Everything You Need To Know About Tandoors

Everything You Need To Know About Tandoors

Tandoors have been around in one form or another for thousands of years. The art of skewering food or slapping it on the side of a clay tandoor and cooking over direct heat was, and still is, a staple cooking method in many cultures. Despite being renowned for its ability to produce smoky, flavourful meat and pillowy-soft naan quickly and easily, cooking in a tandoor still isn’t a common practice in many Western cultures but we’re on a mission to change that! We’re here to give you the lowdown on tandoors, why they’ve stood the test of time and why we love them!

What is a tandoor?

Traditionally, a tandoor is a large, urn-shaped oven made of clay and used to cook naan, roti and other breads. Firewood and charcoal are the typical fuel choices for a tandoor, and although both are readily-available resources, many villages traditionally had, and still have, communal tandoors to ensure that local resources are used as efficiently as possible. Authentic clay tandoors are prohibitively heavy and prone to cracking so require constant maintenance, not exactly making them convenient for personal use! Even restaurants using tandoors use a form of clay with a stainless-steel surround which needs to be professionally installed and usually use gas as a fuel for ease of use.

Why cook in a tandoor?

Cooking in a tandoor is an extremely efficient method of cooking, based on the principle of cooking food quickly at high temperatures, usually between 200oC - 480oC (400oF - 900oF). Unlike open-fire grilling and barbecuing, heat is retained in the cooking chamber, circulating around the food for even cooking and the radiant heat from the charcoal allows food to caramelise and char. Cooking at extremely high temperatures seals the food, locking in moisture for more succulent meat, and encouraging excess fat to drip down into the charcoal, creating a wonderfully flavourful smoke. Naan and other breads are traditionally slapped on the side of the hot tandoor walls to bake, and skewered meat and vegetables benefit from the searing skewers, cooking them from the inside as well as from the outside.

What can I cook in a tandoor?

This method of cooking in a tandoor has led to a whole host of delicious dishes. Whilst traditionally used to cook naan, breads and meats, there are many more dishes that can benefit from this exciting method of cooking on a skewer! Think blistering aubergines used to make baba ganoush, Greek pork souvlaki and Jamaican jerk chicken - the possibilities are endless. Tandoors are a fantastic tool to a wide range of dishes, offering high heat, a unique flavour and versatility. Whether you’re cooking breads, meats or vegetables, you’re sure to produce delicious results sure to impress! In addition to producing incredible results, cooking in a tandoor makes for a fun, social culinary experience - a cooking method designed to be communal so gather your friends and family and get the party started!

Cooking in a tandoor isn’t just a technique, it’s an embodiment of culture and tradition. A cooking method that has stood the test of time and we’re proud to finally bring the world of cooking on a skewer to your home.