According to homechef Senguttuvan Subburathina, slow cooking in pots helps retain fibre and nutrition than cooking in metal vessels. “Kuzhambu or any gravy cooked in mud chatti or clay pot retains heat longer and tastes better than the same in metal vessels. If the dishes are cooked 80-90 per cent, you can switch off the flame and save fuel. Longer heat retention allows the food to cook after the heat is turned off. Also, clay pot cooking neutralises the pH balance in food and acts as a natural detox. Moisture in the veggies and meat is retained better due to the circulation of steam generated during mud pot cooking and tends to be soft.”
Certain food reacts with metals and creates allergy which is avoided in mud pot. Senguttuvan says that eco-friendly mud pots are non-hazardous unlike some of the nonstick coated vessels which are proved to cause health complications. “You can cook and serve in the same mud pots; no separate serving bowls are needed. Not just eco-friendly, pots are economical too — if maintained well they will last for years. In Chennai, many use mud pots for storing water — it is healthier than ice-cold water,” he adds.
Cloud kitchen Vegiecroft Fusion, run by Sidharth Jayaprakash Radha, uses clay pots to cook and serve their food including smoothies, porridges and biryanis. “When I started the venture, I wanted to give the food in containers that don’t have any adverse effect on the person or the environment. While researching, I understood that mud pots are the best option. In the olden days, people used to cook food only in mud pots. But later, many switched to nonstick because of convenience,” Sidharth tells DT Next.
The young chef points out that pots maintain the pH value and food will be more digestible. “Minerals in the mud pots will be added to the food. Apart from that, mud pots can retain nutritional value. While cooking, the heat produced in a clay pot will be circulated throughout the pot. Moisture and natural oil in the food will be retained as well. Another best part is that we don’t lose the aroma of food.
“It might take more time to cook in mud pots — but it’s much safer than any other type of vessels. Mud pots don’t harm our health. Now, Vegiecroft Fusion is serving diet foods as well. I procure pots from artisans in Chengalpattu,” he concludes.