Healthy Bites: Bring out the Clay and Cast Iron Pots

Benefits of cooking in time tested cookware make a case for bringing them back in vogue.

Photo by Ranit Chakraborty/ Unsplash
Photo by Ranit Chakraborty/ Unsplash

Instagram is the current day validation of life. The number of birthday posts and stories you get almost equate votes. Suggesting a fashion swap or a food swap is easily sold if you can dress it on a vintage plate with some periwinkles hanging around the sides of the plate while food photography makes it look picture perfect.

The choice of cookware and crockery is also very “Insta worthy” versus the alternative today. Clay, cast Iron, and silver have pretty much made their way out of the kitchens because “how are you going to make them look good”, no filter works its charm on the kala dhapa on an iron cast vessel. 

However, It’s the lack of exactly that vessel which is making us feel sluggish every time we step out of bed every morning, lack of balance because you may feel weak and dizzy, more hair on the ground than on the scalp and pale looking skin — all due to low iron levels, which is easily and inexpensively available from cast iron vessels. Let’s take a look at what the different cookware materials mean.

Cast your lot with iron

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo/ Unsplash

The sweetest story of a tadka in my house has been that of dal. You take a smaller, blackish looking katori size vessel that has ghee giggling in it, rai crackling and curry leaves shrinking, darkening, enter spices and that entire concoction along with the cast iron vessel goes inside the dal, drops the flavour along with iron and comes out fully clean and it’s magic.

This is a process that makes you secretly better in your blood iron levels. The noise is just limited to the mustard splattering. 

The limitation is that you cannot cook every dish in iron vessels. Not too many dishes are left out though except for tomatoes and tamarind based foods. Another uptick for cast iron is that it is fuel efficient, that is the heat is uniform across the pan thus cooking food faster and also retaining the heat in it longer once off the stove. Most oil based foods are best cooked in cast iron utensils to avoid burning of the vegetables.

Cook in clay

Photo by Vincent M A Janssen/ Pexels

This is easily one of the cookware and water storage systems that has walked out of (or pushed out of?) millennial homes.

Clay is a reflection of the Earth — porous, mineral rich and healing. It can make a sour tomato gravy, sweet, it can move the pH of water to alkaline, it can make you feel cool in your tummy when you’re losing your body and mind to the summer heat, it’s natural, it charges you positively, it’s like a mother. 

Red clay and river mud were combined, processed in sunlight to help achieve the grounding and benefits that you need in the form of a pot that dispenses water or is used as a cookware that leaves abundant minerals in the food being cooked in it.

Cooking in clay has benefits that western science is researching widely — good gut bacteria. A small amount of microbes from clay or earth make their way into your body which enhances the diversity of gut bacteria, populates essential and good bacteria. This is exactly what enables your gut to do its work of Vit B12 production right inside your body factory, while you stay happy, without bloating and good bowel movement along with great immunity thanks to the good guys residing in your colon! 

So iron out the creases in your health and be cool like clay, bring them back!

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