The easy-and-cheap Home Tandoor Tikka Chicken (and Tandoor Teriyaki Salmon on the side)

I quite fancied building a tandoor in my garden but the wife said no, so i decided to convert my exclusive and patented Sputnik Smoker into a temporary tandoor. What could be harder?

So I got some chap on ebay to cut me three bits of 3mm steel with a plan that it would form a triangle within the circle and thus a mega hot tube within the smoker so that i could cook in it. I used pythagoras to work out the dimensions and got it more or less correct. I also bought some rather large kebab skewers, 8mm square tempered steel. I wanted to buy 4 but they only sold them in packs of 14, so i have 14 of them now.

So all tooled up with masses of steel i made my Tikka marinade. This consisted of minced up garlic and ginger, yoghurt, lemon, tomato paste, and dried cumin, coriander, chilli, turmeric, paprika that i cooked off in some oil first. I mixed this up and marinaded the chicken for about 18 hours.

The chicken was cut into big chunks, about 4 cm squared id say.

I lit the charcoal and put a layer of unlit charocal at the bottom/sides of the tandoor. Then i put the lit charocal on top and added more unlit charocal. I used 10kgs in all, which was a lot but i wanted to get the tandoor super hot.

Usually tandoors are about 400 celcius, well i put a fan under mine to really get it going and i have no idea hot hot it got but the steel plates were glowing red so it was damned hot.

I put the chicken in and nearly burnt my arm off it was so hot. Within about a minute or two the chicken at the bottom was pretty much blacked as it was too hot. And it wasnt coooked inside. So a slight change of plan ensued.

I took the chicken off and cut it in half, so probably about an inch squared now and put it back on the skewer. Then we tried again.

The chicken went a golden/chargrilled colour in 2 minutes and so we got it out to have a look at it and it was fully cooked and piping hot. And it really was 2 minutes to cook it.

We had it with naan and salad and it was tasty.

I also then cooked some salmon on it which has been marinaded in Teriyaki. It cooked very quickly and slipped off which was rather annoying, i had to fish it out the bottom with some tongs which wasnt very easy. So next time i shoved a potato on the bottom so it didnt slip off and that worked and the salmon was great. A lovely smokey/chargrilled sweet taste.

So what did we learn from our first tandoor experience? Well, first off, it worked very well indeed and a lot better than I was expecting. I could have used less charocal, probably half, as it got very,very hot. The chicken needs to be small, about 2 or 2.5 cm squared as it will cook from the outside and inside. The steel skewer gets very hot too so when you take it out don't put in on anything wood as it will mark it. And it will only take 2 minutes to cook the chicken so you really have to keep an eye on it. Also the tandoor/smoker was still hot enough 8 hours later for us to cook our skate wing dinner on it.

So all in all very successful and we will definitely be trying it again.

Photos to follow shortly.....


Great Photos

You have a lovely camera. The focal length on the photo of the chicken skewer is great!

This calls for a battle of hardware. I'm now going to rope Rob in to help me build a full scale tandoor in my garden.