Indus Valley Super Smooth Cast Iron Tawa is one of the options we tested for our guide on the best dosa Tawas in India. It was one of the top contenders that ticked all the checkboxes of what you expect from a Tawa. Let us take a deeper look at the various aspects of the Tawa and the brand Indus Valley to help you make an informed buying decision.
Cast iron, as you know, is an alloy of iron, carbon and silica. It is poured in molten form into moulds to make various cookware. Most of the cookware produced this way have a rough surface. It gets smooth only after using it for years.
But Indus Valley offers cast iron cookware with a smoothened surface. After breaking from the mould, they machine polish the cookware for making a smooth cooking surface. It is then heated in a kiln for seasoning.
The Tawa has a fairly good built quality. But lack of attention to detail is evident. The Tawa we got had scratches on the edges and bottom. Though it did not affect the cooking performance, it was definitely an eyesore. That being said, this is not a common problem. Most of the other users did not find such scratches or defects in their Tawa.
The Tawa has about 6 mm thickness and weighs 2.5 Kg. It has a flat base and owing to its excellent built quality and thickness, it doesn’t warp.
Compared to other options like Rock Tawa and Bhagya, the Tawa is greyish in colour, while most are black. You will also notice there is some carbon residue on the surface which comes out when you heat the pan and apply oil. To get rid of it, you will have to clean the Tawa thoroughly and season it slightly before use.
We would have ranked it as the best cast iron Tawa, above Dynamic Cookware, if it hadn’t been for the unergonomic handles. Due to the weight and a single handle, it is a bit difficult to lift the Tawa when it is placed on a flat surface like your kitchen countertop or cabinet shelf. Dynamic Cookware, on the other hand, has raised handles that make it easier to lift and carry around.
Related reading: Best Cast Iron Cookware In India
Being a preseasoned Tawa, our first test is always to check how stick-resistant it is right out of the box. We first wash the Tawa using mild soap and a non-abrasive scrub. Then, we apply a thin layer of oil and make Dosa immediately. We were quite happy that the surface was almost as stick-resistant as a Teflon pan. The Dosa released easily from the pan without leaving any residue.
Next, we checked how well the Tawa distributes heat. For this, we preheat the Tawa, spread a thin layer of flour and heat it on a medium flame. Stainless steel and aluminium distribute heat evenly. So, you will see that flour gains an almost uniform brown colour irrespective of whether it is at the centre or the edge. But in cast iron that is not the case.
Cast iron by nature doesn’t conduct heat evenly like aluminium. So hot spots at the centre are certain. So, you need to preheat the Tawa on a medium flame for 5-10 minutes so that the temperature is as even as possible. Even then, you note that there is a difference of around 40-50 C between the centre and the edges of the Tawa. But the magic happens when you pour the batter at the centre. The high heat at the centre transfers to the batter and as you spread it thinner towards the edges, the whole dosa comes to an almost uniform temperature.
But, if you don’t preheat the Tawa well enough or if you heat the Tawa at a high temperature, you will find the centre quite darker than the edges.
Dosas made in the Indus Valley Tawa are crisp yet soft. If cooked correctly, it doesn’t get too crisp to the extend it breaks into pieces. Rather, it has a soft and crispy texture that a nonstick Tawa can never replicate.
In addition to making Dosa, you can make chapati and roti on the Tawa. But do not use the same Tawa for dosa and roti because it affects the seasoning and your Dosa will start getting stuck to the Tawa.
Care and Maintenance
Vintage cast iron Tawa develops seasoning over a period of time and as a result, it has a smooth, glistening surface that is quite stick-resistant. As this Tawa from Indus Valley is smoothened, it develops a close-to-vintage finish. This is in fact one of the most distinguishing features and a major positive of this Tawa.
The seasoning on the Tawa lasts for a long time with sufficient care. After every use, wash it thoroughly with soap and a gentle scrub. Then, dry it immediately and apply a thin layer of oil before storing away. Before use, wash it with soap and heat it on a low flame. Once it is dry, apply a thin layer of oil and heat it on a low-medium flame for 5-10 minutes. This preheating helps develop an instant seasoning on the Tawa which increases the stick resistance. Moreover, it distributes heat as evenly as possible to prevent Dosa from having burnt centres or uncooked edges.
Other Product Varieties
Indus Valley sells quite a few varieties of cast iron Tawas. The preseasoned super smooth Tawa that we bought comes with a small handle just on one side. The same Tawa is also available with a long handle. While it is helpful for lifting and moving, the handle gets quite hot and if not careful, it can scald you.
They also sell cast iron fish frying pans, pure iron Tawa and regular cast iron Tawas with long handles. You can check the complete range of products here.