Indian food lovers may be familiar with the flavor and taste of tandoori cooking. But even an Indian foodie might still wonder what a tandoor oven is. Keep reading to know what a tandoor is and which is the best for home.
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What Is A Tandoor Oven
Tandoor ovens are clay cooking ovens estimated to have existed over 5,000 years ago. Used extensively throughout India, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, the tandoor oven is an essential cooking tool.
A tandoor oven can be a large, permanent structure enclosed in an outdoor area or a kitchen. However, it can also be a small, portable oven. People are fascinated by how these ovens work, just as they are by the delicious food they make.
Regardless of their region of origin, shape, and size, all tandoor ovens operate on the same principle. A clay tandoor oven has insulating material like mud or concrete on the outside.
This unique oven is cylindrical and mostly curved inward towards the top, similar to a jug. Such a design enables the oven to concentrate the heat while a top opening allows ventilation and access.
A fire is built at the oven’s bottom and heats both the inside air and walls to over 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The fire is allowed to die in coals just before cooking. The hot coals ensure that the temperature remains constant during cooking.
Unlike the horizontal ovens found in virtually any modern kitchen, a tandoor oven for home doesn’t have a vertical door. Instead, you must thread your meat and veggies onto a skewer and lower them via a top opening into the oven.
Though it is difficult to duplicate a clay tandoor oven’s dry heat and cooking process, some modern chefs have created their own brick versions. You can easily find an electric or gas tandoor oven with modern technology.
Types Of Tandoor Ovens
There are basically three types of tandoor ovens, depending on their fuel type.
Clay Tandoor Oven
A clay tandoor oven is an earthware cooking oven that uses charcoal or firewood for fuel. Charcoal or wood is used to line the oven’s bottom and lit up to produce very high dry heat.
A clay tandoor oven for home is ideal because it cooks food to develop a very crispy outer layer without compromising its inside moistness.
Gas Tandoor Oven
A gas tandoor over is powered by petroleum or propane gas. It has burners fitted with an astound plate that redirects the fire to warm up the earth pot inside the oven. A gas tandoor for home use could offer better temperature control.
Electric Tandoor Oven
Just like the name suggests, an electric tandoor oven runs on electricity. The oven produces heat by turning electricity into heat energy using coils. An electric tandoor for home is affordable and hence popular.
What Can You Make In A Tandoor Oven
In a tandoor oven, you can cook just about anything. From lamb and chicken to zucchini and mushrooms, there are endless possibilities. However, tandoori lamb, chicken, and naan are the mainstays of tandoori cooking.
Flatbreads like naan are slapped against a tandoor oven’s side. They stick to the superheated surface, cook quickly, and are peeled off when ready. Meats are cooked on long metal skewers placed over the oven’s mouth or inserted into the oven.
Foods intended for tandoori cooking are marinated in yogurt or lime-based marinades to enhance flavor and moisture. Others may get a dry spice rub, which is responsible for the unique red tinge found in tandoori dishes.
Best Tandoor Oven For Home
Owning a tandoor oven for the home is a worthwhile appliance, especially if you are a foodie. This oven imparts a unique flavor to your foods and preserves minerals and vitamins. Here’s a look at some of the best tandoor ovens for home.
This medium-sized tandoor oven brings back a centuries-old cooking technique to your home. It is perfect for small gatherings or families and can cater to approximately 12 people.
It features a traditional Indian clay oven enclosed in a stylish stainless steel body with heavy insulation to retain heat. This portable tandoor oven enables you to vertical cooking wherever you go.
This oven comes with eight stainless steel skewers, two nan rods, a gaddi/cushion, a tandoor BBQ griddle/grill, and a weatherproof cover.
Though the oven is primarily charcoal-fueled for a unique smoky flavor, a gas option is available at an extra cost.
Gourmia’s electric home tandoor is sleek and small but with big capabilities. It has a vented dome lid that toasts the bread’s outer layer and allows steam to escape. A temperature control dial makes it easy and convenient to use, while a non-stick base makes it easy to clean.
This electric tandoor is excellent for flatbreads, tortillas, pita, naan, pancakes, crepes, and omelets. It comes with a step-by-step instruction manual and a recipe book.
This Wonderchef gas oven comes with separate trays for tandoori dishes and baking. A 360 degrees heating system ensures even heat distribution without smoke emissions. A crown inside the aluminum lead reflects hot air that rotates all around, enabling conventional cooking.
It is an incredible electric tandoor for roti, chicken, naan, kebabs, cookies, muffins, and cakes. High heat resistance non-stick coating on the trays enables easy food release and low oil cooking.
These ovens are a great place to start your tandoori cooking journey. They will offer you convenience, durability, and a sleek design.
What Features To Look For In A Tandoor Oven
Purchasing a tandoor for home is an excellent decision for anyone passionate about food and cooking. However, there are several factors to consider before getting one. They include:
When selecting a home tandoor, you should carefully choose between charcoal, gas, or electric tandoor. Pick one that you can operate conveniently and cost-effectively.
Keep space in mind when you consider installing a tandoori oven at home. If you prefer an outdoor tandoor oven, consider whether it will fit into the backyard landscape. However, if space is limited, you can have a mini tandoor oven for home use.
A tandoor oven made with high-quality materials should withstand season after season with no or little maintenance needs. However, cleaning, covering, and occasional crack repair are standard.
Is A Tandoor Oven Worth It?
A home tandoor is an excellent addition to your cooking appliances because it gives the food a unique taste. In a high-temperature clay oven, the combination of various meats with spices on a metal skewer imparts the food with a distinctive flavor. You cannot replicate such taste using a household oven, conventional grill, or even BBQ.
The heat from the clay pot and the inside radiant heat cooks the food. The technique preserves the minerals and vitamins during the cooking process. Furthermore, food will be ready much quicker compared to other cooking methods.