“The clay pressure cooker is made of pure clay with no other elements mixed to prepare the pot. The lid is made of glass and has a whistle attached to it. However, it works slightly differently than the normal one. To begin, it does not whistle loudly,” says Himanshu.
Have you ever heard of a cooker like this? Well with multiple sustainable solutions gaining importance in the market, a clay cooker is something that you would want to consider for your daily cooking.
Pournima Agharkar, a member of Indian Network On Ethics And Climate Change (INECC) says, “Clay cooking has more aromatic and flavour value. The method also demands slow cooking as clay pots cannot withstand extreme heat.”
Pournima added that slow cooking itself adds an advantage as the concept helps to prevent loss of nutrients from food. An earthen pot also adds a flavour to the food, she says.
So now that we know the benefits, let us meet a startup making a rather unique version of a clay pot – the clay cooker.
Orgolove, a Noida based business, has introduced this cooker in the market. Himanshu Adhikari and Manish Tripathi began the company during the lockdown, in a bid to promote sustainability and a healthier lifestyle.
How Clay Makes Your Kitchen Quiet
Himanshu explains that the clay cooker is specifically meant to cook food on a slow or medium flame, and has multiple benefits. “About 70-80 per cent of nutrients get lost with high-pressure cooking, and very little remains in your food by the time it gets cooked,” he adds.
The entrepreneur says food cooked slowly retains nutrients in the pot.
Another issue is that high-pressure cookers generally lose a lot of nutrients by venting excessive amounts of steam – nearly all the steam is vented with every whistle.
“The whistle in the clay cooker only emits the excess steam generated in the process
and does not let all the steam out. This method ensures nutrients stay with the food,” he adds.
Himanshu also claims that the use of clay as the base helps to maintain the ph value of the food.
“The food remains alkaline and reduces acidity, which is better for our guts. Also, the food cooked in earthen pots are always flavourful and aromatic,” he adds.
“The clay cooker is as natural as you can get in terms of cooking food. The pot is not coated with chemicals or non-stick materials to affect the health of the user,” he said.
“One cannot use detergent to clean the pot. Only water with a scrubber or lemon peels should be used to remove any stains. This way it helps save water and reduces detergent chemicals from entering our water supply,” he adds.
The clay cooker is priced at Rs 1399 for customers including the delivery charges.
However, the company is also offering clay pots, pans, bottles and other clay products to promote a sustainable lifestyle.
From a Kidney Transplant to a Clay Cooker
The story behind the venture is equally intriguing. It started with Manish rethinking his lifestyle and making changes after a serious crisis in his health.
Manish Tripathi, a former UI professional in a Noida based company, said he suffered the worst time of his life in 2017.
“My right kidney had suffered damage and had to be replaced. I was in bed for a whole year, where I suffered economically and health-wise too,” says Manish.
Manish started to think about the things wrong in his lifestyle. “The doctor suggested that it was unhealthy eating habits and other lifestyle issues that brought me to this condition. But I felt it was more than what was being told to me,” he added.
Manish started doing some research. After a few weeks, he realised that daily cooking items also played a crucial role in affecting health.
“I did not have a particularly unhealthy lifestyle, so I knew there was more to it than that. I realised that pots and other vessels are often produced with nickel, aluminium and steel. These metals can also damage our health,” he added.
Converting to Clay
Manish decided to switch to some organic options. “I found some local vendors making clay pans, pots and even a cooker around the city. I decided to use them and immediately found a difference in flavour and nutrient value,” he said.
“I thought about starting a business on promoting these items for a healthier lifestyle.
I shared the concept with my friend Himanshu Adhikari, a front-end developer in the same company,” he added. But for three years the ideas remained just ideas, or small attempts. Manish recovered by mid-2018 and rejoined his job in the same company.
Lockdown opens new opportunities
Unfortunately, Himanshu lost his job during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. “I thought of converting the situation into an opportunity. Manish and I were already thinking about some business ideas together, and when my friend and colleague discussed his idea, we agreed,” he said.
Himanshu says they both launched the venture in July, 2020.
The duo are getting the items manufactured from a factory as per orders received.
“The potters work to make a variety of products in their workshop. The items are branded and sold by the name of the company,” Himanshu said.
The products are sold across the country. “Our main customers are from South India dominated by Chennai, followed by Kolkata, Gujarat and other cities,” he adds.
Just a couple of months old, the company is now in the process of getting the required certifications. “We are not making profits as of now, but the business has evened out the investment cost,” Himanshu told The Better India.
“About five items are selling every day today, and the sales are picking up. There is more demand from customers outside India, and we are in the process of procuring the licence for the same,” he adds.
The items can be ordered on 8178154210.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)