Author Topic: Pots and Pans?  (Read 34040 times)

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Offline Bob_McBob

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Pots and Pans?
« on: October 30, 2006, 12:34 PM »
What exactly does everyone use for cooking curry?  I have read great things about the traditional cast iron "kadai", but there is really not much information to be found about it on the internet.  Also, if you can find them for sale, they are pretty much all little tiny ones, or industrial manufacturers who want to sell in large batches.  Not too promising!  However, I just came across a place in the US that sells various Indian cookware, including large cast iron kadais.  Check it out here: http://www.nishienterprise.com/Iron-Kadai-for-frying-p/iron-kadai-18.htm (they also do a 24" for $99).

I am sorely tempted to order one of these, but cast iron cookware can be of variable quality.  I like the look of the "Lodge" cast iron stuff, but everything they make that I'm interested in is unavailable right now.  At the moment I am mostly using a deep non-stick pan for most of my curry cooking, transferring to a cast iron Dutch oven for stuff that requires baking.  I have a really heavy-bottom stainless steel skillet I use for roasting spices.  I tried a really cheap wok from Ikea a little while ago, and as expected it was pretty much crap, but I can see how a nice thick cast iron pot of similar shape would be useful for cooking Indian food.

So, what does everyone else use?

Offline Chilli Prawn

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Re: Pots and Pans?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2006, 01:15 PM »
To be honest with you Bob, I would not bother with cast iron stuff.  I have tried/used them all in my time and to be honest the only cast iron I use now is for oven cooking.  The Khadai or Kharai is used by Indian cooks for cooking on an open fire and for deep fat frying, mostly the latter in UK.  I use an Indian frying  pan or skillet for most flash frying, I use three sizes of good quality Woks for most other things; the best are the spun steel ones used by the Chinese cooks (you have to season these first). 

Now for pots, i.e. fo cooking large amounts and for bases etc., it is well worth buying ones made from good quality stainless steel with a sandwich layer (aluminium) and heavyweight base for the even spread of heat.  It is hot spots that wreck cooking in most cases.  I use several different sizes but a good quality 26 pint stock pot is a good all rounder; these will cost around ?100+ UK pounds.  I use top quality American non-stick pots for the rest of the jobs, you can buy these 'Professional Cookware' pans for about ?100 for any 5 pans of your own choice from the range www.cookware.co.uk.

I have huge (24") heavy gauge aluminium Kharai ( about ?15 for Southall) that I use for large volume deep fat frying, and a simple domestic Kenwood Pro 4 litre rectangular deep fat fryer (about ?29).

Thats about it.  However, As the guys & gals here will tell you, you can get away with simple domestic products, but do buy a decent wok and frying pan.  I would not pay a lot and I certainly would not use non-stick as the coating will break up with the heat & acid combination.  I would also advise against using aluminium products except for deep frying, aluminium reacts badly with certain chemicals (spices and acids) and is known to be a cause of Alzheimer's.

Happy Cooking
CP

I realise that you are in the US, but I am sure you will get this stuff there


Offline CurryCanuck

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Re: Pots and Pans?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2006, 05:48 PM »
OMG ! :o - Quick Paul , wave the right flag !  :) :)

Offline vindaloo

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Re: Pots and Pans?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2006, 07:31 PM »
I normally use a fair sized stainless pot (about 6 litres I think)




I bought this big fat mutha' yesterday!!!! (Click to save bandwidth!)



I also have a couple of hand made cast karai's, very heavy & very good  ;) The copper bottom karai's look good for the presentation!! 8) ;)





Offline Bob_McBob

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Re: Pots and Pans?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2006, 07:58 PM »
Do you use any sort of "heat spreading" attachment for simmering on the gas range?  I love cooking with gas, but when it comes to slow cooking beef curries for hours, results are sometimes not good because the small area of the pan covered by the flame.  I think I've seen attachments to spread the heat, sort of like wok rings I suppose.  Anyway, I'm sure it would help if my primary cooking pan was nicer.

CurryCanuck, those karais look great!  What do you use them for?  Can I ask where you got them?

Offline vindaloo

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Re: Pots and Pans?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2006, 08:13 PM »
Do you use any sort of "heat spreading" attachment for simmering...

I've not heard of anything that helps to spread the heat, but I'll be looking out for one now though!! ;)

TBH, I've had a few problems with heat being in one place so its a combination of stirring and moving between large and small gas rings  :-\ 'til I come up with a soloution!

Where abouts are the pictures for CurryCanuk's karais?? I can't see them!!! 8) 8) 8)

Offline CurryCanuck

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Re: Pots and Pans?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2006, 03:10 AM »
CurryCanuck, those karais look great!  What do you use them for?  Can I ask where you got them?
You are asking the wrong dude ! I use Calphalon cookware for the most part .


Offline Bob_McBob

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Re: Pots and Pans?
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2006, 04:11 AM »
Er, that's right, I need to pay more attention ;D  VINDALOO, what do you use them for? :P

Offline Chilli Prawn

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Re: Pots and Pans?
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2006, 01:07 PM »
I have a couple of heat dissipators, I think they are made in Germany.  They comprise about three layers of steel, each layer is full of holes, there is a gap between each layer and the holes are not aligned.  The  theory is the heat wanders around inside and come out even;  well thats the idea anyway. ::).  However they will not overcome the problems with pans that have hotspots in the base.  As I said originally you have to get decent pans, preferably with sandwich layers for even heat dissipation through the base and side.  Alternatively get those superb heavy gauge anodised aluminium pots made in the US, these are specially cast and machined to a fine tolerance, unlike stainless steel ,copper etc, that are usually pressed in to shape and therefore have an uneven thickness.  The ones CC has recommended sound like the ones I am thinking of.  I use something similar but not as good.  One other point is I think stainless and copper pans create too fierce heat for my liking and can singe/burn the contenets too easily, so I don't use for frying.

CP

Offline Bob_McBob

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Re: Pots and Pans?
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2006, 01:21 PM »
Can you give me an idea of what to look for (i.e. photos)?  I do have a set of very nice heavy-bottomed stainless steel pots (including the griddle I use for roasting spices), but they are not the sort of shape I consider suitable for cooking curries.  As I said, my primary cooking pan right now is a large deep non-stick frying pan, and I would like to replace it with something better.

The major constraint is that I often have to cook for 6 people, so I am usually doing double quantities of recipes and making huge amounts of food.  Small pans don't cut it around here! :o  I would really love to get something I can slow cook with on gas and maintain even heat distribution, even over low flame.



 

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