A stone tawa, also known as a stone griddle, is a cooking utensil made from natural stone, typically granite or soapstone. It is a traditional and ancient cookware used in various cultures around the world. The stone tawa is especially popular in India and other South Asian countries, where it is commonly used to cook flatbreads like rotis, parathas, and dosas.
Key features of a Stone Tawa:
- Material: Stone tawas are made from natural stone, most commonly granite or soapstone. These stones are known for their excellent heat retention properties.
- Flat Surface: The tawa has a flat and smooth cooking surface, providing an even and consistent heat distribution.
- Thickness: Stone tawas are usually thick, which helps in retaining heat for a longer time and ensures that the tawa remains hot during the cooking process.
- Traditional Appeal: Stone tawas have a traditional and rustic appeal, connecting with the rich culinary heritage of the regions where they are commonly used.
- Versatility: While primarily used for making flatbreads, a stone tawa can also be used to cook other dishes like pancakes, crepes, and certain types of kebabs.
- Natural Non-Stick Properties: When seasoned and properly maintained, stone tawas can develop a natural non-stick surface. This reduces the need for excessive oil or ghee while cooking.
- Heat Source: Stone tawas are designed to be used on a gas stove or an open flame
How Does A Stone Tawa Look?
The singularity of a stone tawa and the continuity it maintains with time-honored cooking practises are two aspects that contribute to its aesthetic appeal. Stone tawas typically have a natural texture and an earthy colour, both of which contribute to their endearing allure. As a result of the fact that each tawa is individually made by hand from natural stones such as granite or soapstone, there may be subtle differences in the colour and design of each tawa, which makes them truly one-of-a-kind.
How To Use A Stone Tawa?
Using a stone tawa requires a slightly different approach compared to other materials like cast iron or non-stick. It's essential to preheat the stone tawa before cooking, and some tawas may require seasoning before use to enhance their non-stick properties. Additionally, stone tawas should be handled with care, as they are heavier than other types of tawas.
Stone tawas are cherished for their ability to impart a unique flavor to the food and are favored by those who appreciate traditional cooking methods. The slow and steady heat transfer of a stone tawa allows for the creation of beautifully cooked flatbreads with a natural smoky essence, adding to the overall taste and authenticity of the dishes prepared on it.
What Can You Cook On A Stone Tawa?
Stone tawas, also known as stone griddles, have several uses in the kitchen due to their unique properties and versatility. Here are some common uses of a stone tawa:
- Cooking Flatbreads: The primary use of a stone tawa is to cook various types of flatbreads, such as rotis, chapatis, parathas, and naans. The even heat distribution and natural non-stick properties of the stone tawa make it ideal for achieving perfectly cooked and soft flatbreads.
- Making Dosas: Stone tawas are popularly used to make dosas, a type of Indian pancake. The slow and steady heat transfer of the stone ensures that dosas cook uniformly and develop a crispy texture.
- Preparing Uttapam: Uttapam, a savory South Indian pancake made from fermented batter, is another dish that can be cooked on a stone tawa. The stone surface provides the right heat for achieving a well-cooked and golden-brown uttapam.
- Roasting Papads and Poppadoms: Stone tawas are excellent for roasting papads (thin Indian wafers) and poppadoms. The flat and hot surface evenly roasts these items without the need for excessive oil.
- Cooking Certain Kebabs and Tikka: Some kebabs and tikka dishes can be cooked on a stone tawa. The stone's heat retention allows for even cooking and the development of a slight smoky flavor.
- Preparing Pancakes and Crepes: Stone tawas can be used to make pancakes and crepes, similar to a regular griddle. The stone surface ensures even heat distribution for perfectly cooked pancakes.
- Dry Roasting Spices: Stone tawas are additionally suitable for the dry roasting of spices. The stone's consistent heat prevents the spices from catching fire while simultaneously enhancing their flavours.
- Searing Vegetables and Meats: Stone tawas can be used to sear vegetables and meats quickly. The hot stone surface allows for a nice caramelization of the outer layer.
- Keeping Food Warm: Due to their heat retention properties, stone tawas can also be used to keep cooked food warm before serving.
Is It Easy To Cook On A Stone Tawa?
Cooking on a stone tawa can be a bit different compared to cooking on other tawas like non-stick or stainless steel. It may require a slight adjustment to your cooking techniques and practices. Here are some considerations regarding the ease of cooking on a stone tawa compared to other tawas:
- Heat Retention: Stone tawas have excellent heat retention properties, which means they stay hot for a longer time compared to other materials. This can be advantageous as it provides consistent heat during cooking, but it also requires a bit of attention to prevent overcooking or burning the food.
- Preheating: Stone tawas should be preheated properly before cooking. They take slightly longer to heat up compared to non-stick or stainless steel tawas. Preheating ensures that the tawa reaches the right temperature for even cooking.
- Seasoning: Some stone tawas need to be seasoned first so that their surface becomes naturally non-stick. In order to achieve a surface that is both smooth and slick, the tawa needs to be oiled and then heated before the seasoning process can begin. Before you can start cooking, this step could add a little bit more time to the preparation process.
- Natural Non-Stick Properties: Once properly seasoned, stone tawas develop a natural non-stick surface. This can make flipping dosas or parathas relatively easier without the need for excessive oil or ghee.
- Cooking Techniques: The slow and steady heat transfer of a stone tawa requires adjusting your cooking techniques. For example, when making dosas, you might need to spread the batter more quickly as the tawa retains heat and cooks the dosa batter faster.
- Weight: Stone tawas are generally heavier than non-stick or stainless steel tawas. This might require a bit of effort while lifting or moving the tawa.
While cooking on a stone tawa might have a learning curve, many people find it a rewarding experience due to the unique flavor it imparts to the food and the traditional appeal it brings to the cooking process. Once you get used to the stone tawa's characteristics and adjust your cooking techniques, you can enjoy the benefits of even heat distribution and the natural non-stick properties it offers.
Ultimately, the ease of cooking on a stone tawa depends on your familiarity with the material and your comfort in using traditional cookware. If you appreciate the traditional cooking methods and the flavor it adds to your dishes, cooking on a stone tawa can be a delightful experience.