Why to use a Clay Pot?

Written by Faiza Rizvi

Your recipe is on point. You have all the ingredients ready. But, the problem is a bit far-fetched: it lies in the utensil. 

Here is one secret trick that can make your desi dishes stand out: 

Clay Pots

Ditch the fancy cooking pots and pressure cookers. 

What’s next? It’s simple and straightforward- buy a local clay pot. 

If you want to embrace the actual aroma and taste of your food, you need to get your hands on a clay pot, also commonly known as handi/earthen pot. 

Are you confused? Keep reading to know the perks of cooking in a clay pot. 

Making Clay Pots

What’s so special about cooking in a clay pot? 

Well, let’s take the lesson from our history. 

Back in the old days, clay pots were a part of every South Asian kitchen. You can confirm it firsthand from your grandparents.   

Later on, people began to try out new stuff for their convenience. They didn’t have much time or patience to cook in a clay pot; you can’t expect a quick meal from a clay pot. We will discuss the reason later in this article. 

The fact, however, remains the same: 

Food is healthier and tastier when cooked in a clay pot. 

Stay with us to know why. 

Clay Pot Cooking

Five Amazing Health Benefits of clay pots….

We won’t keep you waiting. Let’s get straight to it. 

It balances the pH level of your food 

By nature, clay pots are alkaline. How does it benefit you? To put it simply, cooking in a clay pot lowers the acidity of food and helps in its proper digestion. This is good news for people with sensitive stomach and acidity issues. 

The food remains nutritious and aromatic 

If you have tasted biryani or curry cooked in a clay pot, you will know what I am talking about here. Apart from the taste, even the aroma is next-level mouthwatering and welcoming. 

How is that possible? 

Hint: Slow cooking. 

As mentioned above, the clay pot takes time to heat up because of its porous surface. Due to its heat resistivity, the food takes its time in getting marinated with every spice, which further adds to its flavor and aroma.   

Food in Clay Pots

Your food turns out less oily 

You can actually get back to being fit and slim once again. No, we are not bluffing. 

Let’s see the science behind this: 

High consumption of oil can result in weight gain. Moreover, foods with high fats can cause heart diseases in older people. 

That’s a serious issue for South Asians like us because most of our dishes tend to be oily. Besides that, we can’t start our day without eating a paratha or two. You feel us, right? 

Let the clay pot be a problem solver here. Once you start cooking in a clay pot, you will realize you need less oil to cook your food as compared to cooking in a stainless steel pot. 

Why do you think that happens? The clay pot doesn’t heat up too quickly. It means your food can retain its moisture and get cooked in it perfectly. You don’t need the extra moisture in the form of oil.   

Your body gets the right amount of chemicals 

Your food doesn’t get mixed up with harmful metals because clay pots don’t have any, to begin with. Cooking in a clay pot allows your meal to get enriched with calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium, and iron. All these chemicals are essential for a healthy body. 

You don’t have to dig in too deep to find a clay pot 

Up till now, we are sure you have made up your mind to buy a clay pot. Now, the question is where to find one. 

Despite being uncommon, they are not that hard to find, especially if you are from Pakistan or India. Visit a clay market and you will see clay pots, mugs, and wooden spoons available in all shapes and sizes. What’s more, they are eco-friendly and reasonably cheap. 

If you are unable to find a clay market in your area, you can place your order online as well.  

Now, let’s turn the page and see the measures you have to take before cooking in a clay pot.  

Yes, it does need some pampering beforehand.  

How to use clay/Handi Pot? 

If this is your first time cooking in a clay pot, you will need to follow some guidelines for a smooth cooking experience.   

First, it is important to know whether your clay pot is glazed or un-glazed.  You don’t have to prepare the glazed ones before cooking. However, un-glazed clay pots ask for some preparation before they are ready to use.  

Have a look at the steps below. 

Step to follow: 

  1. Soak your new un-glazed clay pots in cold water for a few hours. It’s better if you let them soak overnight.  
  2. Discard the water and let your clay pots dry completely.  

That’s it. Your clay pot is ready to cook some delicious meals now.  

Is there anything else you need to keep in mind? 

We suppose, yes. 

Soak your clay pot for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking 

This way, your clay pot absorbs water. Recall that clay pots take longer to heat up. Now, the absorbed water turns into steam due to the heat and keeps your food moist and flavorsome.  

Cook in the recommended temperature of 40 Celsius 

First, let your clay pot gradually heat in a low to medium flame. Or better, you can place it beside an oven as an alternative Make sure to lift your clay pot with oven gloves or baker pads.

Once you start cooking in a clay pot, make sure the temperature of your stove is around 40 Celsius. Give your food an extra 20-30 minutes as the food takes its time to cook in a clay pot. 

Place your clay pot in a wooden surface after cooking  

Clay pots are sensitive to temperature differences. You can’t randomly put your clay pot anywhere, especially if it’s hot. Use a wooden tray, or a kitchen towel to keep your clay pot. Otherwise, you will notice some cracks at the base of your pot; it will eventually break up. 

Having said that, also avoid using cold water or adding cold spices while your pot is hot. It can also result in cracks.  

It may seem like a lot of work to do, but you will get the hang of it with time. It’s worth eating healthy.  

Let’s Recap  

We are done with our two cents on why clay pots are beneficial for you. You will notice the difference in taste for sure once you start cooking in a clay pot. For now, buy one if you don’t already have, and share your experience with us. Happy cooking!