The kadai in my kitchen

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Peep into any kitchen in India, and you will see an array of utensils used to prepare various dishes. Whether to roll a simple roti or cook an elaborate cuisine.

Kitchens of India brings to light on how Indian utensils have evolved over the years not forgetting their essential purpose.

We in India use our kadai’s a lot for cooking our traditional food. The clitter clatter sound of the kadchi on the kadai is common in our kitchens.

I was 10 years old when I was introduced to the kitchen. I was extremely fascinated by it. The cooking spoons hanging perfectly on the utensil stand. The glossy iron kadai’s and the shinny brass patilas placed in a height order on the shelves caught my amazement. I would see my mom and my grandmother cook wonders  and get complimented by all. My moms food was always talked about.

We had this beautiful heavy thick based iron kadai and whenever mom put it on the stove I would run with a stool and stand next to her to see the vegetables being tossed. It was my moms favorite kadai and the upkaris and the talasan ( dry vegetable preparations) she would rustle up was a visual treat for me.

Soon enough all the iron kadai’s were replaced by non stick ones as they was the latest fad which were bought from some convincing sales person who gave mom a fabulous deal where she had to exchange her old utensil for a set of new 4 kadai’s and voila !!!!! a non stick dosa tava free.

I was very upset to see the kadai missing when I returned home from school as I had got emotionally attached to it since I had cooked my fist ever dish my favorite potato upkari.

For many years after that the non stick kadai’s was our hero in the kitchen. But somehow mom was not happy as the non stick coating would wear off in a few months making it unhealthy to cook in. She started missing her old iron kadai.

Whenever she would go to the market she would definitely try and look for a good iron kadai. But her search would always go unfruitful till some years back the cast iron kadai’s were reintroduced giving us the old traditional saying that cooking in iron utensils fortifies the food with iron that is so essential to our body.

This feels like the circle of life where it started with the iron kadai and has come back to it again.

On this note I would like to share 2 recipes made in a kadai

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CHICKEN KADAI

Ingredients

1 kg chicken cut into medium pieces

4 medium onions finely chopped

3 medium tomatoes blanched and puréed

1 tsp cumin seeds

5 cloves

7 peppercorns

1″ cinnamon

4 green cardamoms

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp red chili powder

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tbsp garlic paste

4 tbsp oil

1/4 cup cream

Salt to taste

Method:

1) Heat the oil in a kadai and add the cumin seeds, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, and the cardamoms

2) Add the onions to it and add 1 tsp of salt and sauté the onions turn slightly golden.

3) Add the ginger, garlic paste and sauté for a few seconds

4) Add the turmeric and chilli powder and the tomato purée and fry till the oil oozes.

5) Add the chicken and mix it well with the gravy and sauté for 3-4 minutes

6) Add 2 cups of water. Cover and cook till the chicken is done

7) Sprinkle the garam masala powder and mix well

8) Lace it with the fresh cream and serve it hot with parathas

 

BATATYA UPKARI

Ingredients

1/2 kg potatoes peeled and cut into julienes like French fries

1 asp mustard seeds

7-8 dry red chillies broken into two

few curry leaves

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp coconut oil

Salt to taste

Method:

1) heat the oil and add the mustard seeds and once they splutter add the red chillies, turmeric and the curry leaves

2) Add the potatoes and the salt and sauté it well in the oil

3) Cover and cook till the potatoes are done remember to occasionally toss the potatoes to prevent it from burning.

4) Serve it hot with rice and a spicy dal of your choice.

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