Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New babies!

These are a recent addition to the family. They came home with us on a recent trip to India.

They are a joy to behold, but need a lot of TLC. They have to be handled gently and you have be careful not to break their hearts or use any harshness with them. They are like little sponges and will soak everything in. Work with them and treat them well and gradually their rough edges will smoothen out and they will acquire a smooth polished sheen.

They are very old-fashioned and charming and people are very enamoured when they see them. Lavish love and care on them and you will be gratified by their performance.

Pay attention to them, take pride in them, coax the best out of them - and they will be with you forever.

These little beauties are the latest addition to our cookware family! Yes, I love them almost as much as my other babies!


kalchatti_closeup

stone cooking pots: Kalchatti


This is my collection of "Kalchatti"s or soapstone pots. The darker colored ones are inherited and the gray ones are new that I bought from a street-side vendor in Chennai.

I believe they are made out of soapstone, which is very soft stone. The art of making Kalchattis is a dying artform and these chattis are not available in stores that I checked out in Chennai. Perhaps they are available in other parts of Tamilnadu/Kerala.

When they are new, they are a pale gray in color and are very porous. They have to be seasoned with salt or repeatedly rinsed in starchy water - such as the water from washing rice - to close the pores. When they are seasoned, they turn dark in color and also become denser. The pores get sealed and they become less absorbent.

The flavor of cooking in these stone vessels in unbelievable. Vathral Kolumbu, Avial, Molagootal, Mor Kozhambu - all traditional south indian staples, are all elevated to a sublime experience when they are cooked in this vessel.

kalchatti

Kalchattis - another view




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58 Comments:

At Tue Sep 26, 07:12:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Priya S&S said...

Those chattis are beautiful !!! Is this the same stone in which they make "attangal" and "ammikal" ?

 
At Tue Sep 26, 07:27:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saffron, reveal thy name!!
Your "kalchatti" blog popped up while I was reading your "masaal" post. Very interesting post that brought back my own memories of sambar made in a kalchatti. It retains heat for a very long time; that is the advantage of cooking in it. Avial tastes too good too! By the way priya, the ammikal is solid granite.
Vijaya

 
At Tue Sep 26, 08:49:00 PM 2006, Blogger Latha said...

Never heard of these Saffron! But I am a sucker for tradition and these look divine! Waiting for some delicious home cooked food dished out in these babies :-)
Cheers
Latha

 
At Tue Sep 26, 08:58:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They look swwweeeet! I'm sure i would've never thought of this. If i had to lug something from India, i'd have lugged a few more boxes of sweets ;)

Sandhya
PS: Missed you an awful lot. Glad you're back!

 
At Tue Sep 26, 11:44:00 PM 2006, Blogger Meena Kandlakuti said...

great collection...thanks for sharing

 
At Wed Sep 27, 02:03:00 AM 2006, Blogger Vaishali said...

Thanks for this post on Chattis, SH. I came to know about them only through food blogs; didn't know about them before. Would like to see how the new ones look once they are well-seasoned. :)

 
At Wed Sep 27, 02:13:00 AM 2006, Blogger sher said...

Ahh!! I saw some soapstone pots the other day and almost bought them. Now I regret passing them by!

 
At Wed Sep 27, 06:05:00 AM 2006, Blogger Foodie's Hope said...

They are adorable!! I like old things as well as old recipes!! They are precious and take care of them , yeah!! like babies!! :D

 
At Wed Sep 27, 06:35:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW ..How did you manage to get them in the suitcases !! They look so adorable. I would love to adopt one into my family too ;-)

 
At Wed Sep 27, 06:54:00 AM 2006, Blogger Krithika said...

Lavish love and care ???? You have a lot of patience. Eeya chombu and now chattis. How much do they weigh ? Love these traditional stuff.

 
At Wed Sep 27, 07:14:00 AM 2006, Blogger Prema Sundar said...

Chattis look great.. In my native place my grandma cooks lot of dishes in manchatti.. they taste lovely.. especially fish kuzhambu.
but i haven't seen people using them though i have heard abt it.
so will be looking forward to the recipes u cook in this..

 
At Wed Sep 27, 07:31:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Saffron,
I forgot to mention that I tried out your banana nut muffin recipe and it turned out great. Thank you soo much for that :-)

 
At Wed Sep 27, 09:56:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They look great SH. My only question is, they look very heavy..how did you manage to bring them?

 
At Wed Sep 27, 11:59:00 AM 2006, Blogger Terri said...

Wow, SH, I take it these babies don't melt under fire.

At this rate, the next time around, you'll be bringing an old-fashioned ural in your luggage, while your fellow passengers lug around Ultra grinders in their trolleys.

Wait, maybe you already have! I won't be surprised.

 
At Wed Sep 27, 01:22:00 PM 2006, Blogger shammi said...

Wow, Saffron! My list of things to bring back from India grows by the day! Can you use these chattis directly on a gas hob, or just on electric hot plates?

 
At Wed Sep 27, 02:20:00 PM 2006, Blogger DilipUK said...

Never seen these kalchatti thingies before Saffron. The New babies look great though.

Hey I am new blogger and love your site.

 
At Wed Sep 27, 05:33:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen vendors selling these kalchattis as well as small toys made from the same soapstones inside the famous TN temples. My mom used to buy "soppus" - these are toy sets for little girls from those vendors when I was young. This is the first time that I have seen anyone cook with them though. I know what to buy next time my mother takes me on a darshan tour of ancient temples in faraway places in TN.

 
At Wed Sep 27, 09:20:00 PM 2006, Blogger vasilisa said...

These are gorgeous!

Can they be used in a regular stove?

Please post something cooked in them. So curious to see the results!

 
At Thu Sep 28, 01:50:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anita said...

At this rate, MY list of things to get from down south is going to grow! But if you could lug those all the way to the US of A, don't think I will have any excuse not to.
Nice post.

 
At Thu Sep 28, 05:37:00 AM 2006, Blogger prachi said...

wao!!great stone collection...
andif im not wrong they are basically used for making chuttnies....

 
At Thu Sep 28, 06:41:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

All, thanks for welcoming my new babies.

To answer some of the questions:

- yes, they are heavy, but I could find other things to sacrifice to accomodate these in my luggage :)

- I do have an uruli that I use for decorative purposes. Haven't tried cooking in it yet. As for lugging it all the way from India, hey, what are husbands for???

- They can be used directly on a gas fire.

- Unlike the eeya chombu, they don't melt. They are prone to cracking if not seasoned well before use and if dropped on a hard surface.

- They retain heat for a long time, so cooking times have to be adjusted accordingly.

I will post some recipes soon!

 
At Thu Sep 28, 07:42:00 AM 2006, Blogger Nandita said...

SH,
There are a couple in my grandmom's kitchen, and I;ve been EYEING them...Haha, you bet Mor Kozhambu tastes divine in this! Once I have a huge kitchen, I'm going to collect stuff, one each from all the oldies goldies in my family and make my own collection.

In a Mexican restaurant in NYC, Dos Kaminos, I was amazed to see a similar stone mini aatukkal kinda chatti in which they served guacamole...sucker for such traditional stuff.

 
At Thu Sep 28, 01:38:00 PM 2006, Blogger Lakshmi said...

nice cute ones SH

 
At Fri Sep 29, 06:51:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! I had only heard about these! Wow!

 
At Sat Sep 30, 05:26:00 AM 2006, Blogger Mahek said...

hi
saffron
did you carry these all the way from india didnt you have custom problems...
they are so good i watch this programm called kylie wyong in india and she always uses this sort of stone crusher.
it looks good in the kitchen
you should click it on your kitchen counter too.
i had said this in your earlier post
"pls tell me where do you get all your vessels in the US they are so traditional and apt for the dishes that you make
you know i love crockery, vessels may they be of any metal so whenever i read a cookbook i also see what type of vessels they use and you have lovely terracotta pots too.
do you carry all the stuff from india "
for which i have not received an answer.
bye

 
At Sun Oct 01, 06:27:00 PM 2006, Anonymous RP said...

For a moment I thought you had a new baby. Hey the title said "new babies", so I thoguth you had twins!! :) Ah! your new pots are as cute as babies.

 
At Mon Oct 02, 12:14:00 AM 2006, Blogger Menu Today said...

Hi SH,
Lovely "Kalchatti". My MIL makes keerai masial in this.

 
At Mon Oct 02, 11:20:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

Nandita He He, I bet you will have a lovely collection. Mexican restaurant? really? wow!

Mahek Yes, a lot of my stuff is from India. I do pick up stuff at local stores too...if it is within my budget. The ones that are not, I just drool over the catalogs :(
Customs is not an issue at all. They don't have a problem with utensils and cookware.

RP :) :)

MT Keerai Masial hmm? I should give that a try after this crazy spinach scare is over.

 
At Mon Oct 02, 01:31:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Hema said...

Kalchattis, iiya chombu, what else have you got there? Did ur husband know they were in the luggage? Mine would have left me behind if I had even mentioned getting one of these.

 
At Tue Oct 03, 11:26:00 AM 2006, Blogger Chandrika said...

Wow! I already have a huge list of things I need to get from India and you have tempted me into adding these beautiful babies to it...!! They are so traditional and authentic! Looking forward to some good old recipes cooked out of the chattis... :-)

 
At Wed Oct 04, 08:09:00 AM 2006, Blogger sudha said...

Hey you bought that all the way from India..WOW should really appreciate your effort and your enthu to cook.

 
At Wed Oct 04, 08:17:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

Hi! Thanks for your visit!so...we've got the same name!
Compliments for your blog...really nice posts! I come back soon to visit you!!baci, Saffron

 
At Wed Oct 04, 11:14:00 AM 2006, Anonymous mandira said...

you new babies are adorable... and picture perfect. :) looking forward to new recipes with them.

 
At Wed Oct 04, 01:02:00 PM 2006, Blogger Kitchenmate said...

wow, kalchatti's.looks cool... looks very adorable and even leave them as decorative ones..just beautiful:)

 
At Wed Oct 11, 07:59:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Linda said...

Hi SH -- what lovely stoneware! I bet it was well worth the weight. Anxious to see your finished dish in one sometime :)

 
At Fri Oct 13, 10:27:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have never seen such lovely pictures of indian dishes in my life :-) really mouthwatering every time i look at them...

rr

 
At Sun Nov 05, 03:38:00 PM 2006, Blogger Kay said...

Wow! I've seen this back home. Mom used to make maavadu and store in this black vessel, but we didnt cook in it. I've had my doubts if it's the so-called kalchatti(have read about the lip-smacking goodiness of vattal kulambu made in kalchatti), but never really knew that we have had such a treasure at home. Thanks a million, dear Saffron!

And one BIG question, how do you season it? Same way you season a cast-iron pan?

 
At Sun Nov 05, 03:39:00 PM 2006, Blogger Kay said...

and yes, the last time I looked, in a kitchen gadget store, they had french stone cookware at a ginormous price :o

 
At Wed Feb 07, 12:31:00 AM 2007, Blogger Anjali said...

SH gosh you actually took them there! How energy efficient are they? Because I tried making bhakri on terracotta tava and retired it after I saw the heat consumption.

 
At Wed Feb 14, 01:01:00 PM 2007, Blogger A Yunus said...

Saffron,

Basically how do you cook in these? I have seen people cooking in 'Mann chattis' but never in these pots. Do you have any idea? Also...I am having some authentic stone items backhome, how do you bring these to US? You got it shipped or took with u in flight?

 
At Tue Mar 04, 08:41:00 AM 2008, Blogger Foodie Mamma said...

hey saffron, your kalchatti blog has made me want one of these beauties. Where in chennai did you pick these up? I have also been dreaming of an Eeya patram ever since I smelled the rasam made by my aunt in this holy vessel. I plan to buy myself these goodies this week. Please enlighten about the whereabouts of the creator of the kalchatti.

 
At Tue Mar 03, 10:24:00 AM 2009, Anonymous sai_nila said...

I have one of these. recently came with me from India. since i have electric range i dont cook with them but keep the cooked (illai paruppu / kalathu paruppu) in that. do u cook with them? arent they small to cook? let me know.

 
At Wed Nov 04, 05:16:00 AM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At Fri Dec 11, 10:17:00 AM 2009, Blogger Deepa said...

I want them tooo........
:):)
Deepa

 
At Tue Dec 29, 01:35:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Интересно написано....но многое остается непонятнымb

 
At Tue Dec 29, 02:14:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Day!!! saffronhut.blogspot.com is one of the best innovative websites of its kind. I enjoy reading it every day. I will be back.

 
At Sat Jan 23, 06:54:00 PM 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely, I have been talking to my mom to get me some of these, yes I hear they taste so good of cooked in this.

 
At Sun Mar 28, 10:24:00 PM 2010, Blogger Prakash said...

where can i buy kalchattis

 
At Mon Mar 19, 02:38:00 PM 2012, Blogger FoodieToo said...

Hey Saffron,

Good blog! After being led to this site by a nice foodie, I've read most of your posts.
Hope to be a loyal follower.

Rgds
I will honor your anonymity
But I shall always be Jingi

 
At Mon Mar 19, 02:40:00 PM 2012, Blogger FoodieToo said...

After being led to this site by another foodie commonly know to both of us, I am riveted! Great Blog!

Shall honor your anonymity and I shall add curiosity to mine. :)
FoodieToo

 
At Thu Jan 16, 07:06:00 PM 2014, Blogger Shubashree said...

Hi there!
Would u mind sharing the street where u found them in Chennai. I have my aunt living there and would request her to pick it up.

 
At Mon Sep 08, 03:19:00 AM 2014, Blogger divya vasant said...

Hi
Could you please share the address of the street in chennai. I was also interested to pick some.

 
At Thu Sep 11, 11:20:00 AM 2014, Blogger Padma said...

Where did you get these from? They are truly a dying tradition. We need to do our bit to preserve it for ourselves and our children. I am interested in buying.

:)

 
At Fri Apr 08, 04:40:00 AM 2016, Blogger Mohan Rajan said...

The kalchattis are available in chennai in Sundar Stores T Nagar (opp. GRT) and in South Mada street Sundar Stores.

You also have vendors outside Parthsarathy temple triplicane!

All the best
nuts

 
At Thu Sep 01, 01:54:00 AM 2016, Blogger Dharmambal said...

You can also buy Kalchatti, Eeya chombu, first grade quality iron dosai tawa, kuzhi paniyara kallu etc from Zishta. Please look at them on facebook. They work directly with the last few remaining artisans to bring these products to people like us.

 
At Thu Oct 13, 10:18:00 AM 2016, Blogger Pj Rj said...

Hi great to see how we still like to cook in these traditional vessels. It is not just tasty but the health benefits are commendable. Buy them online. Many online shopping sites are selling these stuff. www.aptcraft.com brings these p
Kalchatti, iyyam Sombu and brass cookware from Kumbakonam.

 
At Wed Nov 23, 09:56:00 PM 2016, Blogger Archish Mathe said...

Hi

I am happy to read your blog. We had recently started a venture called Zishta in reviving traditional cookware products. We have had amazing response from many customers.
We would like to include your blog as part of recipes section of our facebook page: www.facebook.com/Zishta

Do let us know if its ok to share. Do visit our page and let me know what you think.

Regards
Archish Mathe

 
At Sun May 07, 08:19:00 AM 2017, Blogger Ganga a said...

Wow, so many people using kal chaty :)

I bought mine from http://theindusvalley.in/

I love making vatha kolambu and keerai ... yummie

 

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