Pronunciation: [tahn-DOOR; tahn-DOOR-ee]
Used throughout India (and found in Indian restaurants throughout the world), the traditional rounded-top tandoor oven is made of brick and clay. It's used to bake foods over direct heat produced from a smoky fire. The dough for the delicious Indian bread naan is slapped directly onto the oven's clay walls and left to bake until puffy and lightly browned. Meats cooked in the tall, rather cylindrical tandoor are usually skewered and thrust into the oven's heat, which is so intense (usually over 500 degrees F) that it cooks a chicken half in less than five minutes. Chicken and other meats cooked with this method are identifed as tandoori chicken, etc.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.