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Jaadis – The Ceramic Jars For Pickles

 

 

 

 

These beautiful ceramic jaadis you see in the pictures are used for storing pickles.These are known as pingani jaadi or peengan jaadi in south India meaning that they are made out of porcelain.These double colour beauties mostly in white and brown combination are pride of the kitchen few decades ago.They come in various sizes from huge jaadis for storing pickles for the entire year consumption for those large combined families to small ones to store ghee and curds for daily consumption. These marvellous jaadis come in different shapes but invariably in double colours of brown and white. The standard shape is a tall and cylindrical called kola jaadi. They come in the shape of yellow pumpkin called gummadikaya jaadi or Parangi jaadi. They also come with big belly with narrow base and opening and these are called gundrapujaadi. While in entire south they are called Jaadi (singular) in Kerala state alone they are called Bharani. In plural, they are called jaadis or jaadeelu.

With declining of combined families and increasing mini families in tiny apartments, the concept of storing anything for a long time has given way to use and throw culture. With the onset of such culture the large jaadis have given way to plastic small bottles that meant for use and throw. These lovely jaadis have disappeared from the households and became the rare items for antique collectors. I am fortunate enough to inherit and collect some of these enchanting pickle jars. Some of the families who still value the traditional way of living and who knew the value of storing items in porcelain containers still consider old is gold and use these jaadis. Our elders believed that the health depends on not only what we eat but also what vessels we use for cooking, storing and serving what we eat and drink. They used Brass and bronze vessels for cooking, copper vessels for water storage and jaadis for storing items like pickles, and many other food items and they believed that the properties of the vessel mixed with the food enhance the nutritional value of the food and keep them healthy and happy. Our experience shows our elders were immune to the several diseases that the present generation is suffering. The traditionalists claim that the vessels used for cooking in the bygone days made the fundamental difference.They lived much healthier and happier than our present generation which discarded our traditional cooking and eating style and diverged to fast food and micro woven grade plastics.

 

Jadeelu in a row

 

I have grown in Jaadi culture. We used to have these handsome jaadis of all sizes in our house in my village Someswaram. We were having large jaadis for storingdifferent varieties of mango pickleslike aavakaya, menthikaya, maagaya and tokkudupachadi for the entire year. The smaller sizes of the jaadis were used to take a small portion of the pickles from the large jaadis for a weekly consumption and for daily serving. Once the small jaadis were empty they were recharged with the pickles and this process continued till the large jaadis were empty. Normally the mango pickle season starts from the months of April and May and all the jaadis will be full with pickles. As we start consuming they become empty sometimes by February or March. By then tender raw mangoes start coming in and my mother used to prepare temporary pickles out of these mangoes.These temporary mango pickles are not prepared as ceremonially as the annual pickles and there will be some compromise on the quality of ingredients since it is meant to be provisional and has to be consumed in a short time till we make the standard variety of pickles.

 

Cylindrical jaadis- kola jaddelu

 

The Pickle season is a busy time in our house. The jaadis are cleaned and sun dried.There should not be any iota of moisture in the jaadis since moister spoils the pickle.They were sun dried at least three consecutive days. After that they are covered with lid and a cloth and kept them in the corner of the kitchen where nobody will enter.Then there will be exchange of notes with relatives and neighbours as to what varietyof mangoes,chillies and mustard seeds they would be buying and from where and their relative merits and demerits.There will be discussion on what they purchased last year and how good or bad the results were.The next major ingredient is oil and the success of the annual pickle depends on the quality of the oil. Only nuvvulanoone (oil extracted from sesame seeds also known as gingili seeds) is used for preparing aavakaaya and other pickles. My maternal grandfather used to cultivate gingili oil seeds and he used to send us for our annual consumption of gingili oil. For aavakaaya season we used to take the  sun dried sesame seeds to our local oil man known as telukuliwadu who has a native oil crusher comprising wooden drum with a log like crushing pestle powered by a bullock and the entire crushing devise is called ganugu. The Telukuliwadu would keep the gingili seeds and a little bit of jaggery into the wooden drum, keep the wooden crusher in the position, make few adjustments and give command to the bullock to move.The bullock will move in circular motion and the crusher will move around the inside of the wooden drum crushing the oil seeds. After 2 hours of slow and constant crushing the oil will form in the basin of the drum which will be collected. I used to sit on the wooden plank connecting the crusher and the bullock and have a circular ride. The oil is transferred into the brass oil cans and carried to the house.

 

2 litre jaadi with big round belly- gundrapu jaadi with manufacturer “Parrys” name inscription

 

We used to have dedicated mango trees exclusively meant for aavakaaya pickle. People will go to the tree owner and purchase the required quantity from him. Only selected mangoes will be plucked. Fortunately we had our own mango tree in our fields and our requirement of mangoes used to come from this tree.The remaining mangoes will be left on the tree to be plucked latter for mango fruits.

Once all ingredients are in place my mother would consult the panchangam, the Hindu calendar for a good day and time for preparing the aavakaya. Aavakaaya should be prepared when here is no bad time like Varjam, durmuhurtham, Rahukalam and yamagandam, It is a custom in those days to invite   elders to prepare the avakkaya. It is a way of showing respect and honouring the elders.My mother used to invite the wife of my grandfather’s brother; a widow, by name Pullamma for this auspicious ceremony. Aavakaya is prepared with devotion and under strict hygienic conditions. Pullammagaru is to put pasupubottlu(haldi dots )to the jaadis since jaadis are considered as Lakshmi pradam and they are treated with adoration.  Pullammagaru is to wear a madibatta(a cloth washed, dried and untouched by others) after taking a head bath and then only she would start preparing aavakaya. The entire family is to participate actively and the ceremony is to be a fun and great get- together. My paternal uncle, Baapi Raju garu, used to cut the mangos into right size pieces with the special mango chopper called mamidikaya kathipeeta. Great skill is involved in cutting a mango for the purpose of aavakaya since the mango has to be sliced with a single stroke.The mango pulp should not be pressed but sliced.The size of the cut pieces is very important in the preservation of the aavakaya.If the pieces are too small they will lose the crispness and become soggy. If the pieces are too big the essence of the mango juices will not be released into the mixture with the result we do not get the right consistency and taste. The mango should be cut along with the Tenka (seed).Me and my sisters used to clean the cut mango pieces with a clean cloth and take out the Jeedi (kernel) from the Tenka and the thin layer between the tenka and the jeedi. My mother used to help her by providing necessary ingredients, utensils and jaadis timely to make her job easy. Pullammagaru her own recipe and style for preparing aavakaya. 

 

Raw mangoes for aavakaya pickle
Raw mangoes for aavakaya pickle

 

Cutting the raw mangoes with special cutter (maamidi kaya Katti peeta)
Cutting the raw mangoes with special cutter (maamidi kaya Katti peeta)

 

Before starting the process Pullammagaru used  to do a prayer and put pasupubottle (haldi dots )to the jaadis since jaadis are considered as Lakshmi pradam and they are treated with adoration. After preparing the aavakaya ooragaya (pickle) it is stored in jaadilu and it is topped with a layer of oil .The oil prevents any moister coming into contact with the aavakayapachadi. After that the mouth of the jaadi is covered with clean white cloth called vasin iin Telugu and vaedu in Tamil and put the lid over the cloth.The secret behind covering the opening of the jaadi with cotton cloth is that cotton cloth will absorb the moisture around the jaadi and prevent the moisture thus entering into the jar. Even by chance any moisture enters the jaadi, the oil layer will prevent the moister come in contact with the pickle. The aavakaya is allowed to do its magical chemistry for three days and during these 3 days it is not disturbed.After three days my mother will wear madibatta and open the jaadi, stir the contents thoroughly with a ladle .She will transfer a small portion into a small jaadi for us to have a first time taste of the new aavakaya. From the day of preparation of aavakaya till the third day people wait impatiently to taste the first morsel of this red delight. Then starts the process of distribution to kith and kin. The aavakaya is first distributed to the families of sons and daughters. Small quantities of aavakaya packed in small jaadis or glass bottles is distributed to relatives and neighbours as an exchange of good will and  wait for their compliments. Similarly neighbours and relatives would also reciprocate the nice gesture of exchanging aavakaya. This mutual exchange is a part of the aavakaya culture.

After the demise of Pullammagaru, my mother took charge of the annual aavakaya preparation ceremony. Subsequently my wife Ramana got interested in preparation of the special Andhra ooragayalu and she used to prepare the pickles with utmost tradition and devotion. She will personally go and select the red chillies. She will bring two types of chillies. One the traditional hot chillies meant for pickles and second the Kashmiri variety which are not so hot but will give beautiful natural red colour to the aavakaya. Her pickles are a real success and she will invariably get lot of compliments from the friends and relatives. Even while we were in Mumbai, the great metro city, Ramana managed to get the traditional Gujarati women who will hand pound the chillies with the wooden rolu and rokali (large size mortar and pestle).After the decline of hand pounding services, she started using the milled powder.She would personally go to the market and select the mangoes after tasting them for correct pulupu and kanda (sourness and pulp). She is now a veteran in preparing traditional Andhra ooragayalu and her best bet is Menthi kaayapickle.

The favourite pickle of Tamilians “Vadumaangai“ is stored in the large peengan jaadis.Vadumaangai is prepared with tender green mangoes and preserved for a year.Similarly in Kerala “Uppumanga” is prepared with tender mangoes and this pickle is stored in brine in large Bharani.

 

The curd and butter milk is also stored in Jaadilu. During my days in our village, If any guests come to our house and adequate quantity of curds were not available,I used to go to the curd vendors and fetch the curds.The ladies in the farming community in our village used to sell curds stored in small jaadis. You have to pick up the number of jaadis you require and the curd is measured by jaadis. We used to take 3 or 4 jaadis and return the empty jaadis after use. Sometimes my mother used to keep a jaadi full of curds next to the plate and the guests would empty the jaadis. The curds prepared in jaadis taste excellent.

These jaadis are neutral in nature and do not affect or alter the taste,flavour and colour of the contents .The porcelain is a good preservative and keeps germs, bacteria and fungus away and thus the ideal jars to preserve pickles, chutneys and other long stored food items.We should admire the wisdom of our elders in selecting the ceramic jaadis for storage of food items .In our house and in my relatives house the jaadis are used to store jaggery, tamarind, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, Gongoora chutney, tomato  pickle, usirikai(amla)chutney, drumsticks pickle and Ghee.

Special Red chillies for aavakaya
Special Red chillies for aavakaya

 

Cut mangoes ready for aavakaya pickle

 

Mixing the ingredients of aavakaya

 

 

How to make Andhra Special MamidikayaAavakaya

Ingredients:

Raw mangoes: 8 numbers medium sized (approximately 9 cups of Cut Mango)

Avalapodi (Mustard powder)      : 2 cups
Karampodi ( Chilli powder)          : 2 cups                             

Uppu (salt)   powdered                   : 1.5 cups

Menthulu (Fenugreek Seeds)       : 2 tbsp

Pasupu (Turmeric)                           : 1/2tbsp
Nuvvulanoone (Gingili Oil)           : 3 cups.
Garlic flakes                                         : 1/2 cup (optional)

 

 

 

Procedure

 

  •  Step-1: Clean the mangoes with water and dry them thoroughly with a clean dry cloth.Cut them into 12 pieces along with the seed. Remove jeedi and the thin layer.wipe them with cotton clean cloth.Keep them aside 
  •  Step-2: Take a big bowl that will accommodate all the ingredients. Place mustard powder, salt, turmeric power, garlic flakes and the fenugreek seeds in the bowl and mix them thoroughly.Add little oil to wet them. 
  • Step-3:Put handful of mango pieces into the masala mixture and roll them in the mixture so that the entire surface of the mango pieces are covered with the masala powder.
  •  Step-4: Take a dry Jaadi and pour little oil into the jaadi to wet the bottom. Now place the marinated mango pieces in the jaadi. Put little oil on the top of the mango pieces. Repeat this process till all the cut mangoes are covered with masala powder and placed in the jaadi.
  • Step-4: Put some oil on the top of the pickle and cover the opening of the jaadi with the lid. Then cover the opening with a clean cotton cloth and seal with a rope. This ritual of covering and tying the jadi opening with the cloth is known as  vasini kattadam 
  •  Step-5: The jaadi should be left alone for three consecutive days without disturbing the contents.In these 3 days the mango pieces,the masala powders, the oil and the salt mix and create the magical taste, texture and flavour that is unique to aavakaya. Remove the seal after 3 days and mix the aavakaya with a long dry ladle.Notice the red oil floating on top of the pickle known as oota. Oota is the sour juice of the mango extracted by the salt and mixed with the chilli essence and the oil. 
  • Step-6: Now the Andhra special  fresh maamidi kaiaavakai ooragaya is ready for serving
Aavakaya preparation in progress

 

Mango pieces marinated with pickle masala

 

 

 

 

Varieties in aavakaya

 

In aavakaya itself there are so many verities.The traditional and proper aavakaya is prepared invariably in all Andhra houses and also some few different varieties of the aavakaya are also prepared. I am listing here some of the other varieties of the aavakaya.

  • Bellam Aavakaya: Bellam( jaggery) is added to the aavakaya to get that experience of sweet and hot taste at the same time coupled with the sour taste of mango and spicy taste of mustard powder.
  • Allam Aavakaya: Ginger garlic paste is added to the regular aavakaya for that extra spicy effect.
  • Gutty Aavakaya: The mango is not cut into pieces but sliced to the half way through from the top end and half way through from the bottom end. AAvakaya spices are stuffed into the sliced sections.Rest of the process is same.
  • Pachakaram Aavakaya: Instead of red chilli powder, yellow chilli powder is used. Yellow chillies are grown in the area around Gollaprolu and Pitthapura in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh) .The yellow chilies are also known as gollaprolu  mirapakayalu which have a unique taste.
  • Nuvvula aavakaya: powdered sesame is added to the aavakaya.
  • Pulihora aavakaya: Pulihora talimpu or seasoning (known as Chaunk or tadka in Hindi) is added to the regular aavakaya for that special flavour.
  • Menthi aavakaya: Menthi powder (fenugreek powder) is added along with the mustard powder in this variant of aavakaya for that peculiar menthi taste.
  • Vellulli aavakaya: Vellullipayalu (garlic flakes with the skin are added to aavakaya. The oota will enter into the garlic flakes and when chewed gives a heady taste.
  • Yendu aavakaya: The traditional aavakaya is sun dried in the jaadi several times till the entire oota is absorbed by the mango pieces.Yendu aavakaya pieces go very well with curd rice.
  • Usiri aavakaya:In place of green mango pieces, usirikaya (Indian gooseberry) is used as it is without cutting into pieces. The Usiri kaya is pierced with a tooth pick to form small holes to facilitate flow of juices. This aavakaya has medicinal effect according to Ayurveda.
  • Dosa aavakaya: Dosakaya (Yellow cucumber) is cut into pieces and are used in preparing aavakaya in place of mango.
  • Senagal aaavakaya: Sanagalu (Bengal gram, chanaor chickpeas) are added to the regular aavakaya.
Aavakaya ready to be put in the jaadi

 

Prepared aavakaya being transferred into jaadi

 

How aavakaya is consumed

Aavakaya is consumed mainly by Andhra people.Andhra is known as the rice bowl of India and the rice is the staple food of Andhras. They have invented various chutneys, pickles and powders that go excellently with rice.Andhra is also is the place where many varietiesof chillies are grown apart from mangoes, oil seeds like sesame and groundnuts.Ghee is also available plenty in this land. Using all these locally available ingredients, Andhras have since ages are patrons of good food with varieties of side and main dishes that go exceedingly well with rice. For many Andhras, aavakaya is a main dish. They mix aavakaya along with mango pieces, the sauce like pickle along with oota and pour liberal quantity of melted hot ghee with hot rice, make a round ball and consume with relish.For an onlooker fromdifferent region it would like as if they are consuming fire. Aavakaya is also taken as a side dish to enhance the taste of the main dish.The main dish of Mudda pappu with rice and ghee tastes heavenly with the aavakaya pickle as a side dish. Curd rice with aavakaya is a great combination. Aavakaya pickle is also taken as a side dish forIddli,dosa,Dibbarotti,and uppupindi. Aavakaya tastes fabulous within three months of its preparation (during this period it is fondly called Kothavakaya)and after that it slowly loses its zing.

Jaadeelu

 

The story of Jaadi

It is a wonder how jaadis emerged into our life and culture and ultimately settled as containers to our traditional pickles and other food items.In the early days all the pickles, curds, ghee etc are stored in earthen pots.I guess that During the British times they used to import chemicals in the glazed ceramic containers and after the consumption of the chemicals the empty porcelain jars are sold to the public. Because of their neutral nature people found them to be the ideal containers to use in place of earthen pots which are fragile in nature whereas porcelain containers are strong and heavy. The British standardised on the double colour of brown and white only to indicate that they contain chemicals and should be handle with care.With the popularity of these jars as a containers for various Indian food items,t hey are manufactured in India with the same colour combination for use in Indian market. These porcelain containers are subsequently acquired a native flavour and called as jaadis. Most of the jaadis I have seen carry the embossed inscription “Parrys”. Parrys is a famous British company established with its head office in Madras, the present Chennai,and the area near this company’s office even now known as Parrys corner. Subsequently Murugappa group acquired Parry and company. The porcelain division of Murugappa group stopped manufacture of Jaadis and are concentrating on bathroom porcelain utilities under brand name Parryware.

 

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Antique Brass And Bronze Curry Cooking Pots

Antique Brass and Bronze curry pots in a group
Antique Brass and Bronze curry pots in a group

 

The antique brass and bronze pots shown here are exclusively used for cooking Andhra Curries. In traditional Andhra meal there will be five items invariably  – Muddapappu, curry, chutney, pulusu, rasam and curds or butter milk with lots of accompaniments like pickles, powders, appadam, vadiyalu, ooramirapakayalu etc. Out of all Andhra meal items curry, known as koora takes an important position. It is the main dish. So the success of the meal depends on the success of the curry. Hence dedicated vessels are used to prepare this important dish. I have collected four curry pots and out of them two are from Andhra and two are from Tamil Nadu.The curry pots from Andhra are made with brass metal and called kooraginny and the ones from Tamil Nadu are made with bronze metal and called vengalapannai. Both the varieties have different shape though the utility and the functionality are same. In Hindi language curry pot is called handi.

 

Antique Brass and Bronze curry pots in a row
Antique Brass and Bronze curry pots in a row

 

Andhra Antique Brass curry pots called KooraGinni
Andhra Antique Brass curry pots called KooraGinni

 

Tamil Nadu Antique bronze curry pots called vengalapannai
Tamil Nadu Antique bronze curry pots called vengalapannai

 

The Andhra Brass curry pots have beautiful shape that serve both for functional purpose and aesthetic value.The” U” shaped coking vessel has a thick body so that the heat is distributed uniformly and the curry is cooked evenly.The brass pot has wide open mouth to facilitate easy movement of the ladle that is used for stirring the contents for uniform cooking.There is a wide rim at the mouth of the vessel so that the vessel is not slipped at the time of handling  and to have a firm grip.The wide mouth with the rim also helps in sealing the mouth with a metal plate to prevent the spicy vapors going out of the pot and preserve the moisture.

 

Andhra antique Brass curry pot size. Height 5.5 inches ,width at the moth 7.5 inches -front view
Andhra antique Brass curry pot size. Height 5.5 inches ,width at the moth 7.5 inches -front view

 

 

Andhra antique Brass curry pot size.Height 5.5 inches ,width at the moth 7.5 inches -top view
Andhra antique Brass curry pot size.Height 5.5 inches ,width at the moth 7.5 inches -top view

 

Andhra antique Brass curry pot size.Height 4.3 inches ,width at the moth 6.3 inches-front view
Andhra antique Brass curry pot size.Height 4.3 inches ,width at the moth 6.3 inches-front view

 

Andhra antique Brass curry pot size.Height 4.3 inches ,width at the moth 6.3 inches -top view
Andhra antique Brass curry pot size.Height 4.3 inches ,width at the moth 6.3 inches  -top view

 

The Tamil Nadu counterparts have a lovely bowl like shape with narrow base and wide mouth.There is a grove between the main body of the cooking pot and the opening.This groove is designed for the hand grip and gives excellent aesthetic sense.The narrow base allows the flames of the fire stretch up to the full length of the pot giving the pot uniform heat for excellent cooking results.I have acquired these enchanting pieces from an antique dealer in Madras, now called as Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu state.

 

Tamil Nadu Antique bronze curry pots size Height 4.5 inches, width at the mouth 7.0 inches -front view
Tamil Nadu Antique bronze curry pots size Height 4.5 inches, width at the mouth 7.0 inches -front view

 

Tamil Nadu Antique bronze curry pots size Height 4.5 inches ,width at the mouth 7.0 inches -top view
Tamil Nadu Antique bronze curry pots size Height 4.5 inches ,width at the mouth 7.0 inches -top view

 

Tamil Nadu Antique bronze curry pots size Height 4.3 inches ,width at the mouth 6.75 inches -front view
Tamil Nadu Antique bronze curry pots size Height 4.3 inches ,width at the mouth 6.75 inches -front view

 

Tamil Nadu Antique bronze curry pots size Height 4.3 inches ,width at the mouth 6.75 inches -top view
Tamil Nadu Antique bronze curry pots size Height 4.3 inches ,width at the mouth 6.75 inches -top view

 

The Andhra pots are the family inheritance. These pots were used by my mother and she used to turn out very delicious curries from these beauties. I also understand that my grandfather’s mother-in-law, KavammaGaru (garu is a respectable way of addressing elders), alsoused these wonderful pots for cooking mouth-watering curries. Her special dish was Vankaya karampettina koora. I understand that in our village Someswaram, the neighbours of our house used to plead with KavammaGaru to prepare this special dish and she used to prepare and distribute to them and enjoy such service as a gesture of good will. Even after her death, whenever they think of Kavammagaru, they used to praise her Vankaya karampettina koora. I am presenting the recipe of this wonderful dish passed on from Kavammagaru to my mother and there upon from my mother to my sisters and later to my wife. This antique brass curry pot and the recipe of Vankaya karampettina koora are more than 100 years old .The recipe is preserved and practiced by my wife so that we do not lose touch of this rare delicious dish.

 

How to cook Vankaya Kharampettina koora in Antique brass curry pot

The recipe for Vankaya Kharampettina koora

The speciality of the vankaya karampettina koora is that it is stuffed with a spicy powder of lentils, fenugreek seeds and redchillies. The fine taste of Indian lentils combined with the flavour of fenugreek seeds and the hot taste of red roasted chillies gives this dish a rare combination of taste that is to be experienced. The name Vankaya karampettina koora means the brinjal stuffed with hot spices. The brinjal is also called as aubergine or eggplant.

Ingredients required

12 fresh tender purple brinjals of round shape.

2 table spoons of Sanagapappu (Bengal gram)

2 table spoons of Minapapappu (Black gram)

Menthulu: 1/2 table spoon of Menthulu (fenugreek seeds)

10to12 Medium sized red dry chillies.

Preparation

Wash thoroughly the brinjals with the stalks. Trim the stalk ends.

To prepare the stuffing powder:

Take the antique brass curry cooking pot and heat it moderately on fire.Add ½ a table spoon of oil. When the oil is on medium heat add fenugreek seeds first followed by Bengal gram, black gram and red chillies cut into pieces.Fry till the grams take a golden brown colour and the red chillies take a darker shade of colour.Remove from the heat and cool the mixture in a plate.Put the mixture in a grinder and grind to a granular powder.Powder should not be too fine.It should be granular.

Prepare the brinjal for stuffing:

Take each brinjal and slit the bottom end upwards towards the stem till you reach the ¾ length of the brinjal .Make another similar slit from the bottom of the brinjal this time at right angles to the previous slit thus slitting the brinjalinto 4 sections.  Now the brinjal is ready for stuffing. Now stuff the powder into the slit sections of each brinjal till it holds. Stuff all brinjals.

Cooking the stuffed brinjal:

Heat 2 table spoons full of oil in the antique brass cooking pot .Add the stuffed brinjals one by one.  Stir the brinjals in the vessel so that the oil is smeared to each brinjal. Scatter the remaining powder over the brinjals. Sprinkle ¼ cup of water on the brinjals in the curry pot and cover with a thick plate as a lid on the pot, pour ¼ a cup of water in the plate, keep the fire in low and let the contents simmer on a low fire for  20 minutes.The water in the cover plate gets heated and there is heat surrounding the entire curry pot. This gives uniform heat to the brinjals for excellent cooking and seals the juices and flavors inside the pot. Keep tossing the brinjals occasionally by tilting the curry pot with jerks by holding the rim of the pot with a dry cloth. Stirring by ladle may damage the shape of the brinjal.  Cook for another 20 minutes or till the brinjals are well cooked to a tender soft condition. When you take them into serving dish hold each brinjal by stem or use a flat spoon like atlakada or dosa ladle.

Taste superb with hot rice and ghee or roti.

Ingredients for Vankaya Karampettina Koora
Ingredients for Vankaya Karampettina Koora

 

Brinjals for Vankaya Karampettina Koora
Brinjals for Vankaya Karampettina Koora

 

Fried Ingredients for Vankaya Karampettina Koora
Fried Ingredients for Vankaya Karampettina Koora

 

Powdered Fried Ingredients for VankayaKarampettina Koora
Powdered Fried Ingredients for VankayaKarampettina Koora

 

Slicing the brinjal using a table cutter
Slicing the brinjal using a table cutter

 

Stuffing the brinjal with spice powder
Stuffing the brinjal with spice powder

 

Stuffed brinjal ready to be cooked
Stuffed brinjal ready to be cooked

 

Place the stuffed brinjal in the hot oil
Place the stuffed brinjal in the hot oil

 

Brinjals being cooked in the kooraginni
Brinjals being cooked in the kooraginni

 

Tilt the Brinjals by jerking the pot using a dry cloth
Tilt the Brinjals by jerking the pot using a dry cloth

 

Cooked Brinjals ready for serving
Cooked Brinjals ready for serving

 

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Antique Brass Drinking Pots

Ancient Indian wisdom of storing water in brass vessels for healthy living is now proved to be a scientific fact. Extending the same habit, ancient Indians drank their water from brass pots. This culture was prevalent till the beginning of 20th century and that was when the stainless steel and plastic culture pushed out the use of brass as a medium of storing and drinking water. Modern world, enamoured by the comfort of stainless steel and the economic aspect of the plastic, had started using the vessels made out of both these materials. The wonderful art of making brass vessels in different shapes and sizes has slowly withered away and the beautiful and artistic brass drinking pots have gone out of everyday use and are now mostly available only with the collectors of these ancient treasures. I have managed to collect some of these magnificent antique Brass drinking pots and it gives me great pleasure to share these beauties with you.

Antique Brass Drinking Pots Arranged size-wise in a Row.
Antique Brass Drinking Pots Arranged size-wise in a Row.

I have grown up in the brass culture. In my child hood, everyone in our family including elders and children used to drink water from brass drinking pots or brass drinking lotas and brass tumblers. The elders used to drink from brass pots while the youngsters used to drink from brass tumblers since they are relatively lighter than the heavy brass pots. We also used to eat in bronze dining plates. My grandfather alone used to eat in a silver plate with a small patch of gold at the centre but invariably used to drink his water from a particular brass drinking pot which is exhibited in this article. The metal vessels in which the food is eaten and the water is taken actually form an integral part of the whole experience of serving and eating food. Along with the cooked food, my grandfather’s meal also consisted of microns of silver and gold absorbed by the hot rice served and brass microns from the drinking water. No one else in the family was allowed to use my grandfather’s drinking pot. Our elders used to call the brass drinking pots that of the size and shape shown in the pictures as Aapukara.

Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 6”, Width at Bottom 3.7”, Diameter & Width at the Belly 5.5”, Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.5”.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 6”, Width at Bottom 3.7”, Diameter & Width at the Belly 5.5”, Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.5”.


Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 6”, Width at Bottom 3.7” Diameter & Width at the Belly 5.5”, Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.5”.
Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 6”, Width at Bottom 3.7” Diameter & Width at the Belly 5.5”, Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.5”.

This is a magnificent piece of art work. My grandfather used to drink with this pot only. He lived for nearly 90 years and my mother used to tell me that he was using this for more than sixty years. This item is from our family’s collection and should be more than 100 years old.

Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 5”, Width at Bottom 3.2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 5”, Width at Bottom 3.2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.


Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 5”, Width at Bottom 3.2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 5”, Width at Bottom 3.2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.


Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.7”, Width at Bottom 3-2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.0” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.7”, Width at Bottom 3-2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.0” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.


Top-view Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.7”, Width at Bottom 3-2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.0” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Top-view Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.7”, Width at Bottom 3-2” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.0” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.


Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.5”, Width at Bottom 3-3” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.8” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.3” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.5”, Width at Bottom 3-3” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.8” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.3” Diameter.


Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.5”, Width at Bottom 3-3” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.8” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.3” Diameter.
Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.5”, Width at Bottom 3-3” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.8” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.3” Diameter.


Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.3”, Width at Bottom 3-0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.2” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.3”, Width at Bottom 3-0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.2” Diameter.


Top-view Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.3”, Width at Bottom 3-0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.2” Diameter.
Top-view Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 4.3”, Width at Bottom 3-0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 4.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.2” Diameter.


Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 3.2”, Width at Bottom 2.5” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.4” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 3.2”, Width at Bottom 2.5” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.4” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.


Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 3.2”, Width at Bottom 2.5” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.4” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.
Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 3.2”, Width at Bottom 2.5” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.4” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 3.0” Diameter.

This pot is made out of bronze, otherwise known as gunmetal. This pot stands on 3 supports fixed to the base of the pot unlike the rim on which the pot sits in other varieties of the brass drinking pots. It is also peculiar that the belly is not so prominent when compared to the traditional drinking pots whereas the neck is wide with thin rim like in a tumbler.

Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 2.7”, Width at Bottom 2.0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 2.2” Diameter.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 2.7”, Width at Bottom 2.0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 2.2” Diameter.


Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 2.7”, Width at Bottom 2.0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 2.2” Diameter.
Top-view of Antique Brass Drinking Pot. Size: Height 2.7”, Width at Bottom 2.0” Diameter, Width at the Belly 3.5” Diameter and Width at the Mouth 2.2” Diameter.

This is a beautiful and cute drinking pot. The belly is much larger compared to its height. The bottom rim and the rim of the mouth are almost equal. It has a beautiful design engraved on the body but you would now notice that it has faded due to usage through decades and antiquity. This item was gifted to me by my cousin sister Narasu who always supported me in my quest for collecting antiques.

The Design of the Brass Drinking Pots

These drinking pots are made with brass casting technique.

These pots have a perfectly balanced shape and proportion. The diameter of the bottom end and the mouth end is almost same with a bulging belly that beautifully tapers to a neck and finally opens up to a mouth with a rim. The design has soft flowing curves with the fine smooth finish.

The designer has designed the pot so beautifully that its base sits on the ground perfectly, the middle part with big belly shape holds a good amount of water and the smooth tapering neck takes the water gently to the opening (mouth) and the rim of the mouth facilitates ease of flow of water into the mouth of the drinker.

Hindu Priest Using Antique Brass Pot for Drinking Water.
Hindu Priest Using Antique Brass Pot for Drinking Water.

The neck of the pot is designed in such a way that it snugly fits into the grip of the hand when clenched between the palm and fingers.

The entire shape is aesthetically pleasing and functionally convenient.

The Most Popular Design in the 19th Century

This design of the brass drinking pots was very popular in that era. The same design was used not only for brass metal works but also for wood works, buildings, and other decorative aspects. I also have a Victorian style antique cot with canopy in my collection. The legs of the cot have a design exactly similar to that of the antique brass drinking pot.

Long View of Similar Design of Brass Drinking Pot on the Antique Canopy Cot.
Long View of Similar Design of Brass Drinking Pot on the Antique Canopy Cot.


Close-up view of Identical Design on the Wood Cot and the Brass Drinking Pot.
Close-up view of Identical Design on the Wood Cot and the Brass Drinking Pot.

The same design in a larger size was used to make an earthen pot for drinking water purpose called Cooja in India. Any design similar to Cooja is called a “Cooja design” in India.

The parapet walls of the terrace of the vintage buildings were also decorated with the similar design but in a slightly elongated style called Cooja design.

The Health Aspect of Drinking Water from Brass Pots or Brass Lota

On a recent trip to India, Reed, a microbiologist at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, witnessed villagers doing exactly this.

Reed, with his colleagues Puja Tandon and Sanjay Chhibber, carried out two series of experiments. In Britain, the researchers filled brass and earthenware vessels with a diluted culture of Escherichia coli bacteria, which can cause illnesses such as dysentery. They then counted the surviving bacteria after 6, 24, and 48 hours. A similar test was carried out in India using naturally contaminated water.

Antique Brass Drinking Pot Used for Drink Water at the Meal Time Decades Ago.
Antique Brass Drinking Pot Used for Drink Water at the Meal Time Decades Ago.

The amount of live E. coli in the brass vessels dropped dramatically over time, and after 48 hours they fell to undetectable levels, Reed told the Society for General Microbiology’s meeting this week in Edinburgh, UK.

You can read more information about the experiments conducted on the effect of brass on bacteria in the article here.

I have also written an article on “Ganga Water Lota” which provides some more information on Brass and Copper lotas. A lota is similar to a pot but it differs in shape. The article can be read here.