The "first burn" procedure for priming your oven
When you use your oven for the first time it is good practice to prime your oven with a "first burn". All you have to do is place approximately 1-2kg's of charcoal into the tandoor along with firelighters. Light the firelighters and let it burn out. Your TandooriQ is now ready to use for cooking.
the "curing" procedure for your oven (optional)
The "curing" procedure is the same as the first burn procedure except you also add a seasoning to the clay wall. The purpose of seasoning the tandoor is to have a surface that will add flavour to your bread and neither allow the raw dough to fall off the clay nor will it let the finished naan to stick to the clay and eventually burn. There are many ways to season a clay oven and each tandoor chef claims his method to be superior. Some use salt water, some use a complex paste made with spinach, oils, salts and various spices. Others dont cure their tandoors at all. If you wish to cure your tandoor there is a couple of methods below.
Simply mix 1 tbsp of salt with 1/2 litre of warm water and mix till disolved. Then lightly rub the solution all over the inner clay wall with a damp cloth, be careful not to get the clay to wet as this could cause damage. Once you have done this allow to dry and repeat the first burn process. This can be repeated from time to time to remove soot.
Ingredients : 250g Ground Spinach, 50g Jaggery or Mollasses sugar, 5-6 eggs, 2 tsp Tumeric, pinch of salt, Mustard Oil (or any oil).
Combine all the ingredients except the oil and mix throughly, then add enough oil to make a paste. Apply 2 coats of the paste to the clay pot lining and leave to dry for at least 8hrs. Once dry follow the first burn process. You can repeat this process from time to time to remove soot.
A few simple steps to lighting the TandooriQ DH and keeping it hot
We recommend placing the firelighters and charcoal on top of the tandoori grate. By doing so it will make the lighting of the charcoal much easier. If you don't have a grate, just follow the instructions below. Correct layout of firelighters and charcoal will ensure even lighting.
It's important to make sure the charcoal at the back fires up, so place 3 firelighters to the back of the oven, then space the rest out evenly as you see in the picture. Build some charcoal around the firelighters and as soon as all the firelighters are lit gently add at least 2 kgs on top.
Start with about 2 kg's of charcoal, then after 15 minutes add the rest of the 5 kg bag. This amount of charcoal will get the TandooriQ up to the right temperature and ready to cook.
Good quality charcoal can make a big difference to heat and how long the TandooriQ will stay hot. We recommend using charcoal briquettes as they retain heat for longer.
Make sure you use dry charcoal and new firelighters only in order for the TandooriQ to perform at its most efficient.
How to achieve good cooking results in TandooriQ DH
The hotter the TandooriQ gets, the quicker it will cook. At its optimum temperature, you can cook skewered chicken pieces in approx 8 minutes. The more you use your TandooriQ the more your Tandooring skills will improve!
After you have loaded the food onto the skewer, slide a layer of onion or a slice/half of a potato over the end of the last piece of meat, to prevent the food sliding off and from charring.
If you are cooking for the first time in the TandooriQ, it’s useful to use a timer and set it for 8 minutes. You may want to check half way through to test how the food is doing, or to baste the meat with some butter, ghee or freshly prepared marinade.
When you are happy that the meat is ready to serve, remove the skewers in the same order that you inserted them, to maintain continuity of cooking.
first in first out
First in first out is especially necessary when cooking such things as prawns, fish etc... These types of food will not take long to cook so an extra minute or two could mean over cooking. To maintain continuity of cooking always remove the skewers in the same sequence you inserted them, hence "First in First out".