- What happens when we cook Indian curries and sauces in a cast iron skillet?
- What foods should never be cooked In cast iron?
1. What happens when we cook Indian curries and sauces in a traditional cast iron skillet?
Because cast iron is reactive, a chemical reaction occurs whenever you expose it to certain foods: small amounts of dietary iron from your skillet can leach, and your food can change colour or develop a metallic flavour. When this happens, you're essentially tasting the cast iron from the skillet. A cast iron skillet adds iron and a different colour and flavour to your veggies. However, if your cookware is well-seasoned then you can easily mitigate this issue.
2. What foods should never be cooked in a traditional Cast Iron Skillet?
Here are a few food items that are not meant to be cooked in a cast iron pan and why.
We generally make omelettes in an iron pan, but ideally, they are meant to be made in a non-stick pan only. The reason is- when you flip the omelette and other egg dishes in an iron pan, they stick to the surface and unintentionally the minute particles of the pan get attached to the dish. This way they spoil the look of the final dish.
In a similar fashion, it is not advisable to cook dishes made with meat that require deglazing with wine or vinegar. As and when such ingredients are added to the non-seasoned pan, they react and result in the leaching of metal into the food, ruining the taste.
A cast iron cookware is definitely not meant for flakey fish fillets. The chances are that the fillets might stick to the pan and the entire dish will be spoiled. According to experts, salmon and tuna steaks are ideal for a cast iron pan, as they are not fragile in nature.
Cooking desserts in a cast iron pan gives the final dish an appealing crispy edge. But, you will be surprised to know that a cast iron pan has a unique feature of absorbing flavours. So, when you cook dessert in a cast iron pan they add some pungent flavour to the dish that is created due to the reaction between the uncooked ingredient and the metal.
We often use cheese in making dishes like macaroni and pasta in a cast iron pan. It is advisable not to cook cheese in an iron pan, as it has the quality of absorbing the flavour of any other strong element. And here, the metal overpowers and disturbs the taste of the final dish.
If you have ever observed on cookery shows or on social media, dishes like pasta are always prepared in a stainless steel pan and not in a cast iron pan. The reason is that cooking acidic ingredients as tomatoes can result in reactions that may result in the ruined flavour of the final dish.
There is a reason cast iron cookware has been so popular in India. Beside the hoopla about its acidic flavour, what we tend to forget is its exceptional heating capacity, which is a fundamental part of Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine attains its scrumptious flavour from the heat exposure- think all those grilled kebabs, deep fried pakoras and samosas. Cast Iron cookware is hands down the best possible metal for cooking. They have zero harmful effects and can hold the nutritional value of your food for you. True, they can induce some metallic taste to the food but this can be underplayed by seasoning the cookware well and avoiding acidic food. Moreover, Indian cuisine is more about spices and high heat cooking rather than wine, vinegar and other acidic food. So, go ahead, and prepare your favourite meal in the cookware that has always been loved and lapped by Indian households.
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