The use of tandoors is a vital part of the South Asian kitchen, a tradition that has been passed down for centuries. A tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven, commonly used in Indian and Pakistani restaurants. Specifically originating in Punjab, the tandoor spread throughout South Asia after the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. Traditionally the tandoor would be made of clay and set in the earth, and would be a permanent structure shared by villagers. To meet the needs of progressing times, however, the tandoor evolved from clay to stainless steel and became portable. Despite these changes, it maintained its cylindrical shape, function and necessity. Even though South Asian immigrants left their homeland, they could not leave their cooking traditions behind. The most delicious Roghni naans and enticing Lahori churgha can only be made in these tandoors that are commonly used in South Asian restaurants like Sweetness on Coney Island Avenue. When I asked the owner of Sweetness about the Lahori churgha, I mistakenly said that it was a deep fried dish. The owner quickly corrected me and told me that the Lahori churgha was made in a tandoor. To me the use of the tandoor in Sweetness represents the presence of authenticity in their South Asian cuisine.
– Noor Sheikh