How to season kalchatti, Seasoning soap stone pot.How to use kalchatti and how to maintain it.
Kalchatti or Makkalchatti is a pot made by carving soapstones.It is a traditional cookware used to make sambar, curries, keerai kootu ,aviyal, vatha kuzhambu,paruppu urundai kuzhambu etc.It is a heavy vessel which retains heat for a long time which avoids reheating.Initially it is grey in color after seasoning and cooking for a while it turns black.The main specialty of this is cooking slowly and evenly, you can switch off the flame 5 mins before the final dish is done as it will continue to cook even after the flame is switch off(atleast for 5 mins).
These chattis smaller ones can be used to make curd, store pickles etc.
It was my dream to own this kalchatti since a year, finally found it in a local shop here in Coimbatore near airport forgot the shop whereabts as I missed the cover.They had both seasoned and new soapstone pots,I bought a new one as I wanted to season it myself but they were kind enough to tell me the entire process of how to season kalchatti for first time use.It is sure a tiring process yes it takes 10 days to season kalchatti and maintaining it is also a task as it is soo heavy.
I bought this kalchatti few months back, seasoned and kept it ready for use.But few weeks back got this small soapstone curd pot from a local exhibition along with a mortar pestle which I’ve used here.So had to do this curd pot seasoning separately though the shopkeeper told if you are planning to use it only as a curd pot then no need of seasoning but in case later if you plan to keep on flame then you need to, so to be on the safer side I seasoned it too.
Kalchatti is 500 Rs, Curd pot is 300 Rs and Mortar pestle is 100 Rs.I have heard these makkalchattis are very cheap in srirangam and madurai, if you get to go there do try to find the source.
I have just started using this kalchatti, it takes time to get heated as its so heavy but once heated you can simmer the flame, it gets cooked faster.The flavour of cooking in these vessels is so good that you need to try it out and see.
How to use kalchatti and to maintain it.
- Seasoning process is aminly for durability and to avoid cracks while cooking.
- Wait for the pot to come to room temperature then soak and wash.Also after cooking do not pour water at once, the sudden change in temperature may lead to cracks.So wait for it to cool down for a while then soak in water and then wash.
- Cooking in claypots needs patience and practice as it takes time to get heated.And even after switching off the stove you can see it boiling that is the main specialty of claypots.
It works in gas stoves and will not work in induction not sure of other heat sources.
- Do not use any soap for washing.Use only rice flour or besan flour.
- Atleast for first few uses do not use high flame cooking.
- Do not heat an empty pot.Overheating the pot may lead to cracks so its better to maintain low medium flame while cooking.
- Do not let food dry out completely while cooking, either add oil or water according to the dish you make.
How to season kalchatti for first time use:
- Take castor oil in a plate, add turmeric powder to it.There is no measurement as such just mix and see it should be in spreadable consistency more like a runny paste.
- First lay a old newspaper ,place the soapstone pot on it.Using your fingers take little of the mixed castor oil turmeric paste.
- Apply on all sides.Make sure to spread even at the bottom which is important.
- If needed add more castor oil and turmeric powder and make a paste then spread.Let it dry in sun for a day.Next day repeat the same process.Mix castor oil turmeric powder paste and apply.So the castor oil turmeric powder process should be done and dried for 5 days in total repeatedly.Keep applying without washing in between.
- After 5 days wash it with hot water.Using a scrubber scrub it well to remove the oil.
- Then wash it well.Soak in starch water for the next 5 days.Change the starch water daily.If starch isn’t enough for the chatti to immerse fully then add rice rinsed water along with starch water.But make sure the pot is fully immersed.
- After the last 5 days, wash with mild soap, scrub well and wash it.This is the first and last time you are going to use soap for washing as there are pores even in kalchatti you should not use soaps for washing regularly.
- Wash well dry it completely for a day.Heat should be introduced slowly so simmer and boil water first.Switch off cool down and dry it, now your kalchatti is ready to start cooking.I first started with payasam as usual my sweet sentiment for new vessels 🙂 The chatti becomes dark in color after the seasoning process.
How to maintain kalchatti
- Now after cooking, switch off.After transferring the dishes, soak in water for atleast 15-20 mins.In case if you have time then heat up the chatti along with soaked water for 5mins then bring to room temperature and scrub it.I usually just soak and wash.First scrub with coconut scrapper alone and wash well.
- Then add besan flour, scrub it well and wash it well.Dry it in sun until completely dried.Then store it.
Dry completely and then store.
This is how it looks when you buy, it is light grey in color.