Professional Tandoori Oven Charcoal Tips

Professional Tandoori Oven Charcoal Tips

Tandoori ovens are becoming increasingly popular, both in professional kitchens and with keen home cooks eager to reproduce the special tastes and aromas they’ve experienced in their local South Asian restaurant.

However, as a method of cooking that is unfamiliar to many British chefs, it’s important that you know what you’re doing if you want to get the best results. Here at KG Smith & Son, we’re a leading supplier of tandoori oven charcoal to restaurants up and down the UK, and know a bit about combining the right tools, the best fuels and the necessary know-how to achieve tandoori heaven.

But let’s start at the beginning.

What is a tandoori oven?

Traditionally made out of clay, but these days also often made out of metal, a tandoori oven is an insulated cylindrical furnace that uses charcoal or firewood to generate high temperatures that can cook food through a combination of:

Convection – as a result of skewering the food inside 

High heat – sometimes even more than 485ºC 

Smoke – as with a more traditional barbecue

A tandoori oven not only cooks food more quickly than a traditional barbecue, but it also cooks it more thoroughly from the inside as well. And because they are very well insulated, tandoori ovens can also maintain a consistent temperature without the need for constant replenishment of the fuel.

Although your oven will need cleaning after use, very little other maintenance is required and it should give you many years of reliable service.

Six tips on how to use a tandoori oven

1) When you use a clay oven for the first time, raise the temperature slowly to allow the inside to condition. You’ll probably get some hairline cracks, which isn’t something to worry about – most will disappear once your oven cools down. However, fire it up too hot too soon and you might get more cracks that could reduce the lifespan of your oven.

2) Allow plenty of time for your oven to heat up. You can check the temperature safely by using a laser thermometer.

3) Use your vents to control the temperature – getting it exactly right will come with practice, but the basic method is to open the vents to increase the temperature and close them to lower it.

4) Get good quality metal skewers that are both very strong and able to handle the high temperatures found inside a tandoori oven. Cut your food to an even size and skewer them carefully through the middle to both ensure an even cook and prevent food from falling off.

5) Use professional standard tandoori oven charcoal for the best results – ours are made from 100% natural materials to ensure a clean, smoky flavour every time. Cheap coals are likely to impart a chemical taste that will seriously detract from the quality of your cooked food.

6) Avoid using fatty foods as they might drip their fat onto the coals and cause a flare-up.

Popular tandoori meals to try cooking

It’s very quick and easy to cook large pieces of skewered meat in a tandoori oven. For instance, with the temperature right up, you should be able to cook a whole chicken in about 30 minutes, with a whole leg of lamb also taking less than an hour.

You’ll be getting a lot of flavour in your food just by cooking it in this kind of oven, but for those authentic South Asian flavours, you should marinate your meat, paneer, prawns or vegetables first. It’s worth experimenting to find your perfect combination, but spices you should keep ready include coriander, cumin, paprika and garam masala.

Cooking naan bread simply requires you to slap your naan against the inside of the oven, with the temperature being enough to hold it in place. Within 60-90 seconds your bread will be nicely charred on the outside, soft on the inside and ready to eat.

Video Credit: @SpiceEats – Ingredients for Tandoori Chicken

Don’t take chances when cooking with a tandoori oven – you’ll get far better flavours by using the kind of fuel used by the experts and the professionals. As one of the UK’s leading suppliers, we’re trusted by top chefs to keep them stocked with quality coals that are perfect for use in tandoori ovens of all types.

You can find out more about our tandoori oven charcoal by getting in touch with our friendly and helpful team, or place your order online now for superb service, great value and fast delivery.



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