Recently, Hōmdoor was lucky enough to partner with former MasterChef contestant, Shari Mukherjee, as she developed some exciting recipes out of her very own tandoor. We were delighted to see all the culinary concoctions that came from her kitchen over the summer, and were even more excited to hear about some of the key takeaways she learned during her tandoori cooking journey. Find out what this former MasterChef contestant has to say about tandoori cooking in a Hōmdoor!
Top 4 Tandoori Cooking Tips from Former MasterChef Contestant, Shari Mukherjee
You may remember Shari Mukherjee from her time on MasterChef Season 10. During her time on the show, Chef Ramsey gave her a hard time about never having cooked in a tandoor oven despite cooking tandoori chicken for the notoriously hot-headed British chef.
“I have wanted a tandoor oven for many, many years,” Shari says. “There are just some dishes that can’t be replicated on the stovetop or in the oven — like naan or tandoori chicken. The tandoor allows me to do this, and it’s also really fun!”
One of the things Shari loves most about her tandoor is the challenge of cooking with it. During her cooking journey this past summer, she discovered some helpful tips that are sure to make your next tandoori cooking attempt that much easier.
Tip 1: Setting the Temperature
According to Shari, “The hardest thing about cooking in the tandoor is temperature control.” It can be tricky to find the right temperature and then ensure that the tandoor maintains that temperature at a steady, even rate. While using the infrared laser thermometer can help take some of the guesswork out of managing your tandoor’s temperature, Shari discovered a different way to manage this problem.
“I find temperature control is much easier with the propane option,” Shari explains. “I also love the convenience of having propane instead of only charcoal. Charcoal gives the food a more authentic flavor, but propane allows me to use my tandoor on busy weeknights when I don’t have much time.”
Tip 2: Cooking Uncovered
Aside from temperature control, Shari also realized that covering the tandoor isn’t always necessary in order to achieve the perfect cook. This is especially true if you want to be daring and try your hand at baking in your tandoor like Shari did.
“When I experimented with different baked goods in the oven, putting the cover on almost always resulted in the foods cooking too quick and burning before they were finished,” Shari recalls. Cooking more sensitive meals like this with the cover off can help prevent against a burnt exterior and raw inside.
Tip 3: Placing the Naan
One of the greatest advantages of having a tandoor oven is being able to cook naan the authentic way. However, doing this the right way can be difficult without the right technique. If you’re not careful — as Shari learned the hard way — you could end up watching your naan fall into the coals below.
“I found they cooked better if they were a little higher in the oven versus towards the bottom,” Shari says. “Be sure to hold your hand at an angle, too, or the naan will slip right off.”
Tip 4: Skewering Meats
Those new to tandoori cooking might not realize how difficult it can be to keep skewered meats from slipping off the end. In the past, we recommended placing an onion wrapped in aluminum foil at the end of the skewer to help keep meats in place. However, we think Shari’s pro tip is just as good a solution:
“If you’re making skewered meats and the meats slide off the sticks a bit, I’ve found it’s really helpful to wrap a potato in some aluminum foil and place it on the end of the skewer (a couple of inches below the meat),” says Shari. “It’ll keep the meat from slipping off the skewer and you’ll also have some delicious tandoori cooked potatoes, too!”
Try Your Hand at Tandoori Cooking Like a True MasterChef!
We loved following along with Shari’s journey this summer. If you’re interested in learning more tandoori cooking tips from a former MasterChef, be sure to give her a follow on Instagram to check out her latest recipes. In the meantime, satisfy the adventurous foodie within by purchasing your very own tandoor oven. With enough practice, soon you’ll be dazzling the internet with your own tandoori cooking hacks!