80-year-old woman bakes tandoori bread in Makhmour refugee camp

80-year-old Gulê Çelê, who left her village due to the oppression of the Turkish state in the 90s, learned how to bake tandoori bread in her village and now she bakes tandoori bread in the Makhmour refugee camp.


Makhmour-  The tandoors made to bake bread are still famous among Kurdish women. Tandoori bread is mostly baked by women and they teach this tradition to the next generation.

Kurdish women preserve this tradition wherever they go. The women living in the Martyr Rustem Cudi Camp, also known as Makhmour Refugee Camp, also preserve this tradition. 80-year-old Gulê Çelê is one of these women.

 ‘Everyone used to bake tandoori bread in our village’

Gulê Çelê teaches other women in the camp how to bake tandoori bread. “Everyone used to bake tandoori bread in front of their houses in our village. When a woman baked tandoori bread, all the women in the village helped her. After we were forced to leave our village and settled in the camp, we had nothing. I made two tandoori ovens in the camp with the help of my sister. Since then, we have baked tandoori bread,” she told NuJINHA.

 ‘We collected mud to make the tandoori ovens’

In the village of Gulê Çelê, some used to make tandoori ovens underground while some made them on the ground. “The bread baked in the tandoori oven made underground is more delicious,” said Gulê Çelê, who began to bake tandoori bread to earn a living.

‘After settling in the Makhmour refugee camp, we first made tandoori ovens. We made a tandoori oven for ourselves and the second one for our neighbors. Then, we began to sell tandoori bread to earn a living for our family. We collected mud to make the tandoori ovens.”

‘We prefer to make tandoori ovens in spring and autumn’

Gulê Çelê uses mud, water and clay to make tandoori ovens. “We mix them and then add goat hair in the mixture. We make tandoori oven by shaping the mixture. We prefer to make tandoori ovens in spring and autumn.”