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A tandoor is a bell-shaped oven made of clay with a circular opening at the top and an opening at one side of the base.

In India and Pakistan, tandoori cooking was traditionally associated with Punjab, as Punjabis embraced the tandoor on a regional level, and became popular in the mainstream after the 1947 partition when Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus resettled in places such as Delhi. In rural Punjab, it was common to have communal tandoors. Some villages still have a communal tandoor, which was a common sight prior to 1947.

Traditional tandoori ovens generate heat by a charcoal or wood fire, burning at the bottom of the tandoor itself. Skewered foods – typically kebabs of chicken, lamb, paneer (cheese), are vegetables – are vertically placed in the tandoor, then roasted with live fire and ambient heat of up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking breads in a tandoor is extremely common with dough applied directly to a side of the interior clay/ceramic pot.