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modern ceramic wood-fired tandoors
Clay pots and assembly
Charcoal-fired stainless-steel tandoor, with ash tray and thermometer
Another coal-fired tandoor with a mild steel drum

A tandoor (/tænˈdʊər/ or /tɑːnˈdʊər/) also known as tannour is a cylindrical clay or metal oven used in cooking and baking. The tandoor is used for cooking in Southern, Central, and Western Asia,[1] as well as in the South Caucasus.[2]

The heat for a tandoor was traditionally generated by a charcoal or wood fire, burning within the tandoor itself, thus exposing the food to live fire, radiant heat cooking, and hot-air, convection cooking, and smoking in the fat and food juices that drip on to the charcoal.[2] Temperatures in a tandoor can approach 480 °C (900 °F), and it is common for tandoor ovens to remain lit for long periods to maintain the high cooking temperature. The tandoor design is something of a transitional form between a makeshift earth oven and the horizontal-plan masonry oven.


The English word comes from Hindi / Urdu tandūr (तन्दूर / تندور), which came from Persian tanūr (تنور), which all mean (clay) oven. According to the Dehkhoda Persian Dictionary, the Persian word ultimately came from the Akkadian word tinūru (𒋾𒂟), which consists of the parts tin "mud" and nuro/nura "fire" and is mentioned as early as in the Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh, c.f. also Avestan tanûra and Pahlavi tanûr. So tandoor originated from Semitic. (In Sanskrit, the tandoor was referred to as kandu.)[3][4]

Words related and similar to tandoor are used in various languages, for example the Dari words tandūr and tannūr, Armenian t’onir (Թոնիր), Georgian tone (თონე), Arabic tannūr (تنّور), Hebrew tanúr (תנור) e.g. in Leviticus 2:4[5] Turkish tandır, Uzbek tandir, Azerbaijani təndir, and Kurdish tenûr.

Tandoor-cooked dishesEdit


Yemeni modern tandoor (tannour) used for making flatbread known as Mulawah

A tandoor maybe used to bake many different types of flatbread. Some of the most common are tandoori roti, tandoori naan, tandoori laccha paratha, missi roti, and tandoori kulcha.

Chicken wings, onions and potato slices with pork fat in between roasted in tonir in Armenia.

Peshawari KharEdit

Roasted cashews ,and cottage cheese paste marinated in spiced thick cream grilled in a tandoor.

Balochs and aloosEdit

Potatoes stuffed with cottage cheese, vegetables and cashew nuts, roasted in a tandoor.

Tandoori chickenEdit

Tandoori chicken is a roasted chicken delicacy that originated in Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent.[6][7]

The chicken is marinated in yogurt seasoned with garam masala, garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, and other spices depending on the recipe. In hot versions of the dish, cayenne, red chili powder, or other spices give the typical red color; in milder versions, food coloring is used.[8] Turmeric produces a yellow-orange color. It is traditionally cooked at high temperatures in a tandoor, but can also be prepared on a traditional grill.

Chicken tikkaEdit

Chicken tikka (Urdu: مرغ تکہ‎; Hindi: मुर्ग़ टिक्का; murgh tikka) is a dish from Mughlai cuisine[9][10] made by grilling small pieces of boneless chicken which have been marinated in spices and yogurt. It is traditionally cooked on skewers in a tandoor and is usually boneless. It is normally served and eaten with a green coriander chutney, or used in preparing the curry chicken tikka masala.

Kalmi kababEdit

Kalmi kabab, a popular snack in cuisine from the Indian subcontinent, is made by marinating chicken drumsticks and placing them in a tandoor. Various freshly ground spices are added to the yogurt to form a marinade for the chicken. Traditionally, the marinaded chicken is given 12 hours at the least. When prepared, the drumsticks are usually garnished with mint leaves and served with laccha (finely sliced half moons, with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt) onions.


Filled and cut samosa ready to be baked in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan

Samosa is a stuffed snack consisting of a fried or baked triangular, semilunar or tetrahedral pastry shell with a savory filling, which may include spiced potatoes, onions, peas, coriander, and lentils, or ground lamb or chicken. The size and shape of a samosa, as well as the consistency of the pastry used, can vary considerably. In some regions of Central Asia (i.e. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), samosas are typically baked in a tandoor, while they are usually fried elsewhere.

First time useEdit

The first time a tandoor is used, the temperature must be gradually increased to condition the interior of the oven. This step is crucial in ensuring the longevity of the tandoor. Conditioning can be done by starting a very small fire and slowly adding fuel to gradually increase the amount of heat inside the tandoor. Hairline cracks might form during conditioning; this is normal and will not interfere with the performance of the tandoor oven. When the oven cools off, the hairline cracks will barely be noticeable. They are essential in allowing the clay body of the tandoor to breathe (thermal expansion and contraction). The slower the temperature inside the tandoor is increased during its first use, the fewer hairline cracks will develop.[11]


Afghan tandoorEdit

The Afghan tandoor sits above the ground and is made of bricks.[citation needed]

Punjabi tandoorEdit

The Punjabi tandoor from the Indian Subcontinent is traditionally made of clay and is a bell-shaped oven, which can either be set into the earth and fired with wood or charcoal reaching temperatures of about 480 degrees Celsius (900 Fahrenheit),[12] or rest above the ground. Tandoor cooking is a traditional aspect of Punjabi cuisine in undivided Punjab.[13]

In India and Pakistan, tandoori cooking was traditionally associated with the Punjab,[14] as Punjabis embraced the tandoor on a regional level,[15] and became popular in the mainstream after the 1947 partition when Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus resettled in places such as Delhi.[16] In rural Punjab, it was common to have communal tandoors.[13] Some villages[17] still have a communal tandoor, which was a common sight prior to 1947.[18]

Armenian tonirEdit

In ancient times, the tonir was worshiped by the Armenians as a symbol of the sun in the ground. Armenians made tonirs in resemblance with the setting sun "going into the ground" (the Sun being the main deity). The underground tonir, made of clay, is one of the first tools in Armenian cuisine, as an oven and as a thermal treatment tool. Armenians are said to have originated underground tonirs.[19][unreliable source?]

Azerbaijani tandirEdit

In ancient times people used it to cook bread and various dishes.[20]

Azerbaijani tendir

Tandir bread (təndir çörəyi, tandoori bread) is widespread bread type in Azerbaijan. Tandir bread is baked from the heat of the tandir's walls, which ensures very fast baking.[21][22]

One of the world's biggest tandoors was built in Azerbaijan's southern city of Astara in 2015. The height of the tandoor is 6,5 m and the diameter is 12 m. The tandoor consists of 3 parts.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Raichlen, Steven (10 May 2011). "A Tandoor Oven Brings India's Heat to the Backyard". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b Raichlen, Steven (10 May 2011). "A Tandoori Oven brings India's heat to the backyard". New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  3. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1872). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: ...with Special Reference to Greek, Latin, Gothic, German, Anglo-saxon... Clarendon.
  4. ^ Achaya K. T. "Indian Food Tradition A Historical Companion". Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Leviticus 2:4".
  6. ^ "Metro Plus Delhi / Food : A plateful of grain". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Where does biryani come from?". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ For instance, see the recipe in Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery pp66-69
  9. ^ "Recipe Of Chicken Tikka, Indian Barbecue".
  10. ^ "Chicken Tikka Masala".
  11. ^ "USER GUIDE".
  12. ^ "Tandoori Chicken".
  13. ^ a b "Alop Ho Reha Punjabi Virsa Harkesh Singh Kehal".
  14. ^ [1] The Rough Guide to Rajasthan, Delhi and Agra By Daniel Jacobs, Gavin Thomas
  15. ^ "What is Mughalai Cuisine?". Archived from the original on 10 October 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  16. ^ Raichlen, Steven (10 May 2011). "A Tandoor Oven Brings India's Heat to the Backyard". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  17. ^ Pind Diyan Gallian PTC Channel - Bilga (Jalandhar) has a communal Tandoor also known as tadoor in Punjabi
  18. ^ "specialities Punjabi cuisine". Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Armenian symbol of the Sun in the ground". 28 December 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  20. ^ "Life on Earth's biggest pressure cooker". BBC.
  21. ^ "What is Tandyr or how traditional bread is baked in Baku". 27 March 2012.
  22. ^ "Tendir Choreyi Azerbaijan Recipe".
  23. ^ "Azerbaijan to build the world`s biggest tandoor". Retrieved 2 September 2019.