Stainless Steel and Food Go So Well Together In India

indian cooking
The kitchen in our house in India.

If you’ve been to India, you probably ate in India, and your food was probably served in stainless steel plates at least once.

When I lived in India and went shopping for household goods, I encountered all kinds of kitchen items: plates, glasses, pots, serving plates, food containers, cooking utensils… and most of them were silvery grey. Metal was definitely predominant over plastic, ceramic and glass.

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A kitchenware shop. See all the shiny stainless steel and brass?

It was also interesting for me that I simply did not find any knives, besides chopping knives. Only forks and spoons. I think this is because of the vegetarian culture in India.

Our kitchen looked more like a chemistry lab than a western kitchen we were used to.

pantry8
Part of our Indian pantry.
mani cooking1
Me making a paneer dish.

Uses for food of metal or stainless steel in India:

 

Keeping foods and spices

masala box
Our stainless steel spice box or masala box or masala dabba with a glass lid..
indian cooking
Our chapati box on the left.

Making Chai

chai black tea
The beginnings of chai. (Boiling the tea.)

Chai [tea] at our house in India was made by using a metal pot and metal tongs to hold the edges of the pot in order to strain the contents. We had no teapots or tea kettles or pots with handles.

Transporting Food

The dabbawala carrying tiffin boxes with food.

Even food is transported in metal tiered containers called a tiffin box or dabba. This is the Indian “lunchbox”.

Stainless steel Tiffin box or dabba.

Making and Serving Mattar Paneer & Saffron Rice

mattar paneer1
Mattar Panner

Mattar Paneer is a north Indian dish of paneer (the most common type of cheese used in South Asian cuisines) and peas in a lightly sweet and spicy sauce. It was one of the first dishes I attempted to make while living in India.

mattar paneer and rice
Saffron rice and mattar paneer.

Making and Serving Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

kheer
Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

Kheer is a delicious Indian dessert made with rice, nuts and spices like cardamom and saffron.

frying nuts
Frying the nuts.

kheer rice pudding

kheer

Pizza Night

dominos pizza india
Me and my pizza and my stainless steel plate.

Stainless steel is also great for pizza night in India.

Making Homemade Peanut Butter

making peanut butter
Toasting the peanuts.
making peanut butter
Toasted peanuts with skins off.

If you’d like to make your own, here is the recipe.

Delivering and Boiling Milk

dudhwalla1

The doodhwala is the milk delivery guy. I got lucky to see this scene while I was out and about and some strangers invited me in for chai in their home.

milkstraining
Preparing to boil the fresh milk.

milkjugs1milkboiling milk2

Delivering and Keeping Festival Foods

festivalfood5

One time our cook brought a tiffin carrier filled with festival foods she had cooked for us including rice, Maharashtrian amti, papad, spicy potato fritters, and sweet puri. We had no idea that day was apparently Nag Panchami, a festival about the worship of snakes.

festivalfood4
Puri stuffed with jaggery.

Serving Breakfast

Tahini toast with honey for breakfast.
Homemade tahini toast with honey, fruit and chai for breakfast.

Making Homemade Chapatis

chapatis rotis
Our cook making chapati (or roti), the tortilla of India made with whole grain wheat flour.

Making and Serving Shahi Paneer

shahi paneer
Shahi Paneer

Shahi Paneer is an Indian preparation of paneer (cottage cheese cubes) in a thick sauce (Indians call it gravy) made up of cream, tomatoes and spices. It is a staple in North India and it is also the first Indian meal I attempted to make when we moved there.

shahi paneer shahi paneer rice indian food paneer

Attempting To Make Chapatis

making chapatis

I also gave it a go at making chapatis from scratch which were definitely not as good as our cook’s.

making chapatis

Having Chicken Night (or Mutton Night)

chicken dinner chatai

The next evening after moving into our first house in India, two Indian friends brought homemade Indian chicken dinner (made by one of their wives) to share and to eat after drinks and snacks. Meat is kind of a delicacy in this rural Indian town, so it is eaten on Sundays only. The gesture was repeated over a few weeks, and so it became Chicken Sundays at our house. I think they liked coming because they were allowed to drink beer at our house.

Serving Indian food outside of India

Indian street food at the Bollywood Theater restaurant, Portland, OR
Indian street food at the Bollywood Theater restaurant, Portland, OR
Sorry if I made you hungry for Indian food. 
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5 thoughts on “Stainless Steel and Food Go So Well Together In India

  1. Because I’m clumsy and break so many things, I think the stainless steel dishes are a great idea! You have made me hungry for Indian food though. It is my favorite but we rarely eat it. I’m going to insist on having it on my birthday in a couple of weeks!

  2. I’ve recently been showing steel utensils to my British partner and she is so amused but loves them. She definitely wants a steel spice container! Being an Indian this makes me very happy. 🙂

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