With time, Curry pots have evolved into several unique styles; which makes it possible to cook various dishes in a single pot. Due to their wide use, curry pots hold a very important place in Indian culinary tradition. They were originally introduced by Portuguese settlers during early 16th century. Back then, they used earthenware cooking equipment imported from Europe to prepare Sambar with meat and fish. Later on, Indian cooks started using those utensils for preparing vegetarian curries as well.
Curry pots, popularly known as 'Kulukki Chembu' in Kerala, is a prominent part of every Malayali household. The cuisine of Kerala cannot be imagined without a curry pot. These pots are crafted with special care and are one-of-a-kind, as they’re made by only hand and are made in various sizes to prepare different gravies like sambar, rasam, egg curry, etc. It is made from earthen clay and fired in Chulha. Each pot is unique, it adds character to the food prepared in it.
How to Clean:
For general and deep cleaning, allow the earthen pot to soak overnight in the sink in water mixed with baking soda. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda per liter of hot water. Wash the pot with a soft bristle brush or nonmetallic scrubbing pad. Do not use abrasive scouring powders because they will clog the pores and make the pot useless. Salt/ash can be used as a non-toxic alternative to chemical cleaners. Sprinkle salt/ash into the pot and scour it using a scouring pad. Rinse the pot with warm water and allow it to dry.
If any mold forms during storage periods sprinkle baking soda inside the pot, then rinse with warm water using a brush to remove the mold. If clay pores become clogged, the pot should be cooked in boiling water for about 30 minutes.
Never use soap or detergent because the porous nature of clay will absorb the soap. The detergent may leave an unpleasant soapy taste and this flavor will leach back into your next clay pot meal.
After washing, make sure to store your earthenware in dry and well-ventilated areas. This will eliminate the risk of mold growth inside the pot.
If bacterial growth is of concern, dry the pots in a 200°F oven for 30 minutes before storing in a cool, dry place.