Everybody loves a good tandoori, but very few really know the history behind it. The recipe originated in the early 1900’s in Peshawar – then India. It started with chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, and then cooked in a ‘tandoor’. The tandoor is actually native to India dating back to 3000 BC. Small mud plastered ovens resembling Tandoor with a side door have been found in Harappa and Mohenjodero settlements of ancient Indus valley. But it was the Moguls who in the 1900’s made it portable, carried it everywhere they went and thus found its way in India from Persia. The far famed tandoori chicken is from the recent times comparatively. Created by a chef in the Moti Mahal restaurant in 1948, it was a hit almost instantly. Cooked at a extremely high temperature in the tandoor the chicken remains succulent and juicy inside and a crispy outside with an aroma, that can bring the dead back to life, just to have a bite of that delectable chicken.
Over the time, the same marination has been used for different meats, including, lamb, fish, turkey, lobsters, prawns … almost any meat you fancy actually ! And it tastes wonderful no matter which meat you choose. Tandoori prawns are definitely one of my favourites. And they cook pretty fast too. And overnight marination is always recommended for tandoori, but for seafood a few hours works just fine. A good green chutney (corriander +mint), onion rings and yogurt is always a must with tandoori. And ofcourse if you can a tandoori naan would just be the prefect accompaniment. Tandoori food is always bright orange-red coloured. Obviously achieved by food colouring, but its the colour that distinguishes it as tandoori.
These Tandoori prawns have been made for a special reason. I have been given the honour by the extremely talented Bee of Rasa Malaysia to do a guest post. Technically I should be featuring her as she is a fantastic cook and a great photographer. There has never been a time I’ve seen some lovely recipe up at her blog and not wished I could have that off the screen. But she’s humble enough to ask me to be a guest on her blog, so yes it is an honour. If you haven’t already visited her marvelous blog , you must know that she has one of the most comprehensive blogs with tantalizing recipes from all over Asia and beyond. On her first trip to India, Bee tried some of the tandoori prawns and she loved them far more than the tandoori chicken. Not to mention she is a hard core fan of prawns … and so this was the first things that came to her mind, knowing my Indian roots 🙂
- 20 large prawns – shelled with tail on and de-veined
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of ginger/garlic paste
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1-2 tsps kashmiri red chiili powder
- 1/2 tsp orange-red food colouring
- 1 tablespoon tandoori masala (optional)
- salt to taste
It doesn’t get easier than this. Just mix all the ingredients, leave to marinate overnight or 2hrs minimum. Fire up a grill or can even use a griddle pan. Brush with oil and grill them for a few mins till done. Serve hot with some sliced onion, yogurt and chutney.