Cast Iron Cookware in India: A Timeless Tradition for Culinary Excellence

Cast iron cookware has been an integral part of Indian kitchens for centuries. Its durability, versatility, and ability to retain heat have made it a staple in traditional Indian cooking. From humble homes to high-end restaurants, cast iron cookware continues to be cherished for its exceptional performance and the unique flavors it imparts to dishes. In this article, we will explore the diverse uses of cast iron cookware in India and shed light on what not to cook with these iconic utensils.

The uses of cast iron cookware in India are endless. Let’s delve into some of the most popular ones:

1. Tadka or Tempering:

Aluminium Hard Anodised Tadka Pan

Rs. 390
Rs. 380
Amazon.in
as of February 14, 2024 10:06 am

Tadka, the process of seasoning oil or ghee with spices, is an essential step in Indian cooking. The even heat distribution of cast iron pans ensures that the spices are perfectly roasted, enhancing the aroma and flavor of the dish.

2. Deep Frying:

Kadai for Deep Frying with Strong Wooden Handle

★★★★★
Rs. 1,200
Rs. 799
 in stock
Amazon.in
as of February 14, 2024 10:06 am

User reviews

Perfect for a family of four. I wanted a solid no-nonsense wok. I love cooking and this was the perfect wok for my needs. It has just the right thickness, right size, right weight and sturdiness. I am writing this review after more than 18 months of regular use.1. You have to season it before first cooking (it is NOT pre-seasoned as claimed). You have to heat it on full flame, cool it down a bit and then rub in some cooking oil with piece of cloth/tissue to allow that oil to go up in smoke. Repeat it twice more. Now your wok is seasoned.2. After you finish cooking, wash it clean (need not scrub the blackened surface to metallic shine, no). Then wipe it dry and wipe it with just a few drops of oil to prevent rusting.3. If you see specs of rust, don't panic! It is iron, after all. Wash it clean and smear a drop of oil.I am now looking out for another one, this time slightly bigger.
Good product. Would have appreciated side holders
Ohhh this is the POS of all products of this category. God damn worthless piece of metal I had ever bought. It is really a waste of money. The metal has been painted with some low-quality paint of some sort, and it chips off in very miniscule particles into the food. And oooo the food color changed because of the metal getting oxidised. This was even after very well-seasoned usage. The product is really garbage. Nothing is right with this company. This is the second time I have been made fool of its quality assurance.
Easy to handle. Light weight so easy for tossing and mixing veggies and rice.
Not good quality. In the very first use it has started rusting inside area of the work. It's very heavy but I'm sure this is not pure cast iron. The rust is not going after doing all the jugaads
Very good quality wok. The thickness is just perfect.
Uts quality is good. For home use this product is good.
Indus Valley Wok. This wok is incredible. After buying this, cooking has become easy. Uniform heating from the wok makes cooking fast and easy. A must buy for all.

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Cast Iron Kadai

★★★★★
Rs. 2,000
Rs. 1,099
 in stock
Amazon.in
as of February 14, 2024 10:06 am

User reviews

Quality product. Very nice. But be cautious, it's heavy.
It is good but heavy in weight. I it's size and material, I don't like the weight. It is not practical.
Doubtful quality of material. - I do understand cast iron cookware is heavy. However, this product seems unusually heavier than other brands of cookware of same size and capacity.- The finishing is terrible. The surface is too rough to handle. The color is uneven, and shades of green-ish color all over. It feels greasy even after several cycles of washing/cleaning.- Could not return/exchange as the exchange window was closed.- After seasoning three times, every time I cook the food has a weird odor. The odor makes me think the material is not pure iron.- I have not used it after trying to use 3-4 times. I am frustrated that it occupies so much space in my small kitchen, is it unusable, and an utter waste of money.- I had bought this and a tawa of the same brand. Unhappy with the tawa as well. Not using both items.- I was 'penny wise and pound foolish' in this case.
Very heavy but not smooth finishing. The iron kadai is so strong. But it is not pre seasoned. When we wash and apply oil, we can see the rustiness. When we use the food items will turn to brown. Hope this issue will sort after several use.
Super. Its very useful, it brings health n tasty
Good product. Best kadai
Good product. The media could not be loaded.  Product is good, heavy little bit, one handle is not smooth texture but i think it's not big issue, let's see what's happen after use
Genuine Quality Longlasting Heavy Cast Iron Kadhai. Good quality legit cast iron. Surface inside is rugged or rough which may be good or bad depending upon your need. I didn't find that to be a problem. It comes with a coating not sure of what so I cleaned it up.. Did some seasoning myself and it was ready to go.Most importantly it is genuine cast iron which is really good for your Health. RBCs love and and they'll reward you with boosted healing power over time. And it's weight tells you that it's gonna last for a lifetime.Finally don't be turned down by the small effort of seasoning that's required for every cast iron utensil and yes go for it!The cookware we use is another secret to good health 😉

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Cast iron kadai (deep frying pan) is widely used for frying snacks like pakoras, samosas, and vadas. The heavy base and excellent heat retention allow for even frying and crispy results.

3. Slow Cooking:

Iron Dutch Oven With Lid

Rs. 11,519
Amazon.in
as of February 14, 2024 10:06 am

Indian curries are renowned for their rich flavors, achieved through slow cooking. Cast iron Dutch ovens and handis are ideal for simmering curries, as they distribute heat evenly and retain it for a long time, resulting in tender and flavorful dishes.

4. Baking:

Cast Iron Baking Pan

★★★★★
Rs. 15,004  in stock
Amazon.in
as of February 14, 2024 10:06 am

User reviews

This cast iron baking sheet delivers excellent caramelization on everything from chicken to potatoes to veggies. Contemplating purchasing a second one to do larger volume cooking. Lodge cast iron products are 5 star and the best!!!
This is really great. It's extremely versatile. I've used it in the oven for chicken, and also on top of two gas range burners as a griddle for pancakes, which saved a lot of time. It's surprisingly easy to clean even though I did not reseason it before using it out of the box, like is usually suggested for new "Lodge" cast iron products.The review section asks for a rating in the ease in cleaning, the versatility, and the... flavor? Oookay. Well...? The cast iron baking pan (sheet pan with sides?) has no flavor. So... that part is also good. No weird flavor. Also, just plain, it's got no flavor except when food is in it. Then it tastes like the food you put in it.*(*"This pan has a minty fresh flavor that wakes up your mouth" not appearing in this review. Also, "This pan tastes like pineapples and ginger ale" not appearing in this review.)Other useful information: It's got heft to it. It's not lightweight. This is hefty cast iron, it weighs more than a glass 9x13 deep baking dish does. Maybe twice what a glass baking dish of its same approximate size would weigh. The handles that are built in are really useful, super sturdy, but it's not a lightweight item. You'll want to use both handles (and some pot holders) when moving it into or out of the oven.Its sides are one inch in height which is sufficient for things like catching the moisture released during baking chicken, while still not being so tall that the sides would impact alternative functions such as using it for a cookie sheet.It takes a little while to cool down before/after cleaning it (and then drying briefly on either the stovetop or in oven so it's completely dry) before it can be put away. I also wouldn't wash it directly, piping hot, from the stove unless I was using equally hot water to wash it with. I think sudden huge temperature shocks could possibly damage this full sheet pan, like if using cold cold water on a hot iron pan.This was an expensive sheet pan- at least I thought so- but it's incredibly versatile and it's nicer having ONE really functional thing than it is having half a dozen nice things that are only functional for one or two applications. It's more minimalistic. It doesn't have toxic nonstick coating on it, so you can use any kind of utensil on it and still not consume the poisonous fumes or chipped teflon or whatever that other baking sheets usually have. It's just simple and does its job well.It heats evenly, just as all good cast iron does. Like other good cast iron cookware, it'll also probably still be doing just as well at what it does, many decades from now. BIFL
Crispy roasted potatoes that are not achievable with aluminum oven pans.
This baking pan is simply the best! Oven Roasted veggies come out perfectly done! Plus, fried potatoes are a breeze using the pan across two stovetop burners. It holds the heat evenly so there is no problem getting everything cooked evenly. Clean up is a breeze .... brush off any bits, scrub with water and a bristle brush, dry and spread a tiny bit of oil over all. Done. I will never go back to aluminum pans - ever.
These things ( I ordered 2) are a godsend. Nothing beats cast iron. Finally I can roast things in the oven at a high temp without the pan warping and twisting. These are rock solid and will last a lifetime. Everything tastes better cooked on it. You will never go back to teflon garbage after using these.

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Cast iron skillets and pans are excellent for baking bread, cakes, and even pizzas. The radiant heat from the iron imparts a unique crust and texture to the baked goods, making them more delicious.

5. Dosa and Roti Making:

Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Dosa Tawa

Rs. 1,800
Rs. 849
Amazon.in
as of February 14, 2024 10:06 am

Cast iron tawas (griddles) are the go-to utensils for making dosas and rotis. The even heat distribution ensures that the pancakes and bread are uniformly cooked, with a perfect balance of crispness and softness.

Despite the numerous advantages of cast iron cookware, there are a few dishes that should be avoided when using these utensils:

1. Acidic Foods: The high iron content in cast iron cookware can react with acidic ingredients like tomatoes, tamarind, and vinegar, resulting in a metallic taste. It is advisable to use stainless steel or non-reactive cookware for such dishes.

2. Delicate Fish and Seafood: Delicate fish and seafood can stick to the surface of cast iron pans, making them difficult to cook and possibly ruining their texture. Non-stick pans or stainless steel alternatives are better suited for these ingredients.

3. Quick Stir-Fries: Cast iron pans take longer to heat up compared to other materials. Therefore, quick stir-fries that require high heat and fast cooking may not yield the desired results. Lighter pans with better heat conductivity are more suitable for this purpose.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in cast iron cookware in India, with many appreciating its health benefits. Cooking with cast iron can increase the iron content in food, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with iron deficiencies. Additionally, the non-toxic nature of cast iron makes it a safer alternative to non-stick cookware, which may release harmful chemicals when heated.

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