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A tandoor (Sanskrit: कन्दु, Arabic: , Persian: تنور, Turkish: tandır, Urdu: تندور, Armenian: Թոնիր, Azerbaijani: təndir, Hindi: तन्दूर, Bengali: তন্দূর, Georgian: თონე, Punjabi: ਤੰਦੂਰ) 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.
The heat for a tandoor was traditionally generated by a charcoal or wood fire, burning within the tandoor itself, thus exposing the food to live-fire, radiant heat cooking, and hot-air, convection cooking, and smoking by the fat and food juices that drip on to the charcoal. Temperatures in a tandoor can approach 480 °C (900 °F), and it is common for tandoor ovens to remain lit for long periods to maintain the high cooking temperature. The tandoor design is something of a transitional form between a makeshift earth oven and the horizontal-plan masonry oven.
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. The word tandoor comes from the Dari words tandūr and tannūr; these are derived from very similar terms, viz. Persian tanūr (تنور), Armenian t’onir (Թոնիր), Arabic tannūr (تنّور), Hebrew (תנור) e.g. in Leviticus 2:4 Turkish tandır, Uzbek tandir, Azeri təndir and Kurdish tendûr. However, according to Dehkhoda Persian Dictionary, the word originates from Akkadian tinûru "tin" means mud and nuro/nura means fire, and is mentioned as early as in the Akkadian Epic of Gilgames (as reflexed by Avestan tanûra and Pahlavi tanûr). As such, tandoor may not have originated from Semitic or Iranian altogether, dating back to periods before the migration of Aryan and Semitic people to the Iranian plateau and Mesopotamia. In Sanskrit, the tandoor was referred to as kandu.
The type of the hearth (t’onir) and the form of the tableware (made out of clay), made originally by Armenians, spread all over the South Caucasus, influencing the very nature of the dishes.
A tandoor may be used to bake many different types of flatbread. Some of the most common are Tandoori Roti, Tandoori Naan, Tandoori Laccha Paratha, Missi Roti, and Tandoori Kulcha.
Roasted Cashews, corn and cottage cheese paste marinated in spiced thick cream grilled in Tandoor.
Mushrooms marinated in pickled yoghurt and jodhpuri spices grilled in Tandoor.
Potatoes stuffed with cottage cheese, vegetables and cashew nuts, roasted in Tandoor.
Tandoori chicken is a roasted chicken delicacy that originated in Punjab region of India and 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.
The chicken is marinated in a yogurt seasoned with garam masala, garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, and other spices depending on the recipe. In hot versions of the dish, cayenne, red chili powder, or other spices give the typical red color; in milder versions, food coloring is used. Turmeric produces a yellow-orange color. It is traditionally cooked at high temperatures in an earthen oven (i.e. tandoor), but can also be prepared on a traditional grill.
Chicken tikka (Urdu: مرغ تکہ ; Hindi: मुर्ग़ टिक्का; murgh tikka) is a dish from Mughlai cuisine made by grilling small pieces of chicken which have been marinated in spices and yogurt. It is traditionally cooked on skewers in a tandoor and is usually boneless. It is normally served and eaten with a green coriander chutney, or used in preparing the curry chicken tikka masala.
Kalmi kabab, a popular snack in South Asian cuisine, is made by marinating chicken drumsticks and placing them in a tandoor. Various freshly ground spices are added to the yogurt to form a marinade for the chicken. Traditionally, the marinaded chicken is given 12 hours at the least. When prepared, the drumsticks are usually garnished with mint leaves and served with laccha (finely sliced half moons, with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt) onions.
Samosa (Samsa) is a stuffed snack consisting of a fried or baked triangular, semilunar or tetrahedral pastry shell with a savory filling, which may include spiced potatoes, onions, peas, coriander, and lentils, or ground lamb or chicken. The size and shape of a samosa, as well as the consistency of the pastry used, can vary considerably. In some regions of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) samosas are typically baked in a tandoor, while they are usually fried elsewhere.