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Oct 19, 2010 04:26 PM

Best for cooking Indian curries?

A few weeks on Chowhound, and I'm already cowering in fear of my non-stick cookware.

The skillet and wok situation has been fixed. Just opened the box containing my de Buyer pans from Cost Plus - thanks for that tip.

What's the best alternative to non-stick for preparing Indian curries, or other saucy dishes that require a long, slow, simmer? If I use a non-non-stick saucepan, my concern is that food will stick to the bottom and burn. Am I wrong?


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  1. Stainless steel. Simmering gravy should not stick to the pan, unless you've burnt it.

    1. First, let me say Telfon as itself is very inert and very safe. The question is always about what happened after Teflon get heated up to a high and turn into something else. That should only be a concern for high temperature cooking at all. So I don't think Teflon is a problem for long slow simmer cooking. However, if you have made up your mind, then there are alternatives.

      I cook some Indian dishes, but you are probably know a lot more than I do.

      Based on my experience, many Indian dishes can be acidic, so maybe cast iron is not the best even through I really like cast iron. There is nothing truely bad about it except you may taste some iron in your foods. Stainless steel cookware is good because it is very nonreactive. Hwoever, foods stick to stainless steel more easily, but it may not be a problem for slow cooking and saucy dishes because there will be a lot of liquid around. Almost like constant deglazing. I think both cast iron and stainless steel are excellent choice. I may go for stainless just because it will give you less metal taste and it is easier to take care of.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I've done a few curries in my cast iron pans and found it difficult to get rid of the cumin flavour left behind. As above, non-stick or stainless are better choices.

        1. re: Pedr0


          Now that you mentioned. Yes. You are absolutely correct. In my case, it was also very difficult to get the turmeric residue off. :) Faint yellow in my next meal. One more reason for nonstick and stainless. Thanks for reminding us.

      2. I use my LC DO 3.5 qt for the indian recipes which is saucy and require long slow simmer. it is not nonstick though. like spinach curry with indian cottage cheese, potato curries, Keema, califlower sabji etc, etc. Also, I use my 3qt AC saucier for those too. I really love the ability of the LC to simmer without a burn for those recipes. I cannot use the bigger LC like 6.75 Wide oval because 3.5 qt can easily produce for 6-8 people of those curries. 6.75 is too just big for this purpose. So for those are the incidents, I appreciate to have a smaller LC a lot and the reason why I have so many LC DOs! I think I can use my LC 3.5 qt buffet casserole, too, if total cooking time is not that long. For Cumin and turmeric stains, no problem with those pans, either LC or AC. very easy to clean. for the heavy stain, just fill the water in the pots for over night and wash normally. For the nonstick recipes, I use my LC skillet with the black enamel, which is now well seasoned. It is not completely non-stick but most of the use, I feel it is now good enough.

        7 Replies
        1. re: hobbybaker

          Sorry ... what are "LC" and "AC"?

          1. re: fadista

            :) Expensive stuffs. :P I so want to answer, but I will let my friend hobbybaker answer because these are her questions.

            1. re: fadista

              Ok, hobbybaker has not answered in 4 hours, so I am going to answer. LC = Le Creuset, avery famous French brand for making enameled cast iron cookware. It is not the only thing they make, but it is probably the most important part. AC = All-Clad, a very famous American company for making cladded cookware, especially the "Stainless steel- Aluminum- Stainless steel" configuration.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Chem, thanks for the follow up! Yes, expesive stuff, but I got most of them for sale or at LC or WS outlet stores :) Oh, sorry for my abbreviation agin. WS = Williams-Sonoma. Also DO = Dutch Oven.

                1. re: hobbybaker

                  ... you have been on internet too long... next thing you do, you will type "LOL" and "ROFL" and all other abbreviations....

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    "... you have been on internet too long..."

                    No, Chem. " you have been on CHOWHOUND with cookware junkies too long" is correct. LOL :-) What is ROFL??

                    1. re: hobbybaker

                      Actually I learn about ROFL when I was in graduate school... I think. It stands for "rolling on floor (and) laughing" I think

          2. Fadista, I cook curries all the time and I use my Scanpans, which are non-stick. No problems.

            But any other halfway decent pan should do just fine as well. Just stir it once in awhile, you should be fine.

            1. If you follow the Julie Sahni (and other writers') technique of brown-frying onions in vegetable oil, add the ground or whole spices after the onions are carmelized, then deglaze with water (scraping), there is no need for non-stick. Just make sure the onion-spice slurry cooks long at a low temperature...I've used Le Creuset with excellent results for more than 30 years.