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I recently purchased what I believed to be a balti dish. It turned out, it was just a serving dish.

enter image description here

It is described as

A Quality Stainless Steel Balti Dish 15cm in diameter. Balti dishes are perfect for serving your Indian food & Curry Dishes the traditional Restaurant way. Two handles on either side for easy handling.

Are there any obvious/common dangers cooking with this on a gas hob? Or is the risk more that the material won't take the heat and could break (spilling the food)?

  • If you decide you don't want to cook in it, you can do balti-style cooking in a wok, if you have one. – NadjaCS Nov 4 '15 at 20:37
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    The handles could get surprisingly hot quickly, and thin stainless steel will take some practice to cook on without things sticking... but given that you will normally start a masala with a good amount of oil (which works as a lubricant and heat buffer/distribution medium) it might work... and thin metal might even be advantageous for fast heat control (what made your mustard pop tends to incinerate your fenugreek with a thick bottomed vessel ;) – rackandboneman Nov 4 '15 at 20:56
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I would say that is too thin to use on a hob. There isn't an Indian restaurant in the country that uses them to actually cook in: they cook in a proper pan and then dump it in a dish like this to serve.

  • What restaurants do vs what is common/going to work in home cooking is one question, and whether or not it is a proper pan is hard to see from the tiny photo. I can't tell the thickness, but I have a kadai that looks quite similar to that and is indeed thick enough for cooking, but probably not pretty enough for serving. Restaurant style food is arguably generally less authentic, so I wouldn't base advice for home cooking on what all Indian restaurants in the UK do... – NadjaCS Nov 4 '15 at 19:48
  • I have seen these dishes in the metal: they are not cooking vessels. – ElendilTheTall Nov 4 '15 at 20:28
  • I'm not arguing that there are not some dishes that are not suitable for cooking in, but I can't tell from the photo whether or not this one is. If you've seen Dave's specific one (or one from the same source) then that explains it. As for similar ones, I was trying to find a good picture from a roadside dabba but none of the photos I have shows this style of dish clearly ... there are wok-like cooking vessels in common use that are superficially similar to this, but generally less pretty. Some companies make pretty ones meant for home not restaurant use that are also suitable for cooking in. – NadjaCS Nov 4 '15 at 20:33
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    ...of course, the description does say "for serving" in the Restaurant way. – NadjaCS Nov 4 '15 at 20:34
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Yeah it's fine, that's a balti dish and you can cook in it.

  • ...if it really is quality stainless steel. ;-) – NadjaCS Nov 4 '15 at 19:50
  • Personally, I wouldn't ever again... After a while the cheap(ish) one I bought from the Indian grocery store began to discolor from being cook directly on the gas stove... – Adrian Hum Nov 5 '15 at 4:51

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