Our exploration of Indian craft heritage took us to meet with the artisans of lovely Manipur in North-East India, land of many mind-blowing crafts. The artisans here make a form of stone pottery called ‘Loree Hamlei’. It is made out of crushed Serpentinite and Weathered rocks (from the Longpi region) which are powdered & mixed with water to make clay. When the pots and pans are ready, they are rubbed with the Machee leaf which renders the cookware black. The confidence with which the artisans ply their craft is truly incredible. At the end of our discussion, we had a fresh respect for our country’s cookware tradition, and here’s why.
For centuries, Manipuri people have used stone pottery to cook their food. The cookware is aesthetically appealing, and will look good alongside the most sophisticated modern cookware in our kitchen. However, Manipur’s traditional black stone pottery can justifiably boast of several general and health benefits that our modern cookware simply cannot! When the talented black stone pottery artisans explained these benefits to us, we were stunned. We had no idea that there were so many benefits. Take a look:
- The rocks contain naturally-occurring iron. When we cook food in these pots, the heat infuses our food with the iron.
- These pots are made out of stone & so the food sizzles for a long time even after the pot is taken off the stove. This means meals are kept warm for longer, so goodbye to re-heating.
- These pots are actually microwave-friendly! Isn’t that unbelievable? The artisans heat the completed pots to 900 degrees centigrade to toughen them and prepare them for direct use on stoves and microwaves.
- We can simmer food in these pots for hours, but the food won’t burn. Now, we call that, a real blessing to people who enjoy cooking around the world.
- If there is a pregnant woman at home, give her food cooked in stone pottery dishes. She won’t suffer morning sickness anymore. It’s probably got something to do with the iron content.
- Cook meat in these pots, and one no longer has to worry about bacteria in the meat causing sickness. The pots take care of that.
Understanding about the centuries-old practice & heritage of Manipur from the artisans was a true privilege and we enjoyed every bit of it. We are determined to bring these black stone pottery utensils to everyone’s attention. They deserve to be a part of mainstream cookware in every home! Watch our site for future updates on the stone cookware.