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Indian traditional Ovens

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Chef Suresh works as a Chef Demonstrator at Culinary Academy of India


Ovens have been part of traditional cooking from a very long time and ancient scriptures are the documented evidences be it drawings on caves or writings on age-old manuscripts.When it comes to Indian oven usage, “Tandoor”is the most commonly known, but deep down traditional treasures can be found from various regions across the country, where most of them are still unknown but very popular locally.Fuel used to heat up the oven is different and varied as per the native availability or abundant resources like wood, charcoal, cow dung etc,.

Indian culture and cuisine is an amalgamation of various traditions and customs that have moved and settled down over the period of time either through trade, colonists, or even refugee communities. These foreign traditions slowly became part of the Local Indian culture regional cuisine where the ovens also fall in place parallely.


One such oven is the traditional convection ovens found in Goa and Pondicherry, two of the union territories of India. These convection oven have been setup by the Portuguese who then traveled for trade. These ovens appearance seems to be like “A Wall In The Hole” – They are usually wood or coal fire ovens and some traditional bakers of that region still use them. The Goan bread delicacies like pao, unddo, katro pao, kankonn and the polli, also pronounced as poyi/poiee are traditionally made using these ovens.

However the modern day oven are a take on the same but the traditional Portuguese convection ovens are wood fire oven where the opening can be closed with ease, unlike regular wood fire oven. These are highly sophisticated with various chambers, but look similar to a regular wood fire oven.

Tandoor is the most popular oven varieties across the globe which is a Persian origin is a big closed and high walled oven with source of heat is usually from the bottom where coal or wood is generally used. Temperatures in Tandoor can reach upto 400° C and the fuel heat up within the oven, so whatever food is cooked, it's natural juices drip on the fire creating nice Smokeyflavour which is the makes tandoor cooked food moresatisfactory and desirable.Traditional tandoor oven are made out of clay and are not portable, with time steel drum designs are often used. There are different variants of them used around the world.


Bhatti – these are traditional Indian oven, due to the technology these are now rarely seen. These are small metal bodies, the functioning of fire is through source of bricks which is the base and wood is main part which helps in generating heat. These also have a small chimney for smoke to go out. The temperature of the heat can be controlled by the adding of wooden logs. These bhatti are used for making breads like pav, cookies etc.


Kandur:-Kashmir has14 dairy bread varieties and it being a cold region almost every house had a fireplace or a 'Kandur' - the Kashmiri oven.This is similar to that of a tandoor where it had enclosed walls with opening facing the sky.Fuel used is also either wood or coal till date.These oven are wide and placed at a regular ground level, the difference comes from the way space around it is built. It has two levels of height attached to the tandoor where the on the second height the Baker sits and bakes bread with utmost comfort and ease and the tandoor being till the first height, a step below to the second.Interesting fact is that all of it is cornered to a wall where the Baker can rest his back and yet built in single piece.


Borma these are traditional Indian oven used in southern part of India significantly Kerala state. This he borma resembles a cave paved with bricks on all sides. It is over a meter in width and length, with an arched ceiling. Underneath the borma is a layer of rock salt. The salt layer maintains the temperature inside a borma. The coconut shells are all the time inside the borma and the heat is then absorbed by the salt layer and brick walls. The embers are moved to the sides and the moulds with cake dough are placed in the centre of the borma, The rocks salt can be used for over 5 years, with its heat.

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White ovens are heated by heat transfer from a separate combustion chamber and flue-gas path. Thus, the oven remains "white", or clean from ash.

While the traditional wood-fired oven is a masonry oven, such ovens can also be built out of adobe, cob or cast iron. These ovens are used by street vendors to bake on wheels. These ovens generate heat by burning coal. These are mainly used to make cookies in a small quantity.


All these traditional ovens give an earthen feel and Smokey flavor to the bread and keep their nutritional values intact. With the modern technology influence on cuisines around the world the breads baked or cooked using the traditional ovens are still the favorites of Indian food lovers.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 BrandCai


RAVI REDDY on September 04, 2020:


Shiladitya Dutta on August 30, 2020:

Worth Reading.

Priya on August 28, 2020:

Very Informative, Got to know about the traditional ovens, Many of us don't even know these ovens exists as we have mostly seen the only tandoor. Thank you for sharing

Akshay Kulkarni on August 27, 2020:

Nicely written giving details of various ovens. The aroma that comes out during baking especially from this traditional ovens is something to die for

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