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Robert Musa 04-20-2005 09:22 AM

tandoor thermal mass
1 Attachment(s)
i relaize that this is a shot in the dark, but perhaps james or another mortar expert has an opinion about adding thermal mass to my tandoor. here's my thinking:

the thermal mass of the clay pot seems a bit too small, so i thought i would wrap the pot with wire mesh and then mix up equal parts fireclay and sand and then add 1/6th part cement (a 6-6-1) ratio and then slather about an inch of that over the pot.

i want the mass of the additional clay but am unconcerned about structural strength except to the extent this weak mortar would adhere to the pot to the extent needed to keep any cracked pieces of pot from falling into the chamber. with so much clay in the mortar the thermal expansion and contraction should be similar to the terra cotta pot (i hope).

i figure as long as the pot doesn't fall inwards i can always repair any cracks. (however, the perlite will be poured loose and i will hing the top counter just in case i ever need to replace the pot with a new one).

james 04-22-2005 05:49 AM

More on how Tandoori ovens work

Fun project -- and I know nothing about Tandoori ovens. :-) What are the principles, cooking techniques, firing, etc? Perhaps we should find an Indian food and oven expert to join (easier said than done).

If you could post more details, perhaps we could give a little more help.

Should you put aluminum foil between the clay pot and the extra mortar? The two masses will probably move differently under heat, and a slip plane would help minimize cracking.


Alf 04-24-2005 04:45 AM


Here is an extract from some of my oven building notes:

The Tandoori we see today in our high street takeaways probably evolved from the tabum found in many ancient archaeological sites in Israel and Egypt. They are usually found within the house and are shaped like a large bell or barrel and are made from clay or other available materials from the area. A fire is kept burning in the bottom of the oven (with combustible air entering via a small hole in the bottom); the dough is then slapped onto the inner surface of the oven where it will bake very fast and produce a flavoured flat bread that is mostly crust.

Generally the oven is made from clay rope and ends up being a couple of inches thick. Basically they work like a pizza oven, in that they have very little mass. The bread is cooked very fast (nearly burnt) on the side of the hot oven

I have a couple of photos I can post, how do we post photos here James?


james 04-24-2005 05:15 AM

Hi Alf,

I'm watching a Southhampton soccer match on TV, and the weather looks pretty good. :-)

Undernearth the text screen on the "reply" there is an "attachments" button that let's you post photos. Sounds interesting.


Alf 04-24-2005 08:20 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Hope I have managed to upload the photos


ColonelCorn76 04-29-2005 06:26 PM

Actually thermal mass is anathema to Tandoors. Tandoors cook very hot & fast like cooking a crepe. You want a thinner wall than you do with a brick oven. That way the heat wicks up the side faster & cooks the bread or sliced meats very quickly. You control the cooking time by where you place the flatbread on the sidewalls -- lower for thinner & faster, higher for thicker & slower cooking.


Robert Musa 05-02-2005 11:04 AM

1 Attachment(s)
hi jim,

well, this weekend we had the first meal out of the tandoor oven. lamb and chicken skewers. we definitely never got this taste out of the barbeque. pictures are on my web site.

i had a little problem with heat management. the oven was up to 600 F and i had a fair amout of flareups. i think i'm going to have to practice blocking the air intake to manage the heat and try to get a better seal with the lid. there's really no room to move the charcoal from underneath the food.

janprimus 09-13-2005 02:12 PM

tandoori chicken
Robert, can you give us the recipe for your chicken marinade. Also, there are a number of photos on your website I cannot bring up. Any help?

Robert Musa 09-13-2005 02:51 PM


Originally Posted by janprimus
Robert, can you give us the recipe for your chicken marinade. Also, there are a number of photos on your website I cannot bring up. Any help?

i was moving stuff over to the new site this morning. maybe you just hit it at the wrong time. which page was missing the pictures?

janprimus 09-13-2005 02:55 PM

It is the site and when I click on a pic on the GAF disk, it gets smaller and I cant ever see any pics. Hmm, I wonder if it will do better with IE. Nope it behaves the same. No bigger pictures.


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