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A basic guide to cast iron cookware and which ones to buy

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Durable, better for your health, and a worthy heirloom even, the reasons to switch to cast iron are many and compelling. But, like all good things, cast-iron utensils need care and proper maintenance. And since some of these utensils can also be expensive, this is the type of cookware that you are investing in, so choose wisely.

1.    Seasoning
This is the most important and mandatory step. Generally, when you are buying a new piece, it will come with instructions on how to do this. Seasoning of any cast iron utensil basically means readying it for cooking and maintaining it in the process. It involves coating it with cooking oil, then heating it at a very high temperature to promote bonding. This avoids rust buildup and allows the surface to develop for easy cooking. The more you season and use your utensil, the more naturally non-stick it becomes. If your utensil is a new buy or old and worn out, it will need a few extra rounds of seasoning before you use it. Do make sure to let it cool completely before you repeat the seasoning process.

2.    Cleaning
All cast iron utensils need immediate cleaning. Remember to never leave it in the sink overnight or even in water for long. This will easily lead to rusting and spoil the product. The best way to wash it is using a mild soap and soft scrub. Metal scrubbers are best avoided as they will erode the surface. In case of any food that’s hard to scrap off, boil water in it to help loosen leftovers. Once the washing is done, make sure to completely dry it. Next, brush a thin layer of oil all over it (inside and out) to prevent any rusting and store it in a dry place. 

3.    Precautions
Even though cast iron utensils are suitable to cook a variety of foods, there are a few exceptions. It is best to avoid cooking highly acidic food that involves ingredients like lemon, tomato or vinegar. This is because the acid reacts with the metal and this will affect the taste of the dish. Another thing to avoid is cooking delicate dishes like fish for example. This is because the surface heats up to really high temperatures and hence will burn out the dish.
Since the surface heats up a lot, it’s best to let it cool down completely before washing it. Otherwise, the sudden change in temperature might end up cracking the surface. Also, look at a suitable handle to help you transfer the dish without ending up with a burn. Another thing to check before buying this product is the weight and whether you can manage to maneuver it.

Now that you know the basics, take a look at our list of cast iron utensils...
 

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INDUS VALLEY
Cast Iron Kadai Large (2.5 Litre | 25 cm Dia)
When cooking for a party, this Kadai will be your savior. Not only will it help cook the food well, but it will also keep it warm for a very long time. Saving you the trouble and worry of constantly heating it before you serve. This comes pre-seasoned and is ready to cook in. It cooks on Gas stove.
Price: Rs. 999

Cast Iron Kadai Large (2.5 Litre | 25 cm Dia)

Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Round Griddle

LODGE
Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Round Griddle
This griddle pan is great for stir frying vegetables or for simply making rotis or pancakes. Its wider surface and lower walls allow it to be versatile. Make sure to wear gloves while handling this pan when it’s hot. This comes pre-seasoned and is ready to cook in. It cooks on Gas stove, Oven and Barbecue grill.
Price: Rs. 2,659

LE CREUSET
Cast Iron Paella Pan
The most popular enamel-coated range of cookware, the Le Creuset paella pan is suitable for making rice dishes as it allows heat to spread evenly, cooking the various elements well. You can serve the dish right in this pan, making the food stay warm for longer. It cooks on Electric hob, Ceramic hob, Gas stove, Grill, Oven and Induction.
Price: Rs. 19,500

Cast Iron Paella Pan

Induction Friendly Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Tawa

URBAN PLATTER
Induction Friendly Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Tawa
This product is a good choice for cooking your daily meals like omelets and pan cakes. Also due to its high walls, quick gravy dishes are also possible in this skillet. It comes with a silicone handle to help pick it up even when it’s hot. This comes pre-seasoned and is ready to cook in. It cooks on Gas stove, Induction, Electric Hob.
Price: Rs. 1,100

MILTON
Milton Treo cast iron grill pan
This grill pan is a good option for cooking meat or for quickly stir frying dishes. Since this one doesn’t have a big handle, make sure to use gloves while handling it hot. This comes pre-seasoned and is ready to cook in. It cooks on Gas stove, Induction, Oven.
Price: Rs. 1,599

Milton Treo cast iron grill pan

Traditional Sengottai Iron Dosa Kallu (Tawa)

ZISHTA
Traditional Sengottai Iron Dosa Kallu (Tawa)

This traditionally handcrafted dosa tawa is straight out of a vintage kitchen. The absolutely flat surface makes a great base for evenly spreading batter to make dishes like dosas and its variations. Since it’s a made-to-order product, it’s best to season it a couple of times before using it to cook. It cooks on Gas stove.
Price: Rs. 2,500

MEYER
Meyer Pre Seasoned Cast Iron 30cm Kadai/Wok With Glass Lid
This cast iron wok comes with a glass lid allowing you to see the progress of the food getting cooked. The shape and size allow bigger dishes to be easily cooked in this. This product comes with handle grips to help you hold the vessel while its still hot. This comes pre-seasoned and is ready to cook in. It cooks on Gas stove and Oven.
Price: Rs. 5,275

Meyer Pre Seasoned Cast Iron 30cm Kadai/Wok With Glass Lid

Healthy Living Cast Iron Milk Pan with Lid

HOME CENTRE
Healthy Living Cast Iron Milk Pan with Lid
Here’s a good looking milk pan combined with the benefits of cast iron. This is, as the name suggests, a good choice for boiling milk, water or for cooking any liquid base dish. This comes pre-seasoned and is ready to cook in. It cooks on Gas stove and Oven.
Price: Rs. 2,999

IKEA
Blini/pancake pan
This pan has mini moulds to perfect your pancake shape and cook several in a go. You can also make mini crepes, pizzas and other batter-based dishes. This comes pre-seasoned and is ready to cook in. It cooks on Gas stove and Induction.
Price: Rs. 1,690

Blini/pancake pan

Iron fry ladle

TREDY FOODS
Iron fry ladle
This ladle design was traditionally made for cooking Karandi omlettes, but if that’s not your interest then use it for tempering. This comes pre-seasoned and is ready to cook in. It cooks on Gas stove.
Price: Rs. 270

RUSTIK CRAFT
Oval cast iron sizzler plate
Considering its qualities of retaining heat for long periods of time, sizzlers are best served on cast iron plates. After cooking, you can directly place the tray on the wooden platform and serve the dish as hot as possible. This comes pre-seasoned and is ready to cook in. It cooks on Oven.
Price: Rs. 1967.70 

Oval cast iron sizzler plate

Feature Image Courtesy

IKEA

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