Many people who have bought cast iron cookware abandon them after a while thinking it is too hard to maintain. But, with a little bit of care and by adopting the right practices, you can clean and maintain cast iron cookware in such a way that they become a pleasure to use.
In this article, we talk about how to clean cast iron Kadai and other cookware, their general maintenance tips, how to season them and other Dos and Donts while using cast iron cookware. These tips also apply to iron cookware.
Things You Need To Clean Cast Iron Cookware?
- Dishwashing Soap
- Soft Scrub
- Oil ( Any vegetable oil will do. We prefer to use gingely oil.)
Step-by-Step Instructions To Clean Cast Iron Kadai
Before cleaning, ensure that the cast iron Kadai has cooled down to room temperature. If you drop the hot Kadai into water, the drastic temperature difference could affect the seasoning and the structural stability of the Kadai.
Time needed: 30 minutes
How To Clean Cast Iron Kadai?
- Clean The Kadai
First, rinse the Kadai and add a few drops of diluted dishwashing liquid in the Kadai.
- Scour The Kadai
Using a soft brush/scrub, scourge the Kadai thoroughly. Ensure that you clean the outside as well. Do not use excessive force or steel wool as it could damage the seasoning.
- Rinse The Kadai
After thoroughly scouring the Kadai, rinse it thoroughly. Ensure there is no soap residue left on the surface.
- Dry The Kadai
Keep the Kadai on the stove and heat it on a low flame to completely dry the Kadai. We do not recommend using a towel to dry the Kadai because water drops would be left on the surface.
- Apply oil
Using an oil dispenser, apply a thin layer of oil. An oil dispenser with brush helps apply oil evenly without smearing on your hands. Then, using a clean towel, remove any excess oil on the surface. This step is important as excess oil will cause incomplete polymerization and a sticky surface.
- Start The Seasoning Process.
Heat the Kadai on a high flame till oil starts smoking. You may have to carefully move the Kadai around holding it using a thick towel to ensure that the sides too get heated and smokes.
- Cool And Store
Once the oil is all smoked out, switch off the stove and allow it to cool. Store it in a dry place away from moisture. Rinse the Kadai before use next time.
How To Clean Burnt Food Residue from Iron Kadai?
If you burnt food on your cast iron Kadai and it is stubbornly stuck, then, the above-mentioned steps might not be enough to clean it up. Here is what to do instead.
Scrape off as much burnt residue as possible from the cookware’s surface. Then, add 2-3 drops of dishwashing soap and pour just enough water to cover the burnt surface. Then, boil it on the stovetop. Using a wooden spatula, scrape away the burnt residues. Avoid using a metal spoon as it may damage the seasoning.
Rinse the cookware thoroughly under running water. Then, season it so that the surface remains smooth as close to non-stick as possible.
Related reading: Best Dosa Tawa In India (Cast Iron And Nonstick)
How To Season Cast Iron Kadai?
Clean the cast iron cookware as per the steps mentioned above. Follow till step 5 and then dab off any excess oil on the cookware using a paper towel.
Next, heat it on the stovetop for 10-15 minutes till the oil starts smoking. Then, switch off the stove and allow it to cool down.
You can also season the cast iron cookware in the oven. However, it will take around an hour to season it perfectly.
You can read our detailed article on how to season cast iron cookware here.
Other Do’s And Dont’s
- Never keep cast iron cookware immersed in water in the sink as it will develop rust.
- Always keep cast iron cookware dry. If you are not using it for a while, apply oil and keep it inside a cloth bag.
- Do not put your cast iron cookware in dishwasher. It will damage the seasoning.
- If possible, use your cast iron cookware on a daily basis.
Using dishwashing soap and a soft scrub, scourge the cookware thoroughly. Even if rust remains, season it by following the instructions mentioned above. This will help get rid of the rust.
Contrary to popular opinion, yes, you can wash cast iron with soap. Just ensure that you use a soft scrub so that the seasoning doesn’t get damaged.
It is actually a catch-22 situation. Cooking acidic food damages the seasoning on the cast iron cookware. But, if you want to make the most of cast iron and improve the iron content of the food, then, the best way is to cook acidic food in it. You can check our detailed article on myths and facts of the health benefits of cooking in cast iron cookware to know more.
In the US, they recommend Canola ( Rapeseed) oil for seasoning. However, it is not commonly available in India. The basic premise is that the oil should have high-fat content and low smoking point so that you can get a nice layer of seasoning. So, we recommend using Sunflower or Gingelly oil. Avoid using coconut oil as it could develop a rancid smell.
Both methods are equally effective. However, we prefer to do it on the stovetop as you can see when the oil dries up and if needed apply another coat of oil so that the cookware develops a thick layer of seasoning.
Sometimes cast iron surface gets sticky after seasoning because the oil has not polymerised completely. Reheat the pan so that the oil starts smoking. This helps to remove the stickiness and develop proper seasoning on the pan’s surface. To prevent cast iron pan from getting sticky, dab away the excess oil on the surface before you heat the cookware.
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