Kalchatti, Maakalchatti (மாக்கல் சட்டி) is a naturally occuring softstone, handcrafted/ carved by rural Artisans without any machine assistance. Soapstone cookware will be the pride of any kitchen and are antique collector’s delight.
These soapstone pots are mostly used in southern states of India. They are called by various names as “Ratichippa” in Telugu (rati-stone, chippa-cooking pot) and “Kalchatti” in Tamil.
Kalchatti’s neutralise the pH balance of acidic food items enhancing their nutritional value. The porous nature helps to circulate the heat and moisture through the pot while cooking which in turn enhances the flavours.
A well seasoned soapstone cookware is a treasured possession, passed on by grandmothers to the younger generations. Not all of us have the heirloom cookware, so we get tempted to buy our own.
I was eyeing on various online stores but stepped back because of the huge price. Finally found it in a local shop here in Madurai at a very cheaper price 😜👍🏼
Unlike normal cookware, a new kalchatti needs special care (i.e, seasoning process) before using on gas stove. The new ones appear light grey in colour and get a dark, blackish shade with seasoning/use.
Heating the vessel without seasoning may result in breakage or cracking. There are a couple of traditional methods of seasoning. Even after seasoning, the kalchatti should be introduced gently and slowly into daily cooking.
Kalchattis are thick and heavy walled, retain heat for a longer time hence you can switch off the flame 5 mins before the final dish is done. And another good part is that, food cooked in kalchattis stay good for the next day as well without refrigeration.
Guys, if you wanna experience the traditional flavour of cooking then head out to buy the kalchatti and get seasoned by yourself with the detailed (step by step) process as given below:-
Click this link for the video version of seasoning process.
Day 1 – Day 5:
Clean the surface of the Kalchatti thoroughly using a cloth or dry tissue. Make a paste with turmeric powder and castor oil. Apply this paste evenly on both sides using your fingers or brush. Let it dry it for a day.
Repeat the process for five days without washing in between.
After five days, kalchatti turns pitch black in colour.
Wipe excess turmeric paste with a cloth. Rinse well with hot water. Let it dry for a day.
Day 6 – Day 9:
Soak it in starch water. Make sure that the kalchatti is fully immersed (If starch water isn’t enough, feel free to use rice rinsed water).
Change the starch water daily and repeat it for next three days.
Wash with mild soap and scrub well. Rinse thoroughly with plain water.
Fill the kalchatti with water and boil it on low flame. When it starts to bubble, switch off the flame and cool completely.
Now the kalchatti is ready to be used for making mouth watering dishes.
Cleaning kalchatti after cooking:
Wipe the food residue with a tissue paper/ soft cloth. Fill the kalchatti with water and boil it until the residue starts to float. Once cooled, discard it and rinse it well with plain water.
- Starch water: The excess water while boiling rice in a pot.
- Do not use any soap for washing. If it turns oily, use either rice flour or besan flour only.
- Use on a low flame and don’t let the water dry while cooking.
- Periodically oil it and leave overnight and wash it in the morning.