelled  uncooked shrimp
2 cups yogurt
2 Tbs garbanzo flour
2 tsp kashmiri chili
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
salt to taste

Here's What To Do:


Peel and de-vein the shrimp.

Mix the marinade ingredients together.

And set it aside.
Put the shrimp into the marinade and coat them well.

Marinate the shrimp for about 15 minutes.
Thread the shrimp onto skewers, if you don't have a tandoor grill put them on your regular grill for about 4-5 minutes, then turn them over and do the same with the other side. You can also bake/broil them in the oven.

Now for the tandoor part:

Thread the cauliflower and the shrimp on skewers.

So I fired up my tandoor and it was no problem getting it to 700 degrees.
The shrimp and cauliflower went into the tandoor on their skewers.

A few minutes of cooking, turning and eyeballing the skewers making sure everything was cooking correctly and not burning...

...and we were done!

We served them up sprinkled with cilantro right from the garden, and lemon wedges from our trees.

Serve these with basmati rice, pickled red onions or any other sides you desire.

I really love this tandoor, and I'll be showing more dishes you can make with it, especially looking forward to using it on some of my eggplants. It was the perfect getting back to cooking again meal, not too much work and very little clean up. Coming up next, some english desserts that you don't have to enter a bake off to taste.
Meanwhile follow along on Twitter @kathygori


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