How to start using a clayware?
Seasoning the cookware:
Seasoning enhances life of your clay cookware. It enhances its hardness and durability by making it more crack-resistant and also helps it get rid of the initial clay smell.
· Wash the pot in clean water and scrub it with coir or plastic scrubber (Do not use harsh scrubbers). Then immerse the pot in clean water for 5-6 hours. Some prefer to immerse it overnight. Remove the pot from water and allow it to dry thoroughly.
· Generously apply oil on the surface of the pot – olive, coconut or any other cooking oil. Coat the pot inside out. Keep it in sunlight for as long as possible so as to allow the pot to soak all the oil that has been applied on it.
· Take two spoons of rice fill the clay pot till ¾ boil it for 20 minutes on low flame. Put off flame and let this stay overnight. Next day, clean the pot and start cooking in clay :)
Whenever you feel food is beginning to stick on the pot ... just season it again using same method.
Some people also apply wet soil on the outer surface of the clay pot for slow cooking. Also some people burn dry grass inside the pot and rub the carbon formed during the process to season the pot.
Regular use of your pot will naturally develop a well-seasoned cooking surface. Using wooden utensils versus non-coated metal utensils will also help protect your cookware.
Before cooking in: For water less or oil free cooking you may read following steps:
Unglazed clay pot and lid must be completely submerged in water for at least 15 minutes or more prior to cooking. The unglazed, porous pot absorbs the water. During the cooking process when it is slowly heated, the clay releases steam which gently cooks the food. This prevents foods from drying out. Natural juices and flavours are retained in the pot while nutrients are preserved.
During Cooking: Appropriate temperature settings: Sudden rise or fall of the temperature can cause an earthen pot to crack. Always place your earthen cookware in the centre of a cold oven, and allow it to heat gradually with the oven. Do not allow the clay pot to touch the sides of the oven. When cooking with clay, the heat should be medium or low. Start with low heat and raise the temperature slowly over the course of 5 minutes or so.
· Never heat the clay pot on gas stove or microwave while it is empty.
· Start cooking on a low flame, after 5 minutes increase it to medium. Avoid using high flame for clay cookware.
· Never add anything cold into an earthen pot that is already heated. Adding cold water may cause the pot to crack. If it is necessary to add more liquid to the pot during cooking, only pour a hot liquid into it.
· If your pot is very cold from the refrigerator you should not pour in boiling liquids and not put it in microwave or gas stove immediately.
Placing a hot pot on a cold work surface may cause clay to crack. Secondly, carefully lift the lid, pot may not seem very hot from outside but steam inside can cause burns.