While we have lost the old-world charm of handis amid an array of modern utensils, and quick meals, we are slowly finding our way back to our roots
Have you noticed how Indian cooking is going back to its roots, and many restaurants are bringing back the old way of cooking in clay pots? After all, there’s no denying that there is something about food cooked in a handi that makes us swoon. The rustic flavours that emanate from a dish cooked in an earthen pot are rich, robust, and absolutely irresistible.
Besides, one just cannot ignore the history of cooking food in clay pots. Long before modern day equipment and utensils arrived, we had these handis, placed over chulhas that may take long to cook, but lent a strong aroma and a blast of unique flavours to all our meals. And while we have lost the old-world charm of handis amid an array of modern utensils, and quick meals, we are slowly finding our way back to our roots. And while handi food may not be a part of our regular meals, the tradition has definitely come back.
If you are someone looking to cook in a handi or clay pot, we’ve got some tips for you to keep handy.
1. Submerge the pot in water
Before cooking, the clay pot must be fully submerged in water for at least 15 minutes. The unglazed pot collects the water while soaking in its pores, this helps the clay in the pot to softly release steam when it heats up, which eventually cooks the meal. While cooking, this steam prevents foods from drying out, and also preserves minerals and vitamins. The natural flavours also stay in the pot, which is the secret to tasty meals.
2. Don't put the pot on high flame
Clay pots are a delicate affair, therefore high heat can result in cracking the pot. Therefore, avoid extreme temperature changes. Never heat a cold clay pot over high heat, and also never heat an empty clay pot. Start heating the pot gradually after filling it with food so that the contents cook at the same time as the pot.
3. Use wooden spoons
Metal spoons or spatulas can cause cracks in the pot, instead use wooden spoons to stir. Avoid tapping spoons on the sides or dragging pots across burners to prevent breakage.
4. Place the pot on a towel
If you put a hot pot on a cold surface of your kitchen top, the clay could break. To avoid this, use a towel or wooden board.
5. Carefully clean the pot
Cleaning the pot is a tricky affair and one needs to be super careful. After removing the clay pot from the oven, let it cool. Then, soak it in cold water for a while to help remove any food stick on its inside. Only use warm water without detergent and a soft abrasive pad to remove food remains.