Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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My Obsession with Traditional Cookware

Eating healthy is important and Cooking food the right way is equally important. There are umpteen ways to cook food and a variety of cookware is being used to cook food all over the world.

These days I am fascinated and have been craving for all Traditional and Natural products like Earthen Cookware and Handloom Sarees.

A decade ago I came across articles that advised against using Aluminium cookware . Aluminium reacts with acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus foods and tamarindwhich makes the food toxic. I began replacing the ones I had with Stainless steel ones. I got a Stainless steel pressure cooker, a Kadai and other Stainless steel cooking pots for curries.

I recently came across this informative article which doubled my obsession for traditional cookware.

http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/artisinal-earthenware/article19133289.ece?utm_content=buffer3e782&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Cookware  made from terracotta, soapstone and cast iron are on my mind these days.

Have been exploring these varieties on the Internet, the pros and cons of each one of them, the recipes that are best cooked with each type of vessel , the sources for procuring these, cleaning/handling and maintenance of these pieces and finally the price of these beautiful pieces.

Got some good reviews from my sis too who has got hold of a terracotta utensil and has been raving about how yummy her dals turn out each time. Micro nutrients from the clay make the dish tasty and nutritious.

I have some good memories of my Grandma cooking delicious food in earthenware. Grandma is no more. Hope to interview some of the other women in Grandma’s village , who continue to cook using earthenware , during my next visit :).

I had stopped using Non-stick ware and was looking for other types of cookware. A year ago I tossed out my non stick pan which I used for making Dosas and bought a cast iron tava (pan) . I also bought a small appam pan which I now use to prepare tadka. Tossed out the Aluminium one I had that I used for preparing Tadka. Bought these online from peacockcolours.com.

Love these two babies . Especially because of the non stick kind of coating. They are heavier compared to other materials. Got to be careful so as not to drop them. They might break and break your floor too :).

I have just ordered a cast iron skillet and a cast iron Kadai online. Looking forward to their arrival 🙂 Ordered them from Thevillagefair.

Some six years ago I began replacing my Stainless steel utensils too as I read that Lead and chromium from stainless steel leach into the food. I did some research and liked ceramic-ware and bought two curry pots. Quite easy to clean but the thin layer of ceramic cannot withstand a steel spoon and hard scrubbing. Ceramic-ware also has traces of Lead and cadmium .

My recent obsession with Earthenware took me a Farmer’s market at Saptaparni , Banjara hills , last Sunday. Bought black earthenware . Bought this after reading and watching YouTube videos on how to Season and cook in these type of utensils.  Here is my latest acquisition –

Will review once I start using it 🙂 .

I also have a copper water jug which I plan to use . Got this as a gift from my Organisation. It was lying in a corner in our Pantry and I retrieved it today 🙂  Indians have long since believed that drinking water stored in a copper container is very good for the health. More on this later.

Till then … enjoy healthy cooking …

 

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Vegetable Kichdi , my style !!

I go on a 24 hour fast once a week and end my fast by eating a bowl of hot Vegetable Kichdi.This is light on the tummy.A fast should never end with heavy food. This dish is made with Rice, Moong dal ,Veggies and is easily digested . I look forward to this treat at the end of the day. Here is the simple recipe.

Ingredients for one serving :

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Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp

Cumin 1/4 tsp

Urad dal 1/4 tsp

Black pepper as per the spiciness that you can bear 🙂

It is OK if one of the above is missing in your spice rack. But pepper is a must.

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Rice : 2 tbsp

Quinoa (optional): 2 tbsp

Moong Dal ( Split Green gram ): 2 tbsp

Wash and soak Rice and Quinoa in water and keep aside.

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Ginger :  1 inch piece chopped into small pieces

Curry leaves : one or two sprigs

Veggies : you can use capsicum,  carrot, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, corn or any other veggies. Any two veggies are good enough. I am using Capsicum and Carrot today.

One chilli

Ghee 1 tsp

Asafoetida : a small pinch

Salt : As per your taste

Water : 4 times the volume of rice , quinoa and moong Dal.

Place all of them in a bowl. You will need water 4 times this volume.

Preparation : Use a pressure cooker

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Roast the moong dal in the dry pan till you smell the flavour of nicely fried moong dal. It should change into a very light brown colour. Empty the moong dal into another bowl.

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Add oil in the same pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin, urad dal and black pepper to the oil. Let them splutter.

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Add ginger pieces , chilli and curry leaves. Fry for 30 secs . Add all the cut veggies and stir for a minute.

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Now , drain the soaked rice, quinoa and add  to the pan. Also add moong dal . Add water. Add salt . Close the pan with the lid and put the pressure weight. Let it cook on medium heat till you hear 5 to 6 whistles. Let the pressure reduce before you open the cooker.

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Add the ghee and mix it well so all the contents get mashed up and the flavors combine well. Hot and yummy Vegetable Kichdi is ready !! You can eat with a little pickle or chutney on the side, if you wish. Your tummy will thank you 🙂


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Health , Nutrition and South Indian Recipes with Korralu (Foxtail Millets)

Rice is a staple food of a majority of South Indians. Most of us cannot imagine life without rice . Craving for rice begins after 24 hours of not eating rice:)) . I too belong to South India 🙂 and a major part of my diet used to comprise of rice. Rice is an ingredient in our Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The kind of rice that is usually available in most stores is highly polished and hence deprived of nutrients and is left with carbs. After learning about how cancer cells feed on sugars and carbs , I started my research on ways to minimize consumption of rice . Rice is an ingredient in several traditional South Indian dishes like Dosa , Idli , pongal , pulihora etc. Plain rice is eaten with other ‘curries’.

I came across ‘millets’ a couple of years ago and gradually started incorporating these in my diet.

Millets are a group of food grains grown in semi arid areas. These are ancient grains which have not undergone selective breeding.There are several varieties of Milliets. Pearl, Foxtail, Finger, Sorghum etc. Millets are gluten free, they are alkaline, have low GI and are anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the major cause of a lot of chronic diseases. Millets are usually not attacked by pests and hence are relatively free of pesticides. Millets have higher amounts of minerals and fiber than wheat and rice. Good for putting a check on Diabetes, cholesterol etc

I will be focussing on Foxtail Millets in this post. They are called ‘Korralu’ in Telugu.
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These are a very close substitute to rice and can be used in the preparation of a variety of traditional South Indian dishes.

Korralu (whole grain) can be cooked just the way we cook rice. Replace rice with korralu , for rice preparations like Pulihora, Kichdi, Sweet pongal etc.
Batter for idli and dosa is prepared by substituting rice with foxtail millets. Brown rice, foxtail millets and Urad Dal  can be added in equal proportions to make a batter for Idli and dosa.

Korralu ravva is also available in a few supermarkets and organic stores. Idli and Upma can be made using this ravva.

You might have to experiment a bit with the quantities. The taste , colour , texture might differ slightly from what you are normally used to . The idlis may be harder than the usual stuff  when you make them for the first time . The texture of dosas  too might vary. Think of the nutrition rather than the look , feel and taste. With experience you will be able to do a better job 🙂

Add cooked Foxtail millets to your favourite salad . You can include foxtail millets in moong dal dosa. Get creative and adventurous !!

Lots of recipes are available on youtube. Check them out !

~~ You are what you Eat !! ~~