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Back to the stone age – Bangalore – The Hindu |

Back to the stone age – Bangalore – The Hindu

The taste of
pappu pulusu
(lentils cooked in tamarind juice) that antique collector Y Krishnamurthy’s mother used to make in a
(stone cooking pot) still lingers on his tongue. In fact, even today, Sunday lunch at his household is incomplete without traditional Andhra dishes prepared in a stone pot that has been in the family for over three generations. “Food cooked in such vessels is enriched with the minerals of the respective stone or metal. This is why many families in the old days used to eat on silver plates,” says Hyderabad-based Murthy, recalling how rice was also cooked earlier in brass vessels.

As people grow more aware of the dangers of modern cookware — nickel and chromium leeching from stainless steel pots, BPA in plastics leaking into foods — traditional materials like copper, iron, stone and clay are making a comeback into Indian kitchens. And addressing this growing demand are a range of brands specialising in heirloom cookware. Like Bengaluru-based Namu Kini’s two-month-old online store,, which has a range of cast iron and
(bronze) kitchenware. “There’s a lot that revolves around food in Indian culture, and these metals have a story to tell. Not only do they make your meal look beautiful, they have an Ayurvedic, therapeutic advantage,” says Kini, who switched from non-stick to metal a few years ago, in her effort to get healthy. However, she advises that people check a vessel’s authenticity. “Many online shopping sites sell cast iron kitchenware with Teflon coating, and many aren’t aware of that,” says Kini, whose range, sourced from Tamil Nadu, is in the Rs. 600 to Rs. 3,000 range.

Meanwhile. Murthy, who actively blogs on, shares that he gets numerous e-mails from people who are wary of the carcinogenic properties of plastic and Teflon-coated utensils, and want to set up a traditional kitchen. While he admits that maintaining the vessels might be time-consuming (articles abound on how to season and store such cookware), over time the benefits show.

If you are looking at revisiting these forgotten materials and wondering what and where to pick them up from, this list of stores and brands should help.

Longpi Black Pottery, Manipur

  • Handcrafted with ground and powdered Serpentine and weathered rocks, it’s a unique craft practised by potters in the Nungbi Khullen village. All products are ideal to slow cook meat and lentils, and also to store food. 100% biodegradable and microwave-safe, they can be used on gas stoves and over firewood, too.

    No machines are used in the making process. On, in the Rs. 400 to Rs. 2,000 range.

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