Ditch that non-stick pan!

For most of us, non stick cookware is something that we cannot think of cooking without. It makes our lives much easier, we think, as the chances of 'failure' is much lower in cooking with a non stick pan and also that you can actually end up using very little or no oil while cooking as it is perceived to be healthy. For people like me who tried their hands on cooking only after getting married, non stick did come as a saviour and I am one of those who happily bought a nice, branded set of pans for a good offer at Carrefour. My mother in law was awed by my culinary experiments when I tried different types of pancakes and dosas that would come out as perfectly as possible, just because of that non stick griddle or tawa as what they call in India.

But that didn't last for long. When I went home for vacations, I realized how different was the taste of a much thicker dosa made from a traditional cast iron griddle. Not just that, the food did have a different, homely flavour which might be attributed to the use of fresh vegetables and water, I noticed that the cookware also plays an important role in giving the food its taste. My mom used to say that she was never allowed to use the electric mixer grinder for grinding the masalas by her mother in law and would only grind them from a pestle and mortar for its flavour. I have read about the possible side effects of using a non stick pan and that the layer of non stick coating can actually peel off with a prolonged use, but didn't pay much attention to it until I realized these things during my vacation.

The dangers of using non stick pans is more than what we think-Perfluorooctanoic acid, commonly known as PFOA or C8, the chemical with which the coating is made of is not only proved to be carcinogenic (something that causes cancer), but also increases the cholesterol levels of people, according to the Environmental Working Group! Now think of those people who use non stick for avoiding oil in their diet: they invite more danger than any good just by the use of this cookware! Teflon coated pans releases toxic fumes just within five minutes of heating, and imagine consuming the delicious food we cook with them! The dangers are not just limited to cancer and increasing cholesterol levels, but cooking with these things are also linked to many side effects including organ damage and so on. 

These factors made me assured of one thumb rule that I try to follow in eating consciously- to avoid anything that has been introduced to our food system as a result of industrialization. Now you may ask what about things that are almost inevitable and crucial- like the electric mixer/grinder, ovens and stoves. Yes, I do use these things as they don't actually change the way the food is being cooked- just that the traditional method of cooking is always better (those who have tasted food made from firewood will tell you!). Right now, I have no place for microwave ovens and non stick pans in my kitchen.

So what do I use? I use hard anodized indolium and steel cookware, which are commonly used in India- though there are some disputes regarding its usage. However, my favourite is the clay cookware- not the polished/glazed ones, but the ordinary looking ones which gives the food its earthy flavour. I bought them from LuLu Hypermarket in Dubai and I guess they are available in all the branches. Clay pots are also used to store water back home, especially during summer as it is believed to chill the water naturally and remove certain amounts of toxins. Apart from the flavour, cooking with clay pots is believed to give certain health benefits, as it has been used for centuries. 

It is better late than never. Please ditch your non stick pans and save yourself from unwanted danger!



  1. Did you read my Mind?? Just a month ago, I did the same....I bought indolium tawa...sure I am using more oil... But it is lesser harm. Buying clay??? OMG..I haven't gone that extent...

    1. It tastes much better right? I use a lot of ghee for my dosais (ok, just a teaspoon won't harm, I am sure) and it tastes delicious. I was using clay pot for making fish curry initially and now I bought another one in which I make other dishes as well. You should try that soon insha Allah :)

  2. Same blood. Initially I used non-stick pans, when cooking itself was a tiring job; they were needed for easier and faster cooking. But when I found the coating slowly disappearing even after careful usage, I became conscious and slowly changed to indolium/aluminium. But now I am using more stainless steel, cast iron and clay vessels.

    Using these may seem to require oil more, but we can restrict a lot when we get used. Also use more unrefined gingelly oil or coconut oil. :-)

    1. That was also one of the reasons why I stopped using non stick pans. By the way, I use coconut and gingelly oil and ghee for regular cooking too. But where do you get them unrefined?

  3. Nice info..will try these clay pots soon !saw these in Lulu hypermarket but not sure about cooking curries in that,but now I will surely try.

    1. Yeah, you should try them soon. Make sure you fill it with water and leave it overnight before you start using them. Thanks for stopping by, :)


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