You are hungry and are sitting at the dinning table and a very hot earthern pot appears. The lid is removed and the steam rushes out. The room is filled with a mouth watering aroma.
The serving spoon showcase the tender meat and vegetables sitting in the still bubbling sauce
Isn’t that satisfying……
When I was a child Aai (my mother) would very often cook in one clay pot of hers that she had inherited from her mother.
Her favorite was the stew. She would simply dunk all the ingredients in her pot and cook them on a simmering flame for a few hours and then would serve us a delicious meal of stew and appams.
Just after I got married and I was in that phase to impress my new family with my culinary skills, I thought Aai’s recipe of stew would be just the perfect thing.
I quickly got down to making the stew. Followed the recipe to the “t”.
Once it was done and I took a spoonful of it to taste the aroma was just not the same. There was something missing after I tasted it.
Well the stew was very well appreciated and I gave a huge sigh of relief. But I was not satisfied.
Discussion time with mom was a must the next morning. Where she convinced me that cooking in the clay pot would make all the difference.
Till then I had never felt the need to ask her the reason for doing so but the person that she is explanation is a must. She informed me that a clay pot is porous so cooking in it on a slow flame allows the heat and moisture to circulate evenly and the meats and veggies to cook in their own juices and so the flavors and aroma gets trapped too.
Clay is alkaline so it will interact with the acidity in the food and neutralize the pH balance. Something that is naturally very acidic like a tomato sauce will take on some natural sweetness when cooked in a clay pot
She also suggested that the clay pots could be used as serving bowls, which would be absolutely authentic and stunning.
The following weekend she planned an outing to Kumbhar Wada and she gifted me a clay pot. Greedy that I am when it comes to, food, crockery and cutlery I demanded more from her.
After a few days I surprised my family cooking the same recipe of stew again and the difference was tasted by all.
But I never stopped at the stew, tried many more recipes in my very own clay pot of which the recipes I must share with you. I’m sure you will enjoy cooking them and relish them too
This needs to be done one time before 1stuse
Rinse the pot / pan thoroughly in water and let it sit in water for 10 minutes
Take 3 tbsp of rice or wheat flour and add I cup of water and make a paste. Add 1 tbsp cooking oil and a pinch of turmeric. Fill the pot with water and add this paste and cook for 7 minutes on a low flame. Then cook with the lid on till it thickens to a broth. Remove from fire and keep it over night. Next morning throw away the broth rinse the pot and VOILA!! Its ready to be used.
Masali ambat (fish curry)
7-8 pieces of Rawas or surmai or pomfret
1 medium onion finely chopped
1” ginger finely chopped
½ fresh coconut grated
1 tbsp dry coriander seeds
10-12 dry bedgi red chillies
¾ tsp haldi powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
Salt to taste
- Wash and clean the fish
- Grind the coconut, coriander seeds, haldi powder and the chillies to a fine paste adding 1 cup of water.
- Heat a deep bottom mud pot and add coconut oil. When the aroma of the coconut oil fills the air add the onion and the ginger and sauté till the onion is light pink and soft.
- Then add the ground coconut masala, 2 cups of water to make the gravy, add the salt and kokum and bring to a boil.
- After you boil the gravy check the salt, spice and the sour taste, once you adjust these flavors to your liking, add the fish and let it cook on slow flame for 10 min or till the fish is done.
- Always adjust the flavor of the curry before you add the fish as it becomes difficult to correct the flavor after the fish is added as the fish meat is delicate and the pieces might break.
- This delicious reddish orange curry can be served to 4 people.
VERY IMPORTANT TIP: Please do not stir the curry once the fish has been added. The pieces of fish will break.