According to Ayurveda, a human body is composed of earth, water, fire, air and vacuum. A harmonious balance of these elements maintains good health and this depends directly on the nutritive value of the food we take. When we eat from natural elements mined from the earth, we strike this balance better. The beauty of microcosms of cultures of India extends to its traditional cookware in which the food retains optimal nutrition and flavor. Following is the list that represents the glorious traditions of Indian cookware.
COPPER AND BRASS VESSELS
Vessels made of Copper and brass are lined with tin, an ancient purifying metal. This layer of tin is naturally non-stick and it protects the food, but does nothing to impair the transmission of the properties of brass and copper, into the food. The alloys of brass, bronze and bell metal is believed to balance all three doshas, the vata, pitta and kapha, which together control the metabolism of the human body.
KALCHATTI, OR SOAPSTONE STONE-POT
The kalchatti, or Soapstone stone-pots are hand-chiseled pots that were traditionally used on open wood fire to cook food. It retains high temperatures for several hours, even after it is removed from the heat. Thus, it nullifies nutrition loss from the constant reheating of food. It resists reactions with acidic foods. It also enriches food with calcium and magnesium. It protects taste and natural aromas.
MORTAR AND PESTLE
Each region of India has its own version of stone-mortar and pestle that is used to grind everyday herbs, spices, medicines, masalas and chutneys. Even ginger, garlic and chilies are pounded in it to release their rich flavor. No chutney tastes quite like herbs coarsely hand-pounded with a mortar and pestle. Stone as an element is non-reactive with the food, and maintains the virgin flavors and nutrition of food.
Iron wok gives a good surface to cook food, and also adds much-needed iron nutrients to it. India has a long tradition of cooking with iron on open flame of wood or cow-dung cakes. Iron takes a couple of minutes to get heated up and helps cut down oil used in cooking. A thin layer of oil coated in the vessel is what is required for even cooking of the food.
Terracotta is baked earth that becomes porous when fired. These pores have cooling and healing effects. A terracotta pot neutralizes the acidic nature of water stored in it .The metabolism, digestion and hormonal balance improve when this water is consumed. Terracotta vessels contain all the possible vitamins and other bio-minerals of the clay and thus enhances the nutrition and aroma of the food cooked in it. The alkaline nature of the clay neutralizes the PH balance of food and acts as a natural detox.
Though modern utensils help cook food easier and faster, the age-old utensils will invariably remain a sure way to cook food healthier. Amma’s South Indian Restaurant believes in healthy cooking. Dine at Amma’s South Indian Restaurant and stay healthy!