Getting back to our roots

Getting back to our roots

Clay pot cooking

Earthenware was once an intrinsic part of an Indian household, used for cooking purposes and even for storing water.

Known as kalash or surahi, it served very well during summers by keeping the water cool. But, today, thanks to modern technology invading our lives, the earthenware has given way to non-stick cookwares, pots and pans.

Unlike cooking utensils made from metals like aluminium, steel, brass, copper and even iron kadhais, clay cooking pots retain nutritious vitamins and minerals and do not leach harmful chemicals into the food as may happen with many metal cookwares. 

Chef Jiten Singh, corporate executive chef, Amour, The Patio Restaurant Cafe and Bar, said, “We cook in earthen pots for their porous nature, which helps in slow and delicate cooking. We use it to make lamb, because we don’t want it to get overcooked. It just has to be perfect to chew.

The thing that makes these pots beneficial is that the clay is alkaline. It will interact with acidity in the food, neutralising the pH balance. Something that is naturally very acidic, like a tomato sauce, will take on some natural sweetness when cooked in a clay pot.”

“While cooking in earthen pots we just have to be careful about the cooking temperature. Also, we have to be very careful while adding water to it. Sudden cold or hot water may crack the pot. Although it is a time consuming procedure, but the taste you’ll experience will be absolutely worth your patience,” added chef Singh.Aashita Relan, director Royal China, Nehru Place, said, “Generally dishes are cooked in utensils made of aluminium or iron. But the reason behind cooking in earthen pots is to get the real flavour of food. We have Shaolin Monks Veg pot, Stir Fried Chicken with shacha sauce in clay pot and Duck Noodle Soup.”

To wash the earthen pot or remove food items stuck to the earthenware, simply soak it in water without any detergent. The detergent might be absorbed by the earthenware and prove poisonous while being used the next time.

Nitin Kumar, manager of Smokeys BBQ and Grill, shared his favourite mocktail recipe, “We have Smokin Colada which is made by blending smoked pineapple chunks, 45 ml Bacardi, 15 ml Malibu, two tablespoon of fresh milk and one tablespoon of vanilla icecream. Then we put the mixture in a kullad glass and garnish it with a slice of pineapple.
 It is a very refreshing drink for summer.”