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A tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven used in Azerbaijan, the Balkans, the Middle East, Pakistan, India and Turkey, in which food is cooked over a hot charcoal fire. Temperatures in a tandoor can approach 480°C (900°F). It is common for tandoor ovens to remain lit for long periods of time to maintain the high cooking temperature.
Tandoor is used for cooking certain types of Iranian, Indian and Pakistani food, such as tandoori chicken and bread varieties like tandoori roti and naan. (The word tandoori is the adjective form.) It is also known as a tonir in Armenian, and is a widely used method of cooking barbecue and lavash bread.
The tandoor is also known by another name of 'Bhatti' in India. The Bhatti tribe of the Thar Desert of Northwestern India and Eastern Pakistan developed the Bhatti in their desert abode, and thus it gained the name of Bhatti. It is thought to have travelled to Central Asia and the Middle East along with the Roma, who originated amongst the Thar Desert tribes.
The tandoor is currently a very important fixture in many Indian restaurants around the world. Food cooked in a tandoor retains all the juices and taste inside and hence is considered very healthful. Many people have installed a tandoor in their homes for making bread and kebabs. Some modern day tandoors use electricity or gas instead of charcoal.