Earthenware Pots

mishti doi:

Pictured above: the best mishti doi shop in Navadvip

P from Tasmania, Australia writes:

“I came across your recent travels to India site, and was intrigued to see your comments on Mishti Doi that was sold in earthenware pots. I have been trying to find out more about how Indian yogurt is made in earthenware pots, and the role that these pots have – is the yogurt, for example, dependent on the nature of the earthenware to help thicken? Or does the earthenware clay body of the pot add in some way, something to the yogurt’s culture? I would be most grateful for any enlightenment!”

My reply:

I am not an expert on the use of clay pots for cookery since I have not lived in India for extended periods. Nevertheless, I will share what I know:

The clay, for a start, has antiseptic qualities. It also maintains even temperature, cooling very, very slowly, which is good for keeping food hot after cooking in clay, or for incubation and slow cooling after reaching optimum culturing temperature in the yogurt-making process.

Being unfired clay, it is also absorbent, so in yogurt-making it naturally absorbs extra moisture, making the yogurt more firm.

It also adds a wonderful ‘earthy‘ flavour that is impossible to duplicate using any other medium. Yogurt, either plain or “mishti”, tastes wonderful from an earthenware pot.

And of course, after one use only (they are never re-used) these pots are thrown into pits and allowed to break down back into the earth. So they’re 100% recyclable and environmentally friendly.

Finally, earthenware pot-making is a thriving cottage industry in India, keeping hundreds of thousands employed.

I’m sure there are other benefits, but this is what comes to mind.
Posted by Kurma on 19/3/08; 7:43:48 AM

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