If you’ve grown up in an Indian or Pakistani household, you’re probably familiar with the flavor and flare of tandoori cooking but if not, let's make it very simple for you. It's a cooking vessel that is part oven and part BBQ pit, primarily used for flat bread but boy oh boy does it bbq some tender meaty goodness… The combination of spices, metal skewers, and smokey heat gives the food a unique flavor profile – one that can’t be replicated by using a conventional grill or gas stove.
Tandoor ovens are designed in a particular way to trap heat on the inside. Because of the way they’re built, with only one opening at the top through which heat can escape, they can reach very high temperatures with a single load of charcoal. The meats and vegetables are skewered and placed vertically through an opening at the top. As they cook, the juices seep down onto the hot charcoal to release a delicious, smokey flavor into the meat.
The key to a tandoor oven’s functionality is its ability to lock in heat. One of the biggest advantages of using a tandoor oven is that once it reaches a particular temperature, it can maintain that temperature for a really long time without the need for additional fuel. This not only leads to a quicker prep time, but also gives the dishes a unique flavor profile.
Clay ovens are perfect for cooking different types of meats and breads. Naan, in particular, is an excellent dish that cooks well in a tandoor oven. The dough sticks to the walls of the tandoor and bubbles up and chars to perfection for a truly authentic flavor. You can even use them to cook stuffed naans and parathas without any issues.
Even though you can cook just about anything in a tandoori oven, there are a few dishes that can be considered the mainstays of tandoori cooking. These include: