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Zishta in collaboration with artisans of Manipur bring to you most authentic and traditional Longpi Black pottery vessels that are everlasting. These are made using the most traditional technique honed over centuries by our artisans.
What is Manipur Black pottery and how is it made?
These pottery are made in Ukhrul region of Manipur.
Serpentinite & weathered rocks are the basic raw materials to make Manipuri black stone pottery. Both the rocks are first pounded by hand & powdered using bamboo. The powders are mixed with water & a dough is formed by kneading it for 7-8 hours.
The kneaded clay is laid on a slab & using a bamboo rolling pin, flattened to get the shape. Instead of the potter’s wheel turning around, the artisans themselves move around the clay shaping the pot. They are left to dry naturally for a few days.
The next step is to heat them at 900-1200 degrees Celsius depending upon usage. They are then polished with chiro-na leaves & finished with bees-wax.
The entire process takes 8-10 days.
What are the benefits of cooking food in Manipur Black Pottery?
- They are a natural source of valuable minerals: Iron & magnesium.
- Harmful germs do not survive in the food cooked.
- They render a fantastic taste to the food cooked in them.
- Pots are good for simmering & slow cooking for hours over a low flame, homogenizing and condensing the food. One can cook for hours without the fear of burning food.
- Contents of the pot continue to sizzle for a long time after it is taken off the heat & food remains warm for 2-3 hours. Serpentine's ability to resist the transfer of heat makes it a valuable insulator.
- Local people using these potteries claim that cooking food in it prevents morning sickness for pregnant women.
- Though they are made out of stone, they are light weight & easy to handle. They are best used to cook and store food.
- The ones without cane handles are OTG and Microwave oven friendly.
What can be cooked in Manipur Black Pottery?
The best part of this vessel is that one can cook any type of food in it.
- Indian delicacies like palak paneer, paneer butter masala, rajma masala, dal makhani, dal tadka, chicken, fish, porridge, sambhar, appam stew, tomato pappu, gothsu, rasam, etc. - name the dish and it can be cooked in Manipuri Black Pottery.
- It can also be used making rice, biryani, pulao & other varieties of flavoured rice.
- Yes, citric based food can be cooked in this.
Should we season Manipur Black Pottery before cooking?
Manipuri Black Pottery does not require any seasoning. But, always ensure that in any traditional vessel, only gravy based food is cooked for the initial 4-5 times. First few times, do not do tadka or fry in it.
How to clean and maintain Manipur Black Pottery?
- 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 there are no other vessels on top of it to avoid breakage.
- It is fine to refrigerate the vessel.
- Do not pour cold water / tap water into a hot Manipuri Pottery. Wait for the pot’s temperature to come down.
- It is not recommended to use dishwasher for cleaning.
Some frequently asked questions:
Can we boil milk in it?
Yes you can boil milk in this vessel.
Can we cook citric based food in it?
Yes you can cook any citric food in this vessel.
How long is the life of the vessel?
It will last over a decade if taken care well. Ensure it is stored safe without other heavy vessels on it. Use wooden ladles if possible, or use other ladles with care.
Is it breakable?
Yes it is made of stone and is breakable.
What is the difference between Black clay and Manipuri black pottery?
Black clay pots are made out of clay. The reddish brown clay pot is obtained after heating it at around 900 degrees Celsius. The colour black is obtained when the same clay pot is heated again & again in the kiln.
Manipur black stone pottery is made out of 2 rocks: Serpentinite rock which is black in colour & weathered rock which is brown in colour. They are crushed to a powder and kneaded into a dough.
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