Here at Cedar’s, we believe that, “the Tandoor is the heart of an Indian kitchen,” because if the tandoor is healthy and strong, the whole kitchen will run smoothly. Cedars is proud to use an authentic Tandoor oven, and offer authentic Tandoori Cuisine, employing an ancient method of cooking from Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern cultures to produce the most succulent, perfectly-done meat dishes possible. And though many of our customers know that they love our Tandoori Chicken our Lamb Boti Kabab, not too many people know what a Tandoor oven is or how it works.
Western cultures are used to conceptualizing high-intensity, natural-material ovens as horizontal masonry ovens, much like a pizza oven. Tandoor ovens are actually vertical—typically, a wood or charcoal fire is lit in the bottom of a clay, bell-shaped pot, and meats are lowered into the pot to be cooked on skewers. The shape of the pot traps heat inside; when the pots are buried in the earth up to their opening, as is traditional, temperatures can reach up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit inside. It’s easy to maintain a high heat within a Tandoor oven with minimal added fuel because it’s extremely efficient, making them popular in areas where sources of fuel are scarce. The oven combines a variety of different cooking methods to achieve the perfect cooking technique and heat distribution. Food is exposed to live-fire heat, radiant heat, circulating hot air that mimics a convection oven, as well as smoking from the fat and juices dripping on the coals.
Here’s a peek inside our own Tandoor:
Use of the Tandoor oven in Indian cuisine was made most popular by the Punjab region, where many of our Tandoori recipes were perfected. Punjab brought us the bright-red Tandoori-style chicken recipe, for which chicken in marinated in yogurt with garam masala, ginger, garlic, cumin, and cayenne, skewered, and cooked in the Tandoor. You can cook just about anything in a Tandoor oven—naan and roti breads are both traditionally baked on the hot vertical sides of the clay oven, clinging to walls while the thin bread quickly cooks and bubbles, and kabab skewers are lowered in through the opening.
At Cedar’s, we have a full Tandoori menu, and you can choose from our chicken, seafood, lamb, and beef options or try a combination plate. Tandoori Chicken Tikka is our most popular Tandoori dish and prepared in the Punjab style, and we also recommend our Tandoori Salmon, which is marinated with saffron, garlic, and ginger. We also have a mouth-watering variety of kababs, including our Keema Kabab of ground beef with onions, or the Lamb Boti Kabab of tender pieces of marinated lamb skewered and roasted to perfection. We also offer appetizers cooked in the Tandoor, including our Samosas, a flakey savory pastry, spicy Bombay Tandoori Chicken Wings, or, for our vegetarian customers, Paneer Tikka, which is tender, spice-marinated Indian cheese.
All our dishes are served with the traditional cilantro and tamarind chutneys, as well as a plate of Basmati rice and fresh vegetables. Come in and try Tandoori cuisine for yourself at Cedar’s Restaurant! Here are a few of our Tandoori dishes: