Kitchenairy helps you find the best cookware for Indian cooking in its review of some of the best utensils and tools that are perfect for cooking Indian dishes.
Indian cuisine dates back over 8,000-years. India is a diverse melting pot of ancient history, inter-continental trade, multiculturalism, and spirituality. Its unique cultural landscape has laid way to a rich and varied culinary cornucopia of flavors and delicious delights. Each of these exotic dishes requires special utensils, we have tried to cover the best cookware for Indian Cooking.
Rich curries, tasty pastries, delicious sweets, much of which is vegetarian or vegan due to a predominantly Buddhist, Hindu, Jainist, and Sikh religious population.
The food of south and northern India is full of robust and complex flavors achieved with the aid of exotic herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits like:
- Cloves, cardamon, garlic, and ginger
- Beans, chickpeas, lentils, and rice
- Carrots, Ginger, Onions, and Potatoes
- Chillies and curry leaves
- Garam masala and turmeric
- Tamarind, Guava, coconut and many more
Many other ingredients and spices have come from thousands of years of trade as well as from neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, China and Pakistan.
With this ancient and diverse culinary history has come many different types of cookware and utensils to bake, fry, simmer and stew these delectable delights. There are also various kinds of cooking mediums and best cookware for Indian cooking like the traditional tandoor oven, resembling more of a large vertical pot than a conventional oven.
Indian food is enjoyed the world over. Above all, it has evolved in cooking methods flavours and recipes like all international cuisines. So what is the best cookware to use when preparing your favourite Indian dishes at home today? Read on to learn more.
What is the best cookware for Indian cooking?
With so many varieties of food in Indian cuisine, there is no easy answer to this question. Having a collection of the best cookware for Indian cooking is essential. Therefore, the kind of cookware you use depends on what you make. From slow-cooked curry, traditional Indian flatbreads, to grilling different meats and vegetables.
What is the best cookware for curries?
Curry defines a wide range of dishes using a complex combination of herbs and spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and fresh or dried chillies.
Curries cook in a stew pot, known in India as a Degchi or Handi. Made from hammered brass or copper or hand made from clay, they come in a wide range of shapes and sizes depending on the region.
Today, curries are made mainly in aluminium, cast iron or stainless steel pots that are just as effective as traditional Indian cookware. You can even purchase contemporary handi style pressure cookers.
What is fried Indian food cooked in?
Everyone loves an Indian fried delicacy. For most lovers of Indian food, ordering a curry and rice without a fried Indian side dish is sacrilege. This can include many types of flatbreads like chapati, roti, poori or paratha. Other tasty fried morsels could consist of:
- Onion bhaji
- Vegetable pakoras
- Kachori and more
Most fried Indian dishes cook in a karahi which is almost identical to a Chinese wok and could have a flat or round base. There is also a skillet style pan called a jalebi Kadai.
The internet is packed full of amazing recipes for these fantastic Indian snacks, and you can use a traditional wok, or a stainless steel or iron skillet with the same results.
How do you unlock those rich Indian flavours?
No Indian kitchen is complete without a Tadka Pan. Tadka means “tempering” (also known as bagar, chhonk, phodni or other names depending on the region). It is a cooking technique used to cook down, unlock and release all the oils, exotic herbs and flavoursome spices before a to a dish.
Cook base ingredients like turmeric, cardamom, cumin, mustard seed, chilli or even shallots and garlic in oil or ghee. Use a high temperature to bring out all the subtle oils, spices and flavours, therefore making them ultra-dense and aromatic.
A tadka pan often resembles a small, deep wok on a long handle giving you plenty of distance from the crackling and spitting spices as they flavour the oil.
You need to use an oil that can handle high heat without producing an arid taste like olive oil. It is best to use oils with a high smoke point like ghee or coconut oil. Tadka is more of a cooking method than a pan and will transform the flavour of your Indian cuisine. It is a skill well worth learning.
What utensils do you use in Indian cooking?
Above all, most traditional Indian cooking utensils represent something you may already have in your kitchen. Here are some examples.
A chimta is like tongs. Sometimes chimta have pointed tips for flipping flatbread like roti or stabbing at hot food.
Almost identical to a small wooden rolling pin, a belan can flatten doughs and pastries.
Jhaara (a.k.a. Jaldeer Karchi)
A jhaara is like a perforated ladle or strainer, used to remove and drain things from a fryer.
If you are planning on making your curries from scratch using raw ingredients, you may want to invest in a haman-dasta or mortar and pestle for crushing and grinding seeds, herbs and spices.
One of the other secrets to good Indian cooking is having small bowls or Katori to prepare your ingredients before you cook. Katori bowls are also handy for serving your delicious samosas, dipping sauces or maybe some papadums.
Above all, you can cook healthy, tasty, authentic Indian food with much of the cookware you would find in most home kitchens.
If you have a stainless steel cooking set, an iron skillet or nonstick fry pans, a decent size stew pot, slow cooker or pressure cooker, as well as some basic utensils, then you have everything you need to cook tantalising treats, transcendental curries, robust rice dishes and brilliant flatbreads. You’ll feel like you’ve teleported to New Delhi!