“Suddenly you find yourself dipping your finger into the jar for another taste.”
The biggest challenge for cooking Indian food at home is the large number of ingredients required to have on hand. Even if you do have them, it’s a chore to measure, toast, and grind all of the spices. The Halal BBQ Pitmasters simplified this for us, taking a 5,000 year old tradition and adapting it with their Texas Tandoori Rub.
The Texas Tandoori rub should be classified as an “Intermediate rub“, having a complex flavor that may be overwhelming for a newbie. That’s not a bad thing, because if you know how to use this it’s actually one of the most versatile rubs in a spice cabinet. The combination of Kashmiri chiles, cardamom, and coriander explode on the tip of your tongue, bouncing through your brain as you try to determine each spice that you’re picking up. Suddenly you find yourself dipping your finger into the jar for another taste.
A quick search for “Tandoori” and you’ll see that the interwebs show you a number of results for tandoori chicken recipes, definitely a fan favorite. The bright red, charred and juicy chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoori oven at temperatures exceeding 700°F. This cooks the meat quickly, not only creating a delicious charred charcoal flavor which is hard to replicate. This is definitely an amazing bbq rub for chicken.
I tested out this Texas Tandoori rub with a few different recipes, starting with the obvious choice: tandoori chicken. Now I don’t know about you, but I do not have a tandoori oven in my backyard, so I stuck with my smoker. Liberally applying the rub to some chicken thighs, along with a little olive oil, these were smoked in a Pit Barrel Cooker at around 275°F until the chicken was done. The Pit Barrel Cooker is a bit different than most smokers, generally running hotter and faster while still producing quite a bit of charcoal flavor.
The chicken was amazing, incredibly savory and still bright red. I think this is a time to point out that the Halal BBQ Pitmasters do not use food coloring in their rub.
The punch of the Kashmiri chili hits your tongue first, there’s no avoiding it. Now they don’t share exactly what other chiles are using in this rub, it’s mentioned on their website that they “add a Texas touch”. That’s the exciting part, you probably won’t figure it out. The flavors of garlic and ginger come through next, elevating the already savory flavor of crispy chicken skin. Those floral notes of cardamom and coriander remind you that this is tandoori chicken, you will also eat with your sense of smell.
Tandoori Other Stuff
This is where I get experimental. If you’re a traditionalist, you might want to skip on past this and just go to my conclusions for the rub.
I couldn’t resist trying this tandoori seasoning on vegetables and seafood. One of my favorite Indian dishes to cook is called Aloo Matar. It’s a stew of spicy potatoes and peas, simmered in a creamy tomato sauce. There are quite a few variations too, and I don’t feel bad straying off the path.
My interpretation starts with a coal-roasted potato, nestled right in the coals for that charcoal flavor. It had to be topped with a creamy sauce of tomato puree, Texas Tandoori Rub, frozen sweet peas, and a little butter for that luscious feel. This was garnished with some micro cilantro and lime juice to heighten the flavors.
What an easy dish! The rub took care of the complex spices I would normally put into the sauce, reducing my overall ingredients to 4 from about 10. The traditional dish might not use a tandoori spice mix, but it sure tastes great.
Next up was halibut, a hearty fish that can take some bold flavors. This was a quick marinade of lemon, olive oil, yogurt, and the Texas Tandoori Rub. Topped with a fresh raita salad of cucumber slices and a yogurt dressing with mint.
Once again the Texas Tandoori Rub shines as the bold hero. This time it wasn’t near as spicy, the yogurt marinade moistened the fish and tamed the heat.
Who’s This For?
Anyone that enjoys spicy flavors, looking for something new. This Texas Tandoori rub isn’t too spicy, I’d give it a 3/5 on my randomly generated spice-scale. It’s adaptable for vegetables as well, allowing quite a bit more flexibility for your dinner menu.
What We Loved
The complex flavors of Texas Tandoori Rub saves you time if you enjoy Indian food. You’ll see that this rub can be used on chicken, beef, lamb, vegetables, mac n cheese (yes) and pretty much anything else that’s warm. It’s also low on salt purposefully, so you can dry-brine that meat ahead of time before you add your rub.
What Could Be Improved
I wouldn’t change anything. The flavors of this tandoori rub honor the traditional Indian cuisine while modernizing it into something new. It’s a complex blend of spices that might be unfamiliar for those newer to Indian cuisine, but I would encourage everyone to give it a try.
The Halal BBQ Pitmaster team advertises that the rub can also be used with a combination of yogurt or oil for marinades, something that I will be experimenting with more in the future. I personally enjoy the heat and will continue to use this on veggies, meats, and starches. Our family is very excited about these flavors and I highly recommend you try it. Cheers!
Pick it up HERE: Texas Tandoori Rub