Ayurveda has said it all
What is Kalai (Tin Coating) ?
It is a traditional process of coating the alloy surface (brass or copper) by deposition of the metal tin on it. Brass and Copper kitchenware requires tin-plating after every six to eight. Earlier, silver was used but that would become very expensive. Hence, since last 25-30 years tin is being used. Now, why is re-tinning required every 6-8 months? When any brass utensil is used for the cooking purpose, the metal copper present in the alloy reacts with organic acids present in the foodstuff to form products that may cause food poisoning. Therefore, kalai (white wash or tin) is important before the utensil is being used for cooking and it also protects the utensils and the food in it.
Process of Kalai (Tin Coating)
The process of ‘Kalai’ involves washing first the copper utensil with caustic soda to get rid of any surface impurities such as dust. The next step is washing it with an acid that contains the gold purifying compound ‘Sufa’, a salt and another element. It is then immediately wiped clean otherwise it might bear a mark. The Kalaiwalas dug a pit in the ground and prepared a temporary blast furnace, airing it with bellows. They then heated the utensil, blasting it off and on and sprinkled a miraculous component ‘Nausadar‘. The powder is rubbed onto the utensil with a cotton cloth, which gives out deep white smoke and a peculiar ammoniac smell. ‘Nausadar’ powder or ammonium chloride has some very beneficial properties The final step of kalai is to dip the utensil is then dipped into a bucket full of cold water. A silvery lining appears on the vessel with a shine.
Benefits of Tin Coating
Tin coating protects brass from corrosion. Tin layer works as a safe substance between the metal and the food Tin helps utensils made of brass and copper increase its conductivity which also reduces the fuel cost. With regular intervals re-tinning, it also maintains the taste of the food. With the advancement in the technology and science we surely have progressed a lot yet we are missing out on such healthy benefits! Utensils made up of brass were used for cooking ages ago, why not continue the Indian authentic way which helps in improving your health! It’s time to get back to our roots and start using traditional cookware which you should make sure to do tinning in every two months. It is believed that these metals and its alloys attracts and transmit Chaitanya (a divine consciousness) as well. Such spiritual benefits are not obtained from the use of stainless steel or aluminium! Let’s do our part to revive this old-age craft of kalai and brings them back to our streets just like old times….. Hopefully, we shall soon hear “Bhande kalai karalo, Bhande” and everyone would rush to the streets to see the magic happening!