In the days before microwaves and electrical ovens, people survived by cooking their meals over fires. These days, although we might love barbecued food we rarely have the time for them, instead opting for a fast and usually tasteless TV dinner. But it is good to know that in some regions of the world, long established culinary traditions like cooking in tandoors nonetheless survive.

Tandoor is the label given to clay cooking pots, formed like a drum or barrel and extensively used in Middle Eastern and Eastern foods. They basically work like an oven, the heat comes from inside, from a small hearth lit within the bottom. Like a charcoal grill, the meal cooks over glowing embers, but not like a barbecue, the meat is surrounded by warmth, resulting in a quicker and hotter cooking experience.

They’re perhaps most famous for their use in Indian delicacies, however tandoors actually originate from ancient Persia, or as the country is now recognized, Iran. Other than India and Iran, these distinctive cooking vessels are used in many different countries, including Pakistan, Armenia, Turkey and Afghanistan. They are additionally used in areas of Central Asia.

These clay ovens, may be central to the cooking expertise in some countries and used to cook all their meals. Sometimes they are buried in the sand in a communal area and used to feed the neighborhood as a whole. In other countries, they sit beside other home equipment in the kitchen, and are solely for domestic use.

Nowadays there are numerous different styles and sizes of tandoor, however the central clay heart is a constant. Typically speaking, the warmth is still due to a wooden or charcoal fire, but gas models also exist too. Modern models are often cased in stainless steel and from the outside look like every other kitchen appliance found in a restaurant kitchen or home kitchen.

In terms of yummy tandoor dishes, Indian creations like lamb or chicken tikka are among the most renowned. They are comprised of cubes of meat, marinaded in a rich mixture of spices blended with yogurt. This concoction tenderizes and flavors the meat, provided it’s left to marinade overnight. Fish can also be cooked in a tandoor.

When the chicken or fish is done marinading it is time to cook it in the tandoor. Normally the marinated meals will be threaded on to skewers and positioned point facing down into the oven, the point within the coals. Different components are generally added to the combination, such as herbs left to softly smoke off the coals, giving the food an added fragrant boost.

The succulent Indian dish tandoori chicken is probably the most famous dish cooked in this way, and not surprisingly takes its name from the oven it’s cooked in. However, one of many primary uses for tandoors is for baking flat breads like roti and naan. The raw dough is stuck to the edges of the oven, and because it cooks bubbles sometimes they form against the clay giving it a pungent earthy flavor.

Source by Aaron George

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