Building a Tandoor Oven for Cooking

by Alex James
Tandoor for Cooking

We didn’t really know what we were talking about when we told our editors that we could try making a tandoor cooker at home. So when we started looking up how to do it, reading all the complicated steps and watching detailed YouTube videos, we realized we might be a little overwhelmed.

But soon, hope took the place of our fears. Because we used this as a chance to think of something new. How can we tweak the ideas we already have about making our own tandoor ovens? How can we get this oven to take up less space? How can we do this without having to spend a lot of money? As we came up with new ideas, we realized that a lot of people may have problems that are similar to ours. Everyone wants to make tandoori at home, but how? We did some online research and found this example and blog post to be very helpful. These two home tandoori ovens were big and hard to use, but they seemed to make great food. We wanted to learn from what they did and change their design to fit our needs (easy to assemble, compact, cheap).

We went straight to the clay pots at the hardware store. We decided on a 10-inch (diameter) pot after talking about what size would work best. This seemed like a good size and had enough surface area for the naan to stick to the walls. We also got a smaller, shallower pot to put the coals in.

We didn’t already have a plan when we went to the hardware store. Instead, we had a vague idea and got ideas from what we saw as we walked through the store. At first, we were afraid to improvise too much, but looking back, we were able to be flexible and try new things because we had a pretty loose plan.

When we got back from the store, it was time to put the pieces together. The first thing we had to do was cut an inch off the bottom of a 10-inch pot. This was the hardest job. This is where the door to the tandoor oven will go.

At first, we used a normal hacksaw to cut. It made a notch over time, but since the saw was made for cutting wood, it took a long time and the blade got dull. We needed something else to do.

We spent about $13 on a saw made for cutting ceramics and tile, which really helped. Still, it took about two hours! (Note: We couldn’t use an electric angle grinder because we didn’t have the right blade for it. Use such a tool if you have one.

We did it almost all by ourselves, but when Rahil, Liina’s young cousin, wanted to help, we gave him the saw. And, of course, the dramatic moment when the last inch of the pot was finally cut off happened while he was holding the saw! We promise that we did most of the cutting work. Still, this is the time we’ve been waiting for:

And with that, the hardest part was over! After making the hole in the pot, all we had to do was put the parts together. If you learn one thing from this article, it should be that if we can cook in a tandoor, so can you. See what we mean by watching the video below. How much did it all cost? just around $50 (not including the charcoal, sand, and bricks we already had at home).

It was a good plan because we could see if it worked before putting it in stone (or rather in the sand…). But then something bad happened: our base pot got a big crack in it.

The whole pot didn’t break, which was lucky. And, besides the way it looked, it seemed to still work. We put sand around it to keep it warm and went on with our plan. The crack didn’t change anything.

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