Indian Cooking Tips: The Right Way To Use Clay Pots Or Matka For Cooking
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Long before aluminum and stainless-steel pots and pans began dominating our kitchen, Indians were content doing most of their cooking in earthenware. Large clay pots, often made in the same village would be used for a variety of purposes. From collecting water, to religious rituals, the versatile pots also made for an effective cooking vessel. They would be prepped up, and then set on ‘chulha’, a make-shift stove fuelled by coal. While to the urban lot, it may sound like a scene from a vintage movie, but to date, earthenware is a preferred choice for many, in many remote corners of the city. You’d be surprised to know that many seasoned chefs of premium five-star properties would also call for these ‘matkas’ to cook certain dishes. The first time I had Champaran meat in a popular fine-dining restaurant in Delhi, the chef proudly told me that it was cooked in earthenware, which was essential for the smokiness and infusion of flavours. Biryani, is another popular dish that is often cooked in these pots, even in big restaurants. But how does one use these clay pots, wouldn’t it damage when exposed to such high heat?  Well, that’s true, if you do not ‘prep’ your clay pots, they are sure to fragment in pieces. But if they are seasoned well, these pots could yield magic. Homechef and Slurrp Community member Chirag takes us through the process of preparing earthenware for cooking.  

Watch this video to learn how to season the market-bought clay pot for cooking.  

  1. Take a clean cloth and wipe out the pot from both sides to rid it of dirt and impurities.  
  2. Dip the pot in water for 24 hours, you will see bubbles are formed on the surface, this simply means that the empty pores in the pot are filling up.
  3. Take out the pot and pat dry the excess water
  4. Next, rub it with oil generously on both sides.
  5. Let the pot dry in sun, you will see the pot has absorbed the oil completely
  6. Once this is done, heat the pot on low flame for about 10 minutes.  
  7. Let the pot dry, you will see that the bottom of the pot has also turned slightly black, do not worry, your pot is now firm enough to use.  
  8. Switch off the heat, let the pot cool down and now your pot is ready for rustic-style curry and rice dishes.

Here’s a recipe for Matka veg biryani that you can try making soon. This biryani made with goodness of fresh, crunchy veggies is a crowd-favorite. You can pair it with raita or salan.  Let us know how you liked it and do not forget to share photos and videos