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Old 01-04-2010, 04:48 AM
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Default Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build

Hi All,

I'm going to try and build a small version of a Tandoori oven inside a 50 liter (13 US gall) beer keg. The family are crazy about naan bread (which costs me a fortune) and I have been experimenting with a charcoal BBQ to cook home made naan. This works OK, but I can only cook the naan on one side and flipping it over to finish cooking destroys the naan effect.

Anyway, similar to what Voon has posted here but only smaller. Now I might find out this is too small to be useful, but I have to try.

I have the keg (stainless steel), the flower pot (37cm OD Italian Terra Cotta) and a friend with a plasma cutter and both TIG & MIG welding facilities (always needed an excuse to try out that plasma cutter). My thoughts are as follows.

Cooking Physics : Essentially I want to be able to cook my naan as they do in real tandoor ovens. So slapping the naan on the side of oven, using heat from the terracotta pot to cook the bottom and using the trapped heat inside to cook the top. Probably have to make the naan a little smaller due to the smaller opening of the pot (22cm).

Heat Source : Located in Australia, I have access to an interesting form of charcoal sold by Red Heads (a Swedish match company). It is wood charcoal, but unlike ordinary charcoal appears to have been ground to a fine dust, mixed with a neutral binder and then re-compressed under pressure and pushed into a hexagon shape, with a hole in the middle for better air circulation. It burns very well, quite long, is relatively clean, and generates a lot of heat.

Construction : A 50liter keg is not that big, but I plan to cut the top and bottom lids off the keg (but keeping the lips), essentially increasing it by another 10liters.

On the bottom, I want to convert the rounded bottom to a flat one, so I want to cut out the bottom using the plasma cutter, but leave the bottom lip. Using flat SS sheet stock (and probably some bracing) weld a new bottom on. With the top, do a similar thing, cut the top off but leave the lip on.

The 37cm terra cotta pot fits perfectly inside the keg (I think), so I was thinking about 2inch of vermiculite on the bottom, 25mm high refractory bricks on the base, 1 layer of bricks around the edge (for the pot to sit on). A square hole and matching gap would be provided for an air vent in the bricks. This should avoid the need to cut any tricky shapes in the pot. The pot when then sit on top of the bricks, and be surrounded by vermiculite as insulation.

Concerns : Biggest concern is that the terra cotta pot is not that thick (maybe 15mm at most) and it may not have enough thermal mass. I guess this could be done with some wire mesh around the outside of the pot and adding additional layers of refractory cement to increase the thermal mass.

So that's my plan - no idea if it is going to work but would be interested in others comments. My next best idea is to take the keg down to the scrap merchants and use the money to but a plant to put in the terra cot pot.

Cheers
Luke
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  #2  
Old 01-04-2010, 07:13 PM
nissanneill's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
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Thumbs up Re: Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build

Hi Luke and welcome aboard.
Great to see another Aussie contributing to the forum.

Quote:
iggest concern is that the terra cotta pot is not that thick (maybe 15mm at most) and it may not have enough thermal mass. I guess this could be done with some wire mesh around the outside of the pot and adding additional layers of refractory cement to increase the thermal mass.

Anothe ralternative is to source some other pots that will fit snugly either inside or outside of your required pot. Good garden nurseries usuall have a selection of pots and from what I've seen, they are in sizes that are slightly bigger or smaller than their sisters, With a little refractory cement or by mixing your 'poor mans mortar' (1pt portland cement, 1 pt hydrated lime, 1pt fireclay and 3 pts sand) between the pots will provide that extra thermal mass and give you nice clean smooth surfaces in your oven. If being sandwiched between the terra cotta pots, you could leave out the Portland if you preferred.
Just a though.
Put some pics up when you get started.


Neill
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2010, 12:51 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Melbourne Australia
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Default Re: Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by eLuke455 View Post
So that's my plan - no idea if it is going to work but would be interested in others comments. My next best idea is to take the keg down to the scrap merchants and use the money to but a plant to put in the terra cot pot.
Gold, pure gold! LoL
Paul
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:20 PM
david s's Avatar
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Location: Townsville, Nth Queensland,Australia
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Default Re: Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build

Luke,
In the meantime try this.
Make up your dough, I use a standard pizza dough recipe, flatten a piece into a flat oval shape and place it into your sandwich press maker. You need one that has a flat top and bottom. So easy and the bread puffs up nicely, you won't be disappointed.
Dave
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  #5  
Old 01-13-2010, 05:20 AM
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Location: Melbourne
Posts: 18
Default Re: Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build

Hi Neill and others.

Thanks for the responses. Yes, a 2nd pot for additional thermal mass is a great idea. I'm going to try it with just the single pot first, but I can retrofit another pot later if required.

Update: A meeting was held between the designer (me) and the fabricator (my mate) and the fabricator complained that the designer (me) was not taking into considering how the fabricator (my mate) was going to build it, but instead focusing on how it would function. To defuse the tension in the meeting, beer was opened and consumed, and then the fabricator came up with a great idea.

Instead of cutting off both bottom, and top, which would require a lot of plasma cutting, he suggested we just cut the keg on one of the ribs (about 3/4 of the way up) and place on top of this, another section of keg, which would only require a little plasma cutting. At this point in time, the fabricator rolled out another keg. So two kegs are now available for complete destruction to create this project. Further beer was consumed and the fabricator could not grasp the finer points of my design, as a result I came up with a 3D model.


Note (Editorial Update) - The above concept was ultimately abandoned when the project was dimensioned up in 3D and it was clear that everything would fit in one keg.

Cheers
Luke

Last edited by eLuke455; 01-31-2010 at 03:41 AM. Reason: Update
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  #6  
Old 01-13-2010, 05:22 AM
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Default Re: Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build

forgot to attach the pics
Attached Thumbnails
Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-keg-3d-view-1.jpg   Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-keg-3d-view-2.jpg   Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-pot.jpg   Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-keg.jpg   Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-side-view-keg-tandoor.jpg  

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Old 01-31-2010, 03:30 AM
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Default Re: Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build

Update:

Well finally some progress to report. A few hours at my mates place with him doing most of the work, and me doing most of the directing (my excuse was I had to take photos).

Keg lid was cut with the plasma cutter (awesome tool - I have some video of this which I will put up later). The Terra Cot pot required the top lip and the bottom to be cut off, which was done with a diamond cutter.

The cut off bottom (which I will turn into the Tandoor lid) formed a template for the hole to be cut in the lid itself! Very useful (again, a plasma cutting job)

We also cut a few fire bricks but they destroyed what was left of the diamond blade in about 4 cuts (the blade was already shagged). I did a test assembly to see how it was going to go together. See images below.
Attached Thumbnails
Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-keg-rs.jpg   Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-keg-without-lid-rs.jpg   Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-lid-rs.jpg   Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-cutting-base-rs.jpg   Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-base-removed-rs.jpg  

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Old 01-31-2010, 03:36 AM
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Default Re: Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build

With the diamond blade destroyed we came to a halt. I did a test fit to see how it was going to go together. You can see the vermiculite on the bottom, with a few fire bricks in for dimensioning.

The fit of the cut Terra Cotta pot is perfect.

So the next job is to cut the ventilation door (I purchase a small stainless hinge for this), mount some caster wheels on the base, and fix the lid back on.
I'll take some more photos and let you know how we go. Can't wait to fire it up.

Cheers
Luke
Attached Thumbnails
Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-lif-ready-cutting.-rsjpg.jpg   Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-lid-cutout-rs.jpg   Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build-test-fit-rs.jpg  
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  #9  
Old 01-31-2010, 05:18 AM
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Default Re: Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build

Great project this and you are doing a fine job on the build!!

After seeing your post, I did some research on making naan bread and found that most recipes suggest that you can make naan in a standard electric (or even woodfired) oven. Will the oven you are making cook it any differently to the electric oven method?

Interested to see the results from the first firing...

Rossco
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  #10  
Old 01-31-2010, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: Small Portable Tandoori Oven Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by heliman View Post
Great project this and you are doing a fine job on the build!!

After seeing your post, I did some research on making naan bread and found that most recipes suggest that you can make naan in a standard electric (or even woodfired) oven. Will the oven you are making cook it any differently to the electric oven method?

Interested to see the results from the first firing...

Rossco
Hi Rossco,

I have made Naan bread using all sorts of ovens (never in a wood fired pizza oven). The key to making good Naan is intense heat from both the bottom and the top. I have watched Tandoor chefs cook Naan and it should take no longer than 60-90 seconds.

I have tried in all sorts of electric ovens, but the problem is the heat. I have even used a pizza stone. You can still cook Naan OK, but the top is not crispy. It also lacks texture and mouth feel, probably being due to the longer cooking time and loss of moisture.

The best alternative method I have found is to crank up a small Hibatchi style charcoal cooker. I have one of those small rectangular Webers. I use this all the time for Charcoal BBQs at Picnic Spots, on the beach, etc. What I do is to borrow a cast iron grill plate from my normal gas BBQ, crank up the heat on the charcoal using a fan, then place the naan on the grill, and quickly put the lid of the Hibatchi on. The radiant heat from the Charcoal cooks crisps the Naan up nicely, but the top often requires flipping and cooking, and this destroys the puffed up Naan effect.

All this being said - I can't see any reason why you not cook excellent Naan in a wood fired oven. I don't have one or access to one, so it's hard to say. With the Naan on the flat over floor, you may need to rotate it to get the top done evenly.

Cheers
Luke
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