Directions for a tandoori oven

Written by jeffrey brian airman
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Directions for a tandoori oven
Flatbread is cooked directly on the earthenware surface of a tandoori oven. (Plush Studios/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You can quickly cook a wide variety foods in the extreme heat of a tandoori oven. A tandoori oven or tandoor is a vertical cylindrical cooking device capable of reaching temperatures that exceed 482 degrees Celsius. The thick clay inner walls of a tandoori oven hold in heat and radiate it back to the food. Some tandoors are set into the ground for increased insulation. Make Eastern foods with authentic flavour by lowering them into a preheated tandoori oven.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Fuel (charcoal, dry hardwood, gas)
  • Infrared thermometer (optional)
  • Long metal skewers
  • Meat thermometer
  • Tandoor hook

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  1. 1

    Light the tandoori oven. Most tandoori ovens burn wood or charcoal in a firebox in their base. Gas-heated tandoors have a lever that opens the valve and allows the gas to flow.

  2. 2

    Wait for the oven to heat up. Wood and charcoal tandoori ovens may take an hour or more to reach their full potential. Gas-heated models cut heating times in half and are usually hot in 45 minutes or less.

  3. 3

    Remove the cover from the top of the oven to test the heat levels. The oven has reached temperature when it is difficult to hold your hand two inches above the exhaust hole for more than one second. You can also use an infrared thermometer to find out when the internal temperature has exceeded 427 degrees Celsius.

  4. 4

    Skewer meats with long metal skewers. Lower the skewers into the tandoori oven, so they are leaning against the rim of the exhaust hole and the handles are outside the oven. Chicken, lamb and goat are popular meat choices for tandoor cooking.

  5. 5

    Slap flattened dough against the inner sides of the tandoori oven. Thin flatbreads doughs like nan cook in less than a minute in the intense heat. Peel each bread piece away from the sides of the oven with a tandoor hook, so it can be lifted up and out.

  6. 6

    Lift meat skewers from the oven to check how done they are. Use a meat thermometer to take an internal temperature reading without coming in contact with the metal skewers. Return the meat to the tandoor until the desired temperature is reached.

Tips and warnings

  • Cold liquids rapidly cool the earthenware inner surface of a tandoori oven and may cause it to crack.

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