Updated: Apr 24, 2022
Indian cooking style, the methods, and the utensils used have evolved over the past centuries. With a lot of invasions and migrations, India has seen a mix of cultures and traditions from across the world.
Westernization has introduced fast and easy cooking that is cheaper in quality and is toxic. We have completely forgotten or discarded our traditional cookware that was environmental friendly and healthy.
Our ancestors were much more advanced and used earthy elements and metals that were needed by the human body to create cookware. This added the nutrients and minerals to the food cooked and also retained the existing nutrients of the food. Some of the old-style cookware are back in fashion and people have become conscious and are going back to their roots.
Let us have a look at some of the most uniquely handcrafted, lost traditional Indian cookware!
Depicting the rich culture of South India, this vintage scrapper is a beautiful piece of work. Made from a single block of wood with floral motifs carved over the body, represents the rich heritage of the Nattukottai Chettiars community. The coconut scraper has two main components:- scooped bowl for collecting the coconut and an iron hood for scrapping the shell.
Sil Batta is the traditional grinder of Indian households that has seen many generations, owing to it its amazing durability. Made of sandstone (chittar stone) is used to make paste, chutney, and masala by grinding and rubbing stones.
This process keeps the juice and nutrients intact which is otherwise burned due to heat generated in a mixer. This is the reason why chutney ground on a sil batta tastes much better than the one made in a mixer.
Made up of metamorphic rock (soft), soapstone cookware is highly durable and has been used as cookware for ages. it is the healthiest form of cookware that not only keeps the food warm for more time but is also rich in magnesium. Cooking in soapstone adds flavor to the dish and retains the nutrients as the food is cooked slowly.
Imam Dasta has been in use from the time of the stone age, to prepare spices and herbs by pounding and crushing them. Traditionally made of stone, is still used in many households for crushing red chili, ginger, garlic, etc. One can easily find these made in hardwood, metal, marble, or ceramic but the stone ones are rare to find.
HANDI (CLAYPOT COOKWARE)
Regaining its popularity again, a once most commonly used cookware is now rare and costly. Creating a clay pot cookware or mitti k bartan is not just a process but an art of molding and pottery. Artisians well-crafted in art, create pots that are glazed and constructed in a way to withstand heat and high temperatures.
Claypots or handi is a nontoxic and healthy form of cookware that gives a distinct earthy flavor to the food cooked in it. A clay pot is not only used for cooking but also for storing water and curd, owing to its cooling properties.
CHAKKI TRADITIONAL GRINDING STONE
Grinding stones were used for grinding grains and wheat was once a household thing. Nowadays you may only find chakki in mills or Kirana stores. It comes in pair with a bedstone was placing the grains and a runner with a handle that grinds or churns the grain while rotating. Made from natural sandstone is a heavy-duty and durable grinding machine.
Mitti ka chulha or mud chulha is a very popular form of stove in India. Mud stove is still used in small villages and rural areas. This ancient form of cooking gives the food a natural flavor and taste. Dishes cooked over a mud stove are healthier and is considered one of the best way of cooking. Mud stove is created manually and is burnt using wood or cow dung cake, which is readily available and is cost-effective.
MADHANI LASSI MAKER
The traditional way of beating and churning lassi, curd, ghee, butter. The wooden Madhani is the best way to prepare these dairy items as churning is the most natural way to do so. The tase is fresh and authentic un-altered unlike preparation by mixer grinder which removes all the nutrients in the process. Still common in many households in different lighter versions.
That was a long journey back in time! By now you must have deducted that our traditional cooking style was eco-friendly, cost-effective, non-toxic, and healthy. How many of these can you still find in your homes? If not, and planning to switch, you can find some of these online or in artisanal fates and exhibitions or local markets.