A typically bulbous cylinder-shaped oven traditionally made of fired clay or lined with clay, and which holds a fire at its bottom while flat breads are baked on the interior walls and kebabs are hung and grilled in the center or across the top opening. Similar such ovens developed and are used from Turkey and Iran to India and Bangladesh. Tandoors can produce temperatures to 480 degrees Celsius/900 degrees Fahrenheit and cook by means of dry, direct, convection, and dry heat. Traditionally fueled by wood and charcoal, the tandoor is now made in gas and electrically heated versions as well.
As Hindus and Sikhs are vegetarian, it is believed that the tandoor and the famous grilled meat recipes which require the tandoor’s cooking conditions came with the Mughal Empire, when Islam was brought to India in the 12th century. Chicken tikka, tandoori, and murg mussalam are examples of tandoor cooked meat dishes. The diaspora of the Roma people from northwestern India is possibly responsible for the bringing the tandoor to Pakistan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey and more to many other cultures in Central and Middle Eastern Asia.