I am possibly the worlds biggest fan of curry, as I’ve been known to eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afters, sometimes having two or three dishes in a day and certainly several in a week. Being vegetarian since the age of five means that I really appreciate flavour, taste, texture and spice in my cooking; succulent sweet peppers, crunchy babycorn, wilted spinach leaves and creamy chickpeas in a spiced curry sauce on a bed of light fluffy rice literally get my taste buds tango’ing at the thought. So what more could a curry-lover wish for then a traditional Tandoori cooking pot!?
Devon Ceramics have over 30 years of creating bespoke gifts and hampers for leading retailers and wholesalers such as Costco, Cadbury’s, Boots, Mothercare, Thornton’s and Waitrose, and have established themselves as the most innovative and trusted gift hamper provider in the UK. They have very lovingly created the Tandoori Cooking Pot which I purchased from my local Costco, as Devon Ceramic’s are simply the manufacturer and do not sell directly to the public. The tandoori cooking pot is an unglazed curry cooker adapted for household ovens. As the ceramic is porous it allows the spices and flavours to penetrate the pot which improves with each use. The heat of the oven is absorbed by the pot with the food continuing to cook even outside of the oven, essentially the Tandoori Pot works as an oven within your oven. My delightful Tandoori Pot hamper comes with a Ferns’ Tandoori Curry Paste, Chutnee’s Luxury Mango Chutney, Wright’s Naan Bread Mix, and Green Cusisine Long Grain White Rice.
So today I used my Tandoori Cooking Pot for the first time, and as I’m vegetarian I stuck to what I know best, utilising my chiller drawer of veggies to create a tongue-tingling Tandoori. I began by cleaning my ceramic pot with warm soapy water and leaving it to drip dry on the draining board whilst I chopped the veg. I roughly diced a white onion, an inch of fresh root ginger, quarter of a red bell pepper, half a courgette, one red chilli, a few cherry tomatoes, a carrot, a handful of baby button mushrooms, two cloves of garlic, a generous handful of raw cashew nuts, a tin of chickpeas and a tin of coconut cream. I scooped my ingredients into the ceramic pot, adding the jar of Tandoori paste and put the lid in place, before sitting it onto an oven pizza tray so that I could slide and lift it in and out of the oven easily. Due to the pots height I had to remove my second oven shelf and drop the other one down to the bottom rung so that the pot could fit. As my electric oven is fan assisted I put my pot on to cook for 45mins at 170degrees. After 45mins I removed the pot from the oven and stirred up the bubbling veggies which were browning beautifully, charring the peppers that touched the sides and creating the most richly roasted glaze of sauce ontop. I then removed the lid of the pot and returned it to the oven for a further 20mins, and if the curry had dried out then I would have added more cream or water to moisten it, but as I’d used a tin of coconut cream it was still nicely juicy.
Whilst I waited for the curry pot to finish I then prepared the rice and handmade naan. Long grain white rice is incredibly easy to cook, as I simply rinsed it through with cold water in a saucepan to remove the starch before bringing it to boil on the stove and simmering on a low heat for ten minutes until light, fluffy and dry. I’ve never made my own naan bread before, but the garlic and coriander naan mix that came with my hamper was super simple to use, as it was already mixed perfectly for me and ready to go. To a plastic bowl I added around a third of the bag of naan mix, which I added a splash of extra virgin olive oil to and a blast of water from the tap, kneading and adding more mix as I went until a soft squishy dough was achieved. I could have weighed and measured the ingredients but I always find that when making bread I get the best results from going by eye and hand, as you know if something is too wet or too dry and can easily correct it by adding more flour or water, it’s hardly rocket science. After kneading the naan mix for around 5mins I then broke it into several balls and rolled them out into oval shaped pieces around 5mm thick, placing them onto a pre-warmed and floured oven tray to allow then to rest and rise for 10mins. When the curry and rice were ready I then brushed the naan dough lightly with olive oil and placed them under a hot grill for around 2mins per side until lightly browned et voila! My first Tandoori pot was ready to serve.
It certainly helped me to get the pot in and out of the oven more easily by placing it on a flat oven tray, as I could lift it out with my teatowel without the fear of it sliding, rolling over or falling onto me. If I hadn’t have had it on the tray I would have used oven gloves to lift it, but you have to be sure of your grip. I plated up my rice with a sprinkling of pine nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, a scoop of curry and two pieces of my freshly made naan bread. Cooking my curry in the Tandoori Cooking Pot certainly enhanced the flavours of my well loved dish, as much like a slow-cooker, the pot does the work for you. There is no need to fry spices, stir sauces or turn over vegetables, as the ceramic pot creates its very own little oven. When I cook in a saucepan on the stove the vegetables all share the same texture, soft and succulent, however in the Tandoori pot they are chargrilled, soft, succulent and more intensely flavoursome, like eating a curry the day after it’s been cooked and left to marinade in the fridge. The naan bread was absolutely delicious, light, slightly crisp, sumptuously doughy, and far easier to make than I expected and something that I will certainly be making again.
The ceramic pot is hand wash only, not suitable for use on the hob and should never be put in a dishwasher or microwave. Always remember to allow the hot pot to cool before placing in water, and as the ceramic absorbs the taste and flavour, if you’re vegetarian like me or have any food allergies then don’t cook with any ingredients what you wouldn’t want to have carried over to your next dish. I rinsed my pot out with warm water after it had cooled and it has proven a very simple and effective addition to my kitchen that will only improve with age and use, now how many modern appliances can say that?