Cooking with Cast Iron— Brutal Pleasure for a Chef……
As a chef you always look for new ways of doing things, rather, better ways of cooking things in your
kitchen. It is always fascinating to cook using the latest and the modern cookware whether its
non-stick appliances or anodized cook wares, etc…….
Recently I started taking a keen interest in Vedic ways of cooking or in layman’s parlance, Ayurvedic
Cuisine. While studying this very scientific and natural cuisine, I looked up on the cookware used for
cooking the healthy Ayurvedic foods. One of them was cast iron. Cast iron cookware was the cooking
utensil of choice for our forefathers; it was readily available, inexpensive, extremely versatile, and
However, cooking in cast iron or for that matter any iron cookware was always looked as “desi”
During my early professional years, except for Kadhai used for frying, iron cookware was looked
down upon in Modern Kitchens. Growing up as chef… we were more focused on hygiene and
sanitation in cooking and hence iron cookware were always relegated to least and last of the
options…Rust, maintenance, bulkiness and heavy weight were some of the reasons for not using
I recently bought a set of Earthenware and Cast Iron Cooking vessels at my home. Again after the
initial excitement of learning how to use them and seasoning them for the next use, they were back
in some corner in the kitchen… not used at all!!
This pandemic break has really come as a blessing in disguise as I started exploring many ingenuous
methods at home.
Now as of yesterday, I made use of all the cast iron cookware, the indomitable tawa (skillet), the
frying pan, the kadhai and even the small deep round spoon used for tempering!!
The occasion was my daughter’s 25th Birthday!!
So had to cook something special for dinner… here we go…
made some watermelon cooler,
Herbed Grilled Chicken in the cast iron fry pan, here is the video…
Layonnaise Potatoes with cheese in the cast iron kadhai and
And my wife made some wonderful Dosa’s using the Cast Iron skillet in the morning.
Let me tell you…. It’s such a pleasure cooking on Cast Iron…. You get wonderful texture and aroma
from your food… you will love the way your food comes out… with minimum of fat…
If you follow the strict rules of how to use cast iron cookware, it’s as easy as using a non-stick pan…
that’s the first takeaway…
I will link you to some great links which will tell you how to take care of your Cast Iron Cookware…
Second you have to control your heat... things can really go wrong if you do not.. although it’s a
misconception that cast iron heats evenly…. there are cold spots… but clear advantage is once
heated, the heat stays there for a long time…
This metal cookware has many varieties. Types of cast iron cookware include:
Kadla (Tempering Spoon)
Advantages of Cooking with Cast Iron Cookware
The recent resurgence of the gourmet cooking has got the use of cast iron cookware back in trend.
Cast iron is versatile enough to fry, sear, bake, saute, and more, all in the same piece of cookery. It
can be used over a gas flame or on an electric stovetop, in an oven to bake/broil, or over an open
fire. Over time cast iron will develop its own non-stick coating if kept properly seasoned without the
use of chemicals. (Commercial coatings on non-stick pans, such as Teflon, may leech into food
particularly during high heat applications.) When you use cast iron cookware with proper care, it
should last a lifetime or more. I will definitely recommend it to you as “must” in your kitchen.
Disadvantages of Cooking with Cast Iron
It is a fact that cast iron is heavy and may not be manageable for some, especially those with
arthritis and other joint problems. Cast iron will easily rust if left wet even overnight and so must be
completely dry except when in use. Finally, care must be taken when cleaning cast iron (and is
approached somewhat differently than modern cookware), as it is possible to remove the
“seasoning” which gives it its non-stick surface.