Website The Tandoor
A tandoor (Sanskrit: कन्दु,Arabic: تنور, Persian: تنور, Turkish: tandır, Urdu: تندور, Armenian: Թոնիր, Azerbaijani: təndir, Hindi: तन्दूर, Bengali: তন্দূর, Georgian: თონე, Punjabi: ਤੰਦੂਰ, Uyghur: تونۇر/tonur, Chinese: 馕坑) is a cylindrical clay or metal oven used in cooking and baking. The tandoor is used for cooking in Southern, Central and Western Asia, as well as in the Caucasus.
Most people seem to think that tandoori is a recipe. Like many of the world’s great dishes, this is actually a cooking method that has become synonymous with the food that is prepared. Put simply tandoori is a marinated meat cooked over an intense fire in a tandoor. A tandoor is a clay oven in which a hot fire is built. Marinated meats are lowered into the oven on long metal skewers and cooked in this smoky and extremely hot environment until done.
The marinade used in most any tandoori dish starts with yoghurt. While this might sound a little strange this is actually perfect for marinating meats because it has a natural acidity and it is thick so it holds to the meat well and keeps the herbs and spices in place. The flavour of the yoghurt (always plain) is so mild you typically don’t even taste it.
As for the spices, tandoori is marinated or rubbed with a great combination of spices. The first thing you will notice is the colour. Tandoori dishes are usually very red or very yellow; this depends on the marinade ingredients. The red is provided by ground annatto seeds which can be somewhat difficult to find at your local store. The yellow comes from saffron which can be very expensive. Of course, you can always go with the cheaper solution: turmeric.
The oldest examples of a tandoor were found in the settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, though earlier tandoor-type ovens have been recovered in early-Harappan contexts on the Makran coast, including the mound site of Balakot, Pakistan.
In India, tandoori cooking was traditionally associated with Punjab as Punjabis embraced the tandoor on a regional level and became popular in the mainstream after the 1947 partition when Punjabi’s resettled in places such as Delhi. In rural Punjab, it was common to have communal tandoors. Some villages still have a communal tandoor which was a common sight prior to 1947.
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