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Chemical-free techniques to make your cookware non-stick


Many of us love the convenience of non-stick pots and pans, which save us the inconvenience of scrubbing off stuck or burnt bits of food. But most non-stick cookware sold commercially tend to use chemical coatings like Teflon to prevent food sticking to surfaces. Here are some handy suggestions to make your very own non-stick pan.


Photo credit:  Carlos Porto
A properly seasoned pan prevents food from sticking to its surface. 

Always preheat oil in the pan before adding food regardless of the material. Oil seeps into the pores of the metal when heated at high temperatures, creating a natural non-stick coating. Use enough oil to provide a thin coating over the bottom, then heat it over medium to high heat. Modern stoves like the Electrolux Maxiflame hob have burners that are designed to deliver high heat quickly and evenly to the cookware. This allows the oil to heat faster and reduces the risk of putting food in too early.

The Maxiflame is designed to deliver high heat to cooking utensils similar to that in professional kitchens.

As a rule of thumb, add in the food only after thin wisps of vapour appear. If you find that you need to add more oil while cooking, use a metal spatula to gently loosen the food and push it to the side, then tilt the empty area of the pan over the heat. Let the oil heat up first before moving the food back. This helps to prevent the food from becoming a greasy mess.


Clean thoroughly

Always make sure that your stovetop and cookware are clean. Residue from sauces, syrups and other food will burn when exposed to the direct heat of the burner. Not only will it be a hassle to clean, but it could end up sticking to and burning the bottom of your cookware.

If you’ve burnt food in the cookware, deglaze it immediately. Deglazing is the process of using a liquid to remove residue from a pot or pan. Simply remove the cookware from the stove while it is still hot. Add one cup of cold water and return it to the stove. Heat the water over medium heat, while using a metal spatula to gently mix in any leftover residue.


Season your pots and pans

For cast iron cookware, seasoning them correctly can make them stick-proof. Coat the pan with lard or solidified bacon grease. Use solid fats, not vegetable oil. Fat carbonises in the pores of the metal and prevents food from attaching itself to the surface.

Put the utensil into an oven preheated to about 120oC and bake it for 15 minutes, then remove the pan and dump out the excess liquid grease. Replace the pan in the oven and continue heating for two hours. Repeat the process once or twice to ensure that the fat thoroughly seeps into the pores of the pan.


Heat slowly, stir frequently

When cooking sauces, heat them slowly. Tomato-based, sugar or dairy-based sauces are prone to burning if heated too quickly. They need to be brought to the boil slowly, starting with a low or medium heat, and allowed to boil only as long as necessary. Induction hobs like the Electrolux EHED72CS are especially suited for heating such sauces, as they are better suited to providing even, consistent heat to a pot or pan.

Remember to stir frequently. This is especially important to prevent sauces from sticking. Solid foods like meat and vegetables should be stirred, turned and flipped to prevent them leaving a burnt residue.

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