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Grilling the Indian Way

Many of you must have heard of the popular bright red "Tandoori Chicken" It is India's version of barbecued chicken and being one of the most popular delicacies stemming from the North of India it has survived years of perfection. The Tandoori chicken when served should be accompanied by freshly cut onions, wedges of fresh lime.

INDIAN TANDOORI COOKING is one of the most tantalizing ways to barbecue. Indian barbecue is an easy way to start your journey into Indian cooking. For those of you who have already ventured there, you will bring a new twist to your back-yard barbecues.   

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Recognize this red Tandoori Chicken? Yes, that's the one you get at most Indian restaurants. It is one of the most widely ordered and vastly popular dishes in Indian restaurants today ! 

Most marinades used in Indian barbecue are yogurt or lime based. Many of the recipes require overnight marination for the right amount of tenderization and flavor to come through. Some of the cooking can be done ahead of time. And then, all that is needed is a few minutes of grilling on the grill. It is one of the best ways to turn your simple backyard entertaining into an exotic affair.

Tandoori cooking does not use much oil or ghee and therefore can be used when pursuing a low calorie diet. 

The traditional Indian clay oven is called the "Tandoor" A tandoor is a clay oven, with rounded sides, standing about 5 feet high, with charcoal in the bottom as the heat source. It is obviously not a practical cooking medium to install in your home. Many have now tried to build and install the "Tandoor" in their back yard.

The tandoor oven relies on the natural cooking medium - "charcoal" The intense heat inside, created by the hot coals cook the meat, seafood or chicken pieces very quickly. The food becomes crispy on the outside while remaining juicy inside. 

The food is first marinated either in dry spices or a spice and yogurt mixture and is then threaded onto very long metal skewers and lowered into the oven. Naan, and Indian flat bread is also cooked in a tandoor oven by pressing the dough onto the inside walls.

It is impossible to create the exact flavor and texture of tandoori foods without a tandoor oven, however, you can use a gas or a coal barbecue grill to make the following recipes. Use a hooded charcoal grill with a few drops of liquid smoke to get a wonderful flavor to your meats.        

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Turn your oven into a tandoor 

To mimic tandoor baking in a regular electric or gas oven, you'll need a baking stone or some unglazed quarry tiles placed on an oven rack. The larger the baking surface, the better. The stone or tiles should cover the rack with a one-inch gap around the edge to let hot air circulate.

Clay pots are nowadays being used for at home Tandoori cooking. They are found in a variety of sizes in many markets in Mexico. When cooking with clay, the pot must be soaked in cold water for at least 15 minutes. If it hasn't been used before, it should be soaked for at least 30 minutes. During the soaking, the terra cotta absorbs moisture which is released when the pot is in the oven, thus creating a moist cooking atmosphere. The clay pot must be placed in a cold oven and heated gradually. Set the temperature once the pot is inside. Never place in a preheated oven.

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Meats 

Rice 'n Naan      

Vegetables      

Bhutta -   Indian roasted corn 

Salads 'n Chutneys      

Kachumber -   Indian Salsa type salad 
Aloo Ka Raita  - Indian Potato Salad

Fruits 'n Desserts     

Mangoes -  King Of Fruits

Grilling Tips  

The grilling season is here, if you haven't already stocked up on your grilling supplies and have not made your BBQ plans......it's not too late! Get ready for a big grilling weekend !  Have a great Holiday Cook out.

Plan ahead. Decide on menus and make shopping lists now.  Buy all the non-perishable items on the menu as soon as possible like your dinnerware, cups, silverware.   Top

Picking out that special wine : Think about the special wine or wine coolers or punches you want to make. White wines chilled are great light accompaniments to a BBQ on a hot summer's day. Wine coolers add that zing with their carbonation.  Go here for recipes on Cocktails and a great Punch recipe.   Top

Marination Tips : Marinate your meats a day ahead.    Top

Separate Marinades and Brushes : Use a separate brush as well as a separate marinade to brush cooked meat or vegetables. Never brush the cooked meat, poultry, or fish with a marinade that has had raw meat, poultry, or fish in it.  Top

Platters for grilled stuff : Place cooked foods on a different platter than the raw / uncooked meat, poultry, or fish on it.  Top

BBQ Grill Quick clean up tip:  Spray the cooking grill with non-stick spray before placing the grid over the coals.  Food won't stick nearly as much as it does on an untreated grill.  Top

Cook-Out Safety Tips   

Carrying Meats for a Picnic : Pack meats, poultry and fish in a separate cooler. Make sure you take extra ice with you.   Top

Cooking Utensils : Keep all grilling utensils in a separate cloth bag. Take an extra plastic bag to place them in there after cooking.    Top

Grill Safety : Use a spray mister to douse small flare-ups on the outdoor grill or to cool a fire that's too hot.
Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the area. Douse it with water.  
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Grilling like any other kind of cooking is an art....and a science. The difference between grilling and cooking on the stove or in the oven is that grilling is a combination of both. You have direct heat from the gas burners of the charcoal and you have indirect heat that fills the grill when the lid is down. With a grill you turn on or light the fire and the heat just keeps rising. An average gas grill can reach temperatures of 500 degrees in a matter of minutes. This is why you can't throw the food on the grill and take off, you must remain ever vigilant. Vigilance is the key.

This high heat, both direct and indirect is the foundation of grilling. You want to use this heat to cook food, quickly. But, because foods cook fast on a grill you have to turn then to cook them evenly and without burning. However, if you turn things too often you will slow the process of cooking and this can lead to food that is tough and dry. The secret is turning only when necessary. 

Some Rules

  1. Always keep your grill clean.

  2. Use oil or cooking spray on your cooking grate on a cold grill. Do not apply cooking spray to a lit grill.

  3. Be vigilant, always keep an eye on what your grilling.

  4. Do not use spray bottles of water to control flare-ups. Flare-ups are caused by too much fat and too much heat. Trim excess fat and when you turn meat on the grill move it to a different part of the grill.

  5. Keep your grill away from anything flammable like lighter fluid, fences, your house, etc..

  6. Marinate your food at least an hour before you grill. This lets the flavor sink in.

 

 

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