Chef Amninder Sandhu prepares the mutton kebab and dahi ki khamiri roti at Arth in Khar. Pics/ Ashish Raje

Tandoori thrills

By Krutika Behrawala | Mumbai

Updated: Nov 15, 2019, 10:18 IST

Learn how to use a beautiful but not-for-fainthearted tandoor with award winning chef Amninder Sandhu at a masterclass presented by Sunday mid-day at the two-day Isuzu X Food Festival 2019.

Chef Amninder Sandhu's tryst with the tandoor began in the early 2000s. As a trainee with a five-star hotel, she had accompanied a seasoned tandoor chef at an outdoor catering event for then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi. When the service got busier, Sandhu jumped in to slap the naans in the tandoor. "It's a beautiful equipment but not user-friendly. The chef was taken aback by my willingness to help. On our return to the hotel, he told the head chef to assign me to the Indian breads section," says Sandhu, who now helms the kitchen at the gas-free restaurant Arth in Khar.

On Sunday, Sandhu, also winner of mid-day's The Guide Restaurant Awards 2019 for Best Culinary Entrepreneur, will conduct a one-hour-long masterclass on the charm and rusticity of gas-less cooking at the debut edition of Isuzu X Food Festival at the Mahalaxmi Race Course. Produced and presented by 70 EMG, the two-day festival is being held in association with media partner Sunday mid-day.

Packed with food stalls, eating competitions, workshops and a bazaar, the event features rare and authentic fare from diverse regions of India and the world. From the Parsi masoor ma jeeb to Assam's silkworms cooked with roselle leaves, ghost chilli tacos and whiskey-infused cakes, a range of extreme eats from home chefs and restaurants will be up for grabs. The line-up is curated by culinary experts Kunal Vijayakar, Michael Swamy, Tara Deshpande and Nicole Mody.

Cooking with the tandoor, isn't for the faint-hearted, asserts Sandhu. "Its temperature is 240 to 250 degrees Celsius. You are expected to place your hand inside the tandoor without wearing any protective gear. We often undermine the Indian skill-sensitive techniques, but I have a lot of respect for the staff who works with the tandoor in my kitchen," she says.

Sandhu's masterclass will be held in the outdoors. "I use bio-charcoal so that I don't generate any greenhouse gases," she says. First, chef will guide participants on how to smoke the mutton kebabs in the tandoor. She'll then show them how to slap the dahi ki khamiri roti — flecked with cinnamon and fennel — on its inside wall. She'll char the onion and tomato to make a chutney and toss up a salad. Through the session, she will offer tips on how to perfect these recipes. The class will conclude by assembling all the elements together as a taco. "That's the beauty of a tandoor. You can whip up all of this with the help of just one piece of equipment."

On November 16 (4 pm to 10 pm) and 17 (11 am to 10 pm)
At Members' Lawns, Royal Western India Turf Club, Mahalaxmi Race Course.
Entry Rs 200 (insider.in)

Festival highlights

Manzilat Fatima

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Learn tricks of the tandoor with Chef Amninder Sandhu

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