Eeya Chombu-Tin Vessel - Frequently Asked Questions
1) Do we use tin cookware in a kitchen?
Tin has been traditionally used for making Rasam. It works on Gas stove and electric coil stove. Tamarind reacts with Tin to give a unique taste, flavor & an unbeatable aroma to the Rasam. Tin vessel is also used for setting curd & it gives a special taste to it. Some use tin vessel to boil milk. In olden days, due to lack of refrigerator, cooked food was stored in Tin vessel to keep it fresh.
2) What is eeya chombu?
Eeya Chombu is a vessel made from the metal Tin and has been traditionally used for making Rasam and sometimes to set curd. Eeya chombu renders a unique aroma and an excellent taste to Rasam. Rasam takes only 15 minutes to cook in eeya chombu. Traditional 2 shapes were Vennathazhi, which is a trapezium shape and mambazham. The shapes of adukku (tall shape) and kinnam (broad shape) came much later for convenience.
3) What is eeya chombu made of?
Eeya chombu is made of the metal Tin. Tin is a metal on its own. It is not an alloy, not steel and not Aluminium.
4) How is eeya combu made?
Eeya Chombu is made of the metal Tin. Tin is first melted & once it hardens, it is hand beaten to get the shape of the vessel. It is completely hand made with traditional tools and takes 8 hours to make 2 vessels.
5) What is eeya chombu in English?
Eeyam is Tin which is a metal and Chombu is a pot which is a name given for the pot which is used for drinking water. It is a Tin pot used for cooking, predominantly to make Rasam traditionally.
6) What is the specialty of eeya chombu rasam?
Eeya chombu is a traditional vessel in which rasam is made. Tamarind & spices reacts with Tin to give a unique taste, flavour & an unbeatable aroma to the Rasam. Varieties of rasam is cooked in it including tomato rasa, pepper jeera rasam, garlic rasam, gottu rasam and many more.
7) Is tin cookware safe?
It is important to buy Tin cookware from authentic and reliable sources who make eeya chombu from pure Tin without mixing Lead in it. Cooking in eeya chombu has several health benefits including balancing phlem in the body, prevention of diabetes, improves skin complexion, intelligence & many more. As per modern science, Tin is used to prevent or cure bad breath, dental cavities, sensitive teeth, gingivitis, plaque etc. Rasam is made in less than 15 minutes in Eeya chombu.
8) Does eeya chombu contain lead?
Eeya chombu is traditionally made of pure Tin and not of Lead. This was true until a couple of decades ago where eeya chombu was made using only pure Tin. Due to high cost of Tin, some of the makers in the recent past mixed a percentage of lead into it. Since lead is harmful, people stopped buying & using Eeya Chombu. Also, given that in Tamizh language velleeyam is Tin and Kareeyam is Lead, this as well led to a confusion. It is important to buy Eeya chombu from authentic makers who still make it with the purest Tin without adding any lead into the making process. Zishta knows and works with 3 artisans who make pure Tin vessels & have been making so for over 7 generations. The purity is tested scientifically in NABL accredited lab through random testing.
9) What precautions to take while cooking in eeya chombu?
Tin has a very low melting point, around 220 degrees Celsius. So it is important that the vessel is filled at least with 1/3rd liquid before it is placed on the stove. Else, it would melt immediately. Do not do direct tadka or fry or sauté in it EVER. If you need to add anything fried, fry them in a different vessel and add to Tin vessel. Cook in low or medium flame & never in high flame. Do not use tongs to lift from stove as the metal is malleable. Use cloth to lift.
10) How do we do tadka when we are cooking in Eeya chombu?
Tadka is done separately in another vessel and is added to the Rasam at the end.
11) Can tin cookware go in the oven?
Tin is not recommended to be used in Oven.
12) Can tin cookware go in the microwave?
Tin should not be used in microwave oven.
13) Can tin cookware be used on induction stove?
Tin does not work on Induction stove, thought it works on Gas stove, electric coil stove and Hobs. Only vessels with steel / Iron bottom work on Induction.
14) Will tin rust?
No, Tin as a metal does not rust.
15) What is the best way to clean and maintain tin cookware?
Maintaining Tin vessel / eeya chombu is as simple as any other vessel. One can use any dish washing liquid or soap to clean it. Do not use steel scrubbers as it will leave scratch marks. It is fine to leave it in the sink overnight. Ensure heavy vessels are not placed on top of it. It is natural for the vessel to become black inside. Wash it well to reduce the black formation. Avoid using dishwasher. Leave the Rasam in the same vessel after cooking. Tin keeps the food warm for a couple of hours. Transferring to another vessel is not required.
16) How to clean eeya chombu?
Cleaning Eeya chombu is normal like cleaning any other vessel. Use your regular cleaning liquid or soap and scrubber to wash the vessel. Do not use stainless steel scrubber as they would leave scratch marks on the vessel. Eeya chombu can be soaked overnight in the sink.
17) Is eeya chombu dish washer safe?
No, avoid using dishwasher.