Saturday, March 17, 2007

I'll take the Calphalon Indian-Wok

When my wife and I were trying to decide on new pots and pans last year, it was kind of hard to pick the right set. Not only were we confused by the all-clad versus the myriad types of calphalon sets, we wanted to get some nice “crockery” that would be good for cooking Indian food. Outside of the handy prestige pressure-cooker that I am slowly learning how to use, we couldn’t find any real options for fancy-shmancy cooking pots-and-pans specifically for Indian food. So imagine my surprise when I was perusing the most recent Williams-Sonoma catalog and found a whole section dedicated to Indian spices, Indian food-specific pots and pans, and Williams-Sonoma Kitchen recipes for a variety of different indian food items, including, samosas, chapatis, and even kheer (Indian rice pudding). Sure, my mom would kill me if she knew I entertained the notion of buying a 9 ounce, $39 set of spices, or a $13 dollar simmer sauce, but I appreciate that Le Creuset is selling a tava griddle, and that Cuisinart is uping the ante in the pressure cooker game. I must admit though, I am a bit confused by the Calphalon One Indian Wok (Wok, India?). My initial thought was that maybe it would be perfect for cooking tasty Indian-Chinese food like my favorite gobi manchurian, but the description in the catalog cleared it up:

“Based on the karahi, the traditional Indian wok commonly used for simmering curries and stews, stir-frying and deep-frying, this infused-anodized wok is ideal for recreating the favorite dishes you enjoy at Indian restaurants. Its interior sears and browns perfectly and develops the rich caramelized flavor essential for creating delicious pan sauces. Adapted from the karahi's customary round bottom, this wok's flat bottom makes it easy to use on Western stoves. Two beautifully shaped loop handles – inspired by graceful scrollwork on Indian architecture – allow you to carry the oven-safe pan to the table for serving in authentic Indian style.” (link)

Look at those loop handles, clearly inspired by the graceful scrollwork on Indian architecture. I can hardly control myself. And who among us knew that serving desi khana in a Calphalon-One branded Indian-Wok at the table was authentic Indian style? I for one had no idea. Sarcasm aside, I do think it is pretty cool that some of the high-end cookware companies are starting to make Indian items, although I doubt desi-America is the target audience. As appealing as the Williams-Sonoma catalog offerings are, I don’t know that I will be purchasing this cookware anytime soon, but I would love to know what those of you who have some of these products think of them. I do however plan on trying the samosa recipe soon and will definitely report back. If any of you happen to try any of the recipes, please relay your experiences in the comments section.

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