How healthy is the food you eat depends not just on the quality of the ingredients used in its making. It is equally or even more important to use the correct cookware for cooking as it can make your food both tasty and supe healthy. The best example for this is Cast Iron cookware which among many quintessentially traditional things are now making a strong back in to the kitchens worldwide owe to the myriads of health benefits it provides.
The health watchers have unanimously ditched the Teflon coated utensils or non-stick cookware on which we have been making Dosas, Omelettes and Uthapams using minimum oil. Instead, they have welcome backed the Cast Iron cookwares from their Grandmother’s Kitchen. They are naturally non-sticky and chemical free and the best thing is that Cast iron releases iron into the food and therefore increases iron content of food. These heavy and hefty utensils hold heat for longer than most other materials so cooking with cast iron cookware can also be economical.
What is Cast Iron Cookware and how it’s different from Regular Iron and Non-Stick Utensils?
Regular Iron is lightweight, inexpensive and are made of pure iron. But because of its lightweight, food gets quickly burned while cooking in them. Also, it develops a reddish coloured rust after frequent use and washing, which is hard to remove. It also can’t hold the seasoning for longer. Similarly, Teflon coated Non-stick Pans and Pots are also neither user-friendly nor healthy for cooking. Teflon or polytetrafluoroethylene is a chemical coated on aluminium to make the cookware non-sticky, easy to conduct heat, non-reactive to food and easy to clean. But it may not be a healthy option as at higher temperatures this coating release toxic fumes that can causean array of health issues. It may also enter the body mixed through food and can cause severe health hazards.
That’s why you need a healthy alternative to this worry causing cookware and here we will tell you some good enough reasons to make the switch to Cast Iron.
- Safety First: If you want chemical-free cook ware, then Cast-Iron is the right choice. It’s all natural and doesn’t need any coating to retain its seasoning, making your cooking clean and healthy. This material can be used with pretty much any heat source—from open flame to induction.
- Ideal for Cooking: Cast iron is an amalgamation of iron and carbon which makes it more sturdy and heavy weight. It gets evenly heated, holds heat more efficiently and is also quite easy to season them and its coating won’t wear off after washing. You can make perfectly crispy Dosas and evenly roasted vegetables with your Cast Iron Cookware and they need least maintenance only.
- Gives your Daily Dose of Iron: Cast iron releases iron into the food that is prepared in it and therefore increases iron content of food. So, including Food prepared in Cast-Iron can actually help people with Anaemia by improving their Haemoglobin Levels.
- Affordable & Highly Durable: As the process of creating cast iron cookware is relatively simple, it’s generally very affordable. While most non-stick surfaces cannot be repaired after developing scratches, cast iron is scratch resistant and if seasoned routinely, its lifespan will far exceed that of a typical non-stick pan.
- Versatility: Dosa Tawa, Roti Pan, Kadhai, Paniyaarakkal, Skillet, Woks…Cast Iron cookware are now being presented in different many different varieties. It’s no longer a material for Tawa only. As it is versatile enough to be used with any heat source, Cast-Iron has now also become the favourite for Home Chefs to Master Chefs of Star Hotels.
How to Season it?
The trick of maintaining a cast iron Cookware and making it last a lifetime lies in ‘seasoning’ or ‘curing’ it. Seasoning creates a non-stick cooking surface naturally. A well-seasoned pan can give you the crispiest Dosas or the best fried veggies without using too much oil. Besides, the cast iron will not rust if it is properly seasoned. We will tell you how to season a cast iron pan.
- Wash the Utensil with soap and water and then Dry the utensil thoroughly with a cloth or paper towel
- Apply a thin layer of oil (Preferably with Gingelly Oil) all over the utensil, covering every surface. Wipe off any excess oil.
- Start heating the utensil on medium flame and just as the utensil starts to smoke, add a few drops of oil and, using a paper towel, spread a thin layer to cover the whole cooking surface.
- Repeat this 4-5 times, then turn off the stove and allow the utensil to cool completely. Put it away until it’s ready to use it.