Who doesn’t love Biryani? Even if you are a vegetarian, you must have had Veg-Biryani. Out of all the places one can very much agree that the aroma an earthenware pots gives to the dish is unparalleled. A lot many restaurants are going back to basics, especially the ones offering Biryanis. We have come across couple of restaurants who even deliver the food in Clay Pots sealed with the help of flour.
Clay (Earthen) pots are not just part of Indian ancient history, but have been seen used globally in the past. Civilisation like Sumerian, Indus Valley, and Egyptian, all used clay pits to not only cook the food, to serve and eat from earthenware.
Even in present times, a lot many places in India (especially the rural areas) still uses Clay Pots to cook food. It is not only because of lack of money, but there are the numerous benefits of clay pot cooking. Additionally, there’s a reason why chefs use Clay Pots to cook Biryani, one reason is the smoky flavour it adds to the dish.
We are sure you must be inclined towards asking yourself some question as to why you should switch, or is it even safe to switch…. Do not fret, just continue reading ahead.
Top 5 Benefits of Cooking in Clay Pots
Cooking in unglazed Clay Pots is not only safe but healthy as well. Clay pots are bio-degradable, hence once you decide to get rid of one, you do not have to think about harming the environment like Teflon pans or metal pots. Additionally they are a bit pocket friendly that their counterparts. Here we have mentioned some other benefits of clay pot cooking
- Clay helps in restoring the Ph balance of your food as Clay is alkaline in nature and neutralises the acidity.
- Depending upon the materials used, Earthen Pots can be high in minerals like Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, and Sulfur which gets added to the food that your prepare in them.
- Boiling milk, or making curd in Clay pots gives it better taste and texture than metal vessels, as told by veteran Chef Sanjeev Kapoor.
- We cannot repeat it often, food cooked in Clay Pots are much more aromatic, and as they say, half the taste is in the smell.
- It is said, cooking in earthen pots is not good as they are heat resistant, it may be true, however copper and iron cookware are more heat resistant. Clay pots are porous, that keeps the moisture and heat retained inside, which makes sure food is more evenly cooked.
We recommend you to cook food in Earthen Clay Pots and see the difference for yourself. Trust us, if not us, trust Chef Sanjeev Kapoor who say one can cook Rice, Sabji, and even Dal Pulao in an Earthenware Clay Pot.
How To Use Clay Pots To Cook Food?
Earthenware are porous which lets the food cook slowly and more evenly. Is it because of its porous nature and slow cooking that the spices pierce through every grain and inch of your food. Food items cooked in a Clay Handi are packed with more flavours. Even tandoors are made of clay, and not metals because when the food is cooked slow, it gets marinated better.
While cooking food, you need to make sure of two things, firstly, not to increase the flame instantly, as it may cause a crack on the Earthen Clay Pot, start off with low heat, and then gradually increase the flame.
Secondly, do not use extra oil, as Clay Pots are heat resistant, food will retain moisture, so there is no need for that extra quantity of oil to lock in moisture.
During summers, one can store water in clay pots, as yet again owing to its heat resistant nature, the water remains cool. During winters, you can store food in these Earthenware to preserve the warmth of the food.
How to Clean Clay Pots?
Please note that one should never use soap or dishwasher liquids to clean the earthenware, as these clay pots and pans are porous, tiny bits of soap could get stuck in them, and upon using Earthenware for your next meal, your food may get affected.
To clean Earthenware, pour in hot water and gently scrub it with a brush. In some cases, you might be left with some stubborn bits that gets left behind, to get rid of them just thrown in some salt or baking soda and clean it with a brush or a sponge.
In the worst case scenario, if you are still left with stains, pour some hot water and add 2-3 tablespoon of baking soda to it and let it overnight, next morning the food remains will come off easily.
The unglazed Clay Pots and Pans will require seasoning from time to time, either you can get a new one or if you want to keep the existing one, you can soak it in clean water for 3-4 hours, and after drying the pot, rub it with garlic and then spread some olive oil all over the Earthenware.
Once the pot or the pan is oiled up, fill it with water, place it in the middle rack of the over (cold/non-pre heated) and crank up the temperature to 225 degrees for 2-3 hours. You can also heat up on a stove.