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Jul 29, 2010 05:52 AM

Kerala Brass Pans (Re Anthony Bourdain No Reservations)

Does anyone know about the pans that were on his last episode? I can't seem to find much on the web about them, but on the show he referred to them as the Le Creuset of India which I realize is a ridiculous generalization, however, the pans look cool.

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  1. Saw the show as well. I would imagine your best bet would be to ask at an Indian market but even they might not know what you're talking about. Of course, you can always take a quick trip over to India.

    1. Costplus World Markets carries a lot of Indian imports. I've seen various stainless steel pans and serving dishes, but don't recall seeing any brass ones.

      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        These are big heavy brass pots that are wide and shallow. No handles like western cookware. Here's a picture of one, and though I can't remember the name they referred to on the show but this one is called an Urli.

        Edit: after searching brass urli and Indian urli, your results will widen significantly.

      2. Thanks very much for the replies.

        1. I saw the Bourdain Kerala episode as well and I would love to own such amazing cookware and support that traditional cottage industry. Supposedly the food cooked in such vessels is extra good.

          Within India, most people do not use expensive traditional metal cookware like copper, bronze, silver and brass (and lead!!! supposedly lead produces very delicious dishes) and at least in my personal observation I have only seen people having brass vessels in their homes for religious purposes. A lot of modern Indian cookware is aluminum or hindoleum (some type of aluminium alloy which I am not sure what it really is but it is great for cooking and I have not seen it outside of India except imported to Pakistan---this is the kind my mother-in-law looks for). And also stainless steel, Tefal non-stick and the like. Brass is just hard to find in the quality and size of what was featured in the episode (as it is very expensive). Even in India at least in big cities you have to go to special bazaars to get heavy, good quality vessels because much of what is on offer is just cheap light weight aluminum. This is the same low quality type of stuff I have seen at Indian specialty markets in the Arabian Gulf and in the US Indian markets. You can probably find stainless steel urlis online which will be the highest quality at a reasonable price. Part of the benefit of these traditional vessels is not only the metal but the shape, so you would still get the urli shape. I have never seen an urli in an Indian market in the US, mostly just karhais and handis (North Indian) and idli, dosa, puttu paraphernelia for South Indians.

          I googles and found this stainless steel urli set, but it just looks like a handi with handles, not nearly as exciting as what was on No Reservations:

          I know this info doesn't help anyone find a Keralite brass vessel, but just to give an idea of why you can't just get this at your local South Indian grocery...

          1 Reply
          1. re: luckyfatima

            Yeah. I think I'll just plan a trip to go there. An India walkabout for a year. Pick up a pan while I am there.

          2. I've located a restaurant supplier, who design/consult/sells Indian ovens for home use and have asked tham to watch the show and find the brass urlis. From their website they appear to be innovative and enterprising, so we'll see what they come up with. Let them know of your interest to get them going. Those terrific urli artisans who make the "Le Creuset" of India, as Tony said surely need the work. Let's cook some South India Food!

            Does anyone know the name of the restaurants in London that Tony's colleague owns or the village that he and the urlis come from?