Everyone knows that cooking in cast iron utensils is immensely beneficial. Not only does it enhance the flavour, but also fortifies the food with iron. Moreover, they are cheap and extremely durable too.
But many don’t prefer to use cast iron cookware because it is comparatively harder to maintain. After all, no one likes to find their pan all rusted when they are about to cook. Some also complain that food stick onto the pan so badly that the dish is practically ruined.
The one-stop solution to both these problems is to season the cast iron cookware properly. And we will explore how.
How To Season Cast Iron Kadai, Pan and Other Cookwares?
Here we describe how to periodically season a pre-seasoned cast iron cookware.
- Wash your cast iron cookware with mild dish wash liquid and scrub.
- Heat the cookware on low flame on a stovetop and dry it completely.
- Apply a coating of oil. You can use any vegetable oil. We usually use coconut oil or gingelly oil. Some experts suggest seasoning with flaxseed oil is the best.
- You can either use a silicon oil brush to apply the oil. It is easier and mess-free. Or else, pour a few drops of oil on the utensil and take a clean cotton roll or cloth and spread it evenly.
- Keep the cookware on low flame for about 10 to 15 minutes. Apply more oil in between if it has been absorbed by the utensil.
- Now your seasoned cast iron cookware is ready for use.
How to Make Your Cast Iron Cookware Non-Stick?
Every time you use your cast iron cookware, wash it, apply a coat of vegetable oil and heat it for 10 to 15 minutes on low flame. This will reduce food sticking onto your cast iron cookware.
You might not be able to make your cast iron cookware absolutely non-stick like a Teflon pan. But it can come close enough if you use oil for cooking.
So, if you plan to make Dosa or Uttapam, keep the oil-coated cast iron tawa on low flame and then go about making your chutney. By the time you are done, the tawa will be seasoned well enough that dosa doesn’t stick on it.
Do note that you will have to apply a coating of oil every time you pour the batter on the tawa.
How To Season An Unseasoned Cast Iron Cookware?
Nowadays, you can buy pre-seasoned cast iron cookware from Amazon. But honestly, they cost 2-3 times of unseasoned cookware.
If you would like to save some bucks, and if you have enough time and patience, you could buy an unseasoned cast iron cookware from the local market and season it at home. Here are the step by step instructions.
- Scrub the cast iron cookware with thoroughly using dish wash liquid and clean it.
- Boil any leafy vegetable like spinach, amaranth leaves or even curry leaves in the cast iron cookware. This helps remove any embedded dirt or residue from the cookware.
- Wash the cookware once again with soapy water.
- Now, keep the cookware on low flame and dry it thoroughly.
- Once it cools down, apply a thin coating of vegetable oil ( flax seed oil preferred) all over the cookware. Take care to coat the inside as well as outside.
- Now heat the cookware on low flame for about 15 to 30 minutes.
- In between, if you notice that the oil has been absorbed by the cookware, apply more oil.
- After 30 minutes, you will notice a smooth, shiny black layer on your cookware. This means your cast iron cookware is ready for use.
How To Care For Your Cast Iron Cookware?
- Do not put your cast iron cookware in a wet sink. It could deteriorate the seasoning and lead to rusting.
- Always Clean your cast iron cookware with mild dish wash liquid and scrub and dry it thoroughly by heating it on the stovetop. Avoid air-drying.
- Immediately after drying the cast iron cookware, apply a thin layer of oil before you store it in the kitchen shelf. This preserves the seasoning and prevents rusting. Wash the utensil thoroughly before using so that any dust/dirt captured by the oil doesn’t contaminate your food.
- As much as possible, avoid cooking acidic food in the cast iron cookware. It is alright if you cook a Chicken or a Paneer curry with a tomato once in a while. But if you cook an acidic gravy frequently or if you slow cook an acidic curry, it will deteriorate the seasoning and lead to a metallic taste in the food.