People who love the smoky and earthy flavor of tandoori dishes often get curious to know how to make a traditional clay tandoor. While tandoors are more familiar equipment in the Arabian and Asian world for centuries, the popularity of clay ovens is also growing in the USA now. More people are buying Clay Ovens in the USA. On the other hand, many are also interested in making tandoors themselves. If you are also curious to know and build a traditional clay tandoor, this post will help you get a quick overview of the traditional tandoor-building process.
In case you start thinking that the process is too hectic and boring for you, you can always buy readymade clay ovens in the USA and even in Canada. These ovens are specifically designed to help you prepare tandoori and other dishes in a much safer and easier way than a traditional tandoor.
So, without any further delay, let’s check out the steps of building a traditional clay tandoor.
Note: Supplies mentioned here are all that you can easily arrange.
Construct the Pieces First
Arrange three clay pots in nesting sizes from your gardener, nearby garden supply stores, or you can order them online. To make the selection easier, choose pots with the following sizes: the first pot is 24 by 22 in, the second pot is 13 by 12 in, and the third pot is 12 by 10 in.
Remove the bottom of the medium pot using an angle grinder by putting a 1-inch wide piece of masking tape around the bottom. Keep the removed part for later use.
Then, drill evenly spaced four holes around the circumference of the large pot bottom using a drill bit leaving about 1 inch of space between the holes and the outer edge. After that, do the same with your small pot leaving ½ inch of space between the holes and outer edge.
Assemble the pots to make an oven
Smash a brick with a sledge hammer into 3 or 4 large pieces, or get some small rocks and put them underneath the large pot making sure that not any of the holes are covered by brick pieces. Do it where you will be using your homemade clay tandoor.
Now, get some more pieces and do the same but this time, you will be putting pieces inside the large pot making sure that they don’t cover its holes and the holes of the small pot which will be placed on top of those pieces. It will help with airflow when the tandoor will be fired to start baking. Ensure that both pots (larger and smaller) are stable.
Turn the medium pot upside down and put it over the small pot in a way that the medium pot hugs the sides of the pot. The medium pot should also lie stable.
Now it’s time to fill the space between the large pot inside wall and the small pot outside wall with some lava rocks or vermiculite up to the brim. Don’t make lava rocks or vermiculite compact. There should be a little airflow or excess space between the rocks.
Use Your Tandoor
The first thing you need to do while using your clay tandoor is to place a handful of charcoal at the bottom of the small pot through the opening in the medium pot. Light it using matchsticks or a lighter and wait until it catches fire and burns for about 5 minutes to reach a higher temperature.
When your tandoor is hot, put small pieces of meat or vegetables on metal skewers. Leave about 1 inch at the end of skewers empty. Place your skewers into your medium pot with the empty portion sticking into the coal.
Then, place the bottom of the medium pot (that you removed in the first step) back onto itself to trap the heat and smoke inside. Remove it when your food is cooked and enjoy your tandoori skewers. If you don’t have any idea, you can remove the medium pot’s bottom part to see if the food item on the skewer is evenly cooked or not. Use precautions so that you don’t get burned while taking out skewers.
Let the charcoal burn, until it is ash. Keep your pet and children away from the tandoor for safety purposes.
If you are not getting desired results or want something that allows you more freedom and safety to cook a variety of dishes, you can simply order a Clay Oven