Frying pans are used extensively in an Indian household. “Are these utensils safe to use?” has been a question that is often evoked. In the current era of making everything easier there are a few who choose health over convenience. When health is the bigger concern the above question majorly translates onto whether the materials used in the production of frying pans are safe and healthy.
Health-related aspects in frying pans are dependent on whether they come with a non-stick/ceramic coating, are made of stainless steel or cast iron.
Coated pans are usually the convenient picks as they offer a layer of non-sticky component that makes cooking and cleaning easier than its other counterparts
Non-Stick Coating: PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene) or Teflon is used to cover aluminum-based pans with a non-stick coating that does not let food get stuck at the base of the pan even with minimum or no oil. If the concept of health is based on the amount of oil being used to prepare the food, these pans should be considered the healthiest. But the coating that provides convenience is also a layer of harmful chemicals that can release carcinogenic substances into the food being cooked. However that is still being argued with and most people not knowing about it, have been using this making it the most popular type of pan around the world. Non-stick frying pans do require maintenance and need to be used carefully with a wooden spatula or any other material that cannot cause scratches to the surface. Once the surface starts wearing off, they need a quick replacement so one must handle it with extra care.
Ceramic Coating: This is the healthier version of the non-stick pan. The coating provided here is ceramic and hence there are no discovered chemical reactions that can cause harm through the food. However, these pans are not used much as they cannot bear high temperatures. These are just healthier alternatives to the non-stick pans.
The healthiest of them all is the cast iron pans. The food that is cooked upon them is said to absorb the benefits of the iron present in the pan, thereby making the food more nutritious than it would be if cooked on any other material. This is something that has been used for a very long time in India and it is even said that an iron pan is passed on to generations as a kind of heirloom as if it symbolizes the good health of all the members of the family. There are a few drawbacks that include maintenance and food getting stuck to the pan.
They are a healthy alternative over non-stick pans as steel does not create any harm or react with the food being cooked. This is the best option after the cast-iron pans. Opting for 304-grade stainless steel (a costlier option) ensures extended durability and provides even cooking of food.
Steel is not a great conductor of heat on its own and thus one needs to check its base materials, whether it is made of aluminum or copper. These pans might allow food to get stuck to the pan if enough oil or seasoning wasn’t done prior adequately or if it had not heated up to the right temperature.
Another safe cookware option is clay pots. But with all the factors in mind, stainless steel pans are most often considered to be the best as they are lighter in weight, require less maintenance, and are quite durable. Another quick feature is that they ensure even distribution of heat throughout the vessel thus leaving the entire dish cooked well.
In a concern of safety, a feature of frying pans that should be taken into account is the handles that they are designed with. Most non-stick frying pans come with ergonomically designed handles that prevent it from heating up, making it easier for its user. Most stainless steel and cast iron handles are made of metal and are not heat-resistant. They need extra support of cooking tongs, heat-resistant gloves, etc to prevent burns for its user.
Various aspects come into play when a product is designed: efficiency and durability are the key concerns of most. One must be informed about what they are investing in and then make their choices. Most people use non-stick and they do not always face harm on matters of health and that would be the choice I make for the lesser oil consumption that my family would be making. Choose the best frying pan in India for your family.
Some of the best frying pan brands in India and their products are:
- Wonderchef Fry Pan (Non-Stick) – voted the best non-stick frying brand by a lot of women.
- Prestige Omega Deluxe Aluminium Granite Fry Pan (Non-Stick)
- Hawkins Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Frying Pan.