Finding the Safest and Healthiest Dutch Oven: A Short Guide with Uses & Recipes for Dutch Oven

A Dutch oven can be used in so many different ways, from cooking meats, to creating casseroles, to making healthy rice dishes, to concocting soups or stews, and even to baking some delicious French bread! A recipe list for a Dutch oven can get endlessly extensive, so in this article we hope to give you a guide to cooking different types of foods in a healthy way in your Dutch oven so that you can use it to cook any recipe.

For those who do not have one yet, or if you are looking to switch to a healthier one, below is a short guide for finding the safest and healthiest Dutch oven. Additionally, further below we have some of the most popular ways to use a Dutch oven and some tips to prepare them in a more healthy way, including our favorite Dutch oven recipes!

Continue reading Finding the Safest and Healthiest Dutch Oven: A Short Guide with Uses & Recipes for Dutch Oven

Truly Non-Toxic Dinnerware: No Lead or Cadmium. Your search ends at MEC!

Serving food in healthy, non-toxic dinnerware is as important as cooking it in healthy cookware! However, a major problem that comes with selecting healthy dinner dishes is the lack of options. This article aims to inform you on the choices of healthy brands/options for dinnerware, and provide the best kind of dinnerware for healthy eating:

What Are The More Commonly Used Forms of Dinnerware?

One of the biggest drawbacks of choosing dinnerware is how limited the selection can be in regards to healthy materials. Here is a list of some of the most commonly used types of plates, bowls, and cups.

Continue reading Truly Non-Toxic Dinnerware: No Lead or Cadmium. Your search ends at MEC!

3 Important Things to look for while Choosing the Safest Cookware

If you are looking to buy a new cookware set to cook food for you and your family, not only do you have to find one that is functional for your family’s needs, but you need to find one that is safe, too. Finding the safest ones for your health can be a more difficult process, given the variety of cookware options and various pots and pans claiming they are perfectly safe for cooking.

Some cookware can seem too good to be true (and sometimes, that is the case!), so what is the safest cookware for your health? This article will help you choose the safest option for your family, as well as offer a means for you to determine how safe a cookware set is on your own.

Continue reading 3 Important Things to look for while Choosing the Safest Cookware

Eco-Friendly Cookware Sets Made in USA for Green Cooking

Choosing an eco-friendly cookware set for the kitchen is the dream of every planet-conscious cook. But among the many options available, is it easy to find the one that cooks healthfully while also being healthy for the planet? Certainly not! This article aims to examine different cooking pot options in the market and determine which one is truly green and worth adding to your cart.

Continue reading Eco-Friendly Cookware Sets Made in USA for Green Cooking

How to identify Lead free Slow Cookers? The Dangers of Lead Exposure

Since the early ’70s, the electric slow cooker has been a popular kitchen appliance in American households. It is convenient to use, requires only a few minutes prep time, and requires little babysitting.

Furthermore, cooking slow and low in a sealed chamber locks the moisture and keeps nutrients intact in your food, which eventually causes your food to turn out flavorsome and tasty. Unfortunately, there is a dangerous toxin lurking in your slow cooker that you may not be aware of: lead.

This article aims to discuss the potential dangers of lead and offers useful tips to identify lead-free slow cookers.

Continue reading How to identify Lead free Slow Cookers? The Dangers of Lead Exposure

Your Search for a Healthy Saucepan ends at MEC

Whether you want to boil pasta, cook rice, or prepare your favorite sauce, saucepans are pivotal in making things convenient in the kitchen. This versatile piece of cookware can cook a variety of dishes – thanks to its unique design. Keep reading to learn more about its many useful features.

Saucepans and their Usage

What Makes a Saucepan Different from Other Pans?

A saucepan typically comes in a circular shape with a flat bottom, high sides (unlike a frying pan), and an insulated handle. Its design allows for a larger surface area to evenly cook or heat the food, especially during roasting. The long handle lets you move it without worrying about touching the hot body. Most of these come with a lid that makes them great for braising, simmering, and boiling.

Continue reading Your Search for a Healthy Saucepan ends at MEC

What makes All-natural Clay the Healthiest Cooking Material?

Is it safe to cook in clay pots? This is the first question that comes to mind of any healthy cook who is considering clay pot cooking as an alternative to metal cookware. All metals are innately reactive, which is why any cooking pot made from any metal can leach into food while cooking, with heat acting as the catalyst.

To avoid food contamination, it is good to look for an alternative, and what could be better than an all-natural material that is naturally non-toxic and inert? What makes a clay pot a safer choice than conventional cooking pots? This article acts as your guide to clay cooking safety and how to find the right clay pots for cooking.

Continue reading What makes All-natural Clay the Healthiest Cooking Material?

Are Non-Stick Pans Safe? A Guide to Choosing the Healthiest and Safest Non-Stick Pan

One of the more predominant pieces of cookware on the market is a pan with a non-stick coating. With the natural stickiness of some foods like eggs, sugars, and rices, many opt for this type of coated cookware to make cleanup easy after preparing a meal. We have all seen how some nonstick pans are so good at their job that you can have an egg slide around in the pan as if gliding on air! But are non-stick pans safe?

Unfortunately, although nonstick cookware may be extremely convenient, it might not be a healthy choice for our body. This article serves as a guide on commonly used nonstick pots and pans and their health impact as well as presenting the many benefits of a safe and healthy option.

Continue reading Are Non-Stick Pans Safe? A Guide to Choosing the Healthiest and Safest Non-Stick Pan

A Short Guide to Biryani Cooking (Including Tips For Cooking It In A Clay Pot)

What is Biryani?

Biryani is a delicious Indian seasoned rice dish and is also known as biriyani, biriani, birani or briyani. It has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions as it can be made with meat, fish or vegetables. The word Biryani is derived from Persian word for rice, Birinj, and another Persian word Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’.

This famous dish owns a special place in people’s hearts because it is a perfect mix of everything that tantalizes the taste buds in every which way. Meat or veggies, rice, ghee, and spices when mixed in the correct proportions, and cooked to perfection produce a dish that satiates foodies like no other.

The Origin of Biryani

The exact origin of this great dish is not certain, but most theories claim that it came from the royal kitchens of the Mughal Empire (1526-1857). It is a mix of the Persian pilaf and the Indian spicy rice dish. It is widely believed that the modern biryani is the result of culinary experiments aimed to create a delicious and nutritious wholesome dish by Mumtaz Mahal – the legendary Mughal queen wife of the emperor Shahjahan.

The Best Cookware for Biryani

Biryani is best cooked in a Dutch oven, for it is a sturdy and versatile piece of cookware. It can team up with any heat source and bring your flavors to life by cooking with steady heat. A Dutch oven comes in many varieties, but the design is often kept simple. This is because its primary purpose is to preserve the natural flavors in your ingredients and offer a tasty aromatic dish like Biryani. Dutch ovens can be made from different materials like cast iron, aluminum, stainless steel, ceramics, or natural clay. Keep reading to discover which one among these makes the best cooking pot for biryani.

Different Cookware Options for Biryani

Metal pots have been on the market for quite some time now, but there is unfortunately a health risk that comes with them. All metals are innately reactive, which means cooking food in a metal pot can contaminate it with metal toxins. The biochemical reactions during cooking must stay in an inert environment, so there are no toxic ions leaching from the cooking vessel to form toxic compounds.

Some brands tried to overcome this risk by coating the cooking pot with another material like glazes; enamels; or coatings of Teflon, ceramics, etc. These keep the reactive metals from coming in direct contact with food, and these can also sometimes make the pot non stick. This coating seems like a great solution because food will not stick to the bottom and the pot becomes easy to clean. However, such a solution is not fully viable for a variety of reasons.

These coatings are made from materials that have safety concerns. Studies have shown that materials like Teflon emit toxic fumes when heated. Of course, some try to overlook this issue with claims like “the fumes are only formed at really high temperatures” or that “the serious health effects of such materials are rare”. Despite these claims, the fact remains that not enough research has been done that can guarantee the safety of these materials.

“Ceramic ware” is a term used to classify things made from a raw material that has some clay with many additives. Many of these additives are toxic. This unfortunately means ceramics is also not a healthy and clean material for cooking.

Some seasoned and enlightened cooks stick to a cooking pot that has been trusted and relied upon from even before the time Biryani was discovered – a pure clay pot. Natural clay in its purest form is innately non-reactive, thus making the perfect vessel for cooking food. Some modern clay pots come glazed with chemicals or toxic materials, and they are not safe for the reasons explained above. Therefore, the best clay pot for cooking Biryani is a healthy Dutch oven made from pure and natural primary clay without any additives, glazes, or enamels.

Vegetable Biryani

MEC Clay Pots for Biryani

Miriam’s Earthen Cookware (MEC) is a US-based cookware brand that offers pots and pans made from lab tested primary clay without additives. They make cooking pots by throwing all-natural clay on a potter’s wheel and using skillful hands to shape it into pots. In contrast, any machine-based process essentially call for the use of additives and/or chemicals.

MEC avoids using any toxic material and makes sure the pots turn out as pure and non-toxic as the raw material, natural clay. Cooking Biryani in MEC’s clay pot is simple and yet comes out healthy, flavorful, and aromatic.

Why and How to Cook Biryani in a Clay Pot?

A pure clay pot (such as MEC pots) cooks with unique far-infrared heat: penetrating deep into each grain and cooking evenly and thoroughly at low heat. This gentle heat cooks your ingredients while keeping their natural flavors intact, which also preserves even the most delicate nutrients. Therefore, biryani cooks healthily, nutritiously, and flavorfully in a pure clay pot (link to home page) with each ingredient cooked to perfection.

Additionally, MEC pots become naturally non-stick once they are fully seasoned (used 5-6 times for water-based recipes like lentils, soups, etc.). This prevents food from sticking to the bottom and makes the pot easy to clean. These features make MEC the best clay pot for biryani.

One thing that discourages people from cooking biryani often is the lengthy process of cooking it. However, cooking it in MEC makes it so much easier and involves only 4 main steps! Here is a Biryani recipe from MEC’s kitchen that demonstrates how convenient it is to cook biryani in a clay pot:

Aromatic Chicken Biryani Recipe (by MEC)

Serves – 5, Prep Time: 30 mins, Cooking Time: 40 mins



Marinate chicken for about 30 minutes in:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken
  • 2 Tbsp. of MEC yogurt
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (an aromatic mixture of ground spices used in Indian cooking, usually containing black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, and turmeric)
  • 1/2 tsp salt.

You can use either bone in or boneless chicken. We prefer bone in chicken!

Other Ingredients:

  • 3 medium-sized onions, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized potato, chopped to approximately 1″ size
  • 1 medium-sized tomato (optional), chopped
  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup peas (optional)
  • 2 cups of basmati rice – wash and drain rice and set aside.
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • Salt to taste, oil – 2 tsp.


  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed slightly
  • 3 cloves cardamom
  • 1/2 cup fresh-washed mint leaves, chopped finely (if using dried mint leaves, use 1/3 cup)
  • 2 chopped 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped finely
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander powder
  • 2-3 bay leaf
  • 1-3 red chilis (mild, medium, or spicy)
  • 1″ ginger, crushed
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
Biryani Being Cooked in MEC

How to Cook Aromatic Chicken Biryani:

Start stove on low heat.

  1. Add 2 tsp. of pure cooking oil to the pot, then add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, onions, ginger, and garlic.

2. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 5-7 minutes covered.

  • Add chicken, mint leaves, coriander leaves, and red chili. Stir, increase heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add potatoes, and if adding other veggies – add now along with chili powder and garam masala.

3. Stir and cook for 5 more minutes

  • Add basmati rice (washed and drained).

4. Stir thoroughly with spices in the pot.

Add water and salt to taste. Stir, cover, and cook until rice is cooked (20-25 mins).

Your aromatic biryani is ready to serve!

Some Great Biryani Recipes

As discussed in the beginning of this article, there are many variations of biryani – both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Here are some great recipes for this spicy, hearty, and zesty dish:

Chicken Pot Biryani Recipe

Matka Veg Biryani Recipe by Hebbars Kitchen

Kerala Style Claypot Chicken Biryani Recipe by Little Hearts

Clay Pot Prawn Biryani Recipe by Sandhya’s recipes

Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani Recipe by The Indian Claypot

Pot Biryani Recipe/Matka Veg Biryani Recipe by Chitra’s Food Book


Can Biryani be Cooked in Stainless Steel?

Yes, biryani can be cooked in stainless steel. The pot must be made from best grade stainless steel with a heavy base that enables quick and even heating of food. As mentioned above, stainless steel is not as healthy as clay because it made from a combination of metals. Also, the harsh near infrared heat from stainless steel damages nutrients, and your ingredients lose their natural flavor and aroma. Despite this, stainless steel is still a better option than most other conventional cookware like aluminum pots, or pots with non-stick coating.

Is Aluminum good for cooking Biryani?

Aluminum is a soft metal that is used to make inexpensive cookware. It comes in anodized, hard-anodized, and coated forms. These pots are widely used because of their comparatively low prices, but aluminum exposure causes serious health problems.

This reactive metal is a known neurotoxin. It accumulates in brain, bones, and liver and can cause various disorders like dialysis encephalopathy and bone disorder. Some studies have also associated aluminum with Alzheimer’s disease. Other ill effects pertain to the central nervous system.

There are some who defend aluminum cookware with arguments based on “safe levels” of aluminum that the kidneys can easily filter out. However, it is unwise to let a known toxin enter our body even in small quantities when we are aware of its potential health hazards. This is why using aluminum cookware for biryani is not recommended.

Why is it best to cook Biryani in MEC Clay Pots?

Making Biriyani in MEC clay pots is so much healthier and also easier as:

a. Only 1/6 of the oil is needed,

b. There is no need to marinate the chicken for a long hours,

c. There is no need to cook rice in a different pot/pan. Rice is cooked to perfection in the same pot, without getting mushy,

d. the biryani can be cooked in 4 easy steps vs. 10 to 12 steps in other pots.

and e. The biryani recipe overall takes less time to cook!

And of course the fundamental benefits of cooking in MEC: your food is not contaminated with toxins, and nutrients are not damaged so the food is nutritionally dense.

Cook rice and lentils under 30 mins in MEC’s best rice cooker

Rice and lentils are one of the best combination foods and are quite popular across the globe. Did you know there are nine essential amino acids that the human body can’t produce and must get from food? These essential amino acids are unevenly distributed among plant foods. Therefore, to consume complete proteins, one must combine the right foods.

Continue reading Cook rice and lentils under 30 mins in MEC’s best rice cooker