Rural womenfolk use bio fuel for cooking and heating, as its free and available in the nearby forests.
To conserve precious bio fuel, a Chula (rural cook stove) was assembled by scientists and engineers at the ASTRA, IISc, Bangalore. This Chula’s picture is posted below. The smoke and heat would pass through the unit in turn heating the vessels kept on it, before escaping through the chimney. It reduced not only indoor pollution for the poor womenfolk who suffered from respiratory disorders but also cooked multiple dishes all at the same time.
The slowest cooking dish like rice or lentils would be placed just above the hole where the chula is fired, the next chulas with only top openings where other vessels would heat up multiple dishes like soups, milk, vegetables, water… all in a row! This was tried and tested successfully in the Ungra village, Karnataka under Appropriate Technology in the 1980s. Dr. AK Amulya was the pioneer for such innovative concepts to alleviate sufferings of the poor in the rural areas. The neatly constructed one is the Project Ungra cook stove which has a trap door shutting off the heat and smoke from coming out into the kitchen. The second is a random one from some unknown village where the idea to conserve heat to cook 3 dishes at a time is not bad at all.
Check out the link below which is modern and has a similar concept but works on electricity.
While on this, would like to share another brilliant cooking process used while making the famed Dumm Biryani. It’s all about maintaining ‘dumm’ (heat) in ‘dumm Biryani’. Got to do with a slow cooking process. The vessel or cooker is made to trap and retain heat inside to cook the dumm biryani where partially cooked (usually Basmati) rice, chunks of choice vegetables, (mutton or chicken optional), herbs and condiments like cloves, cardamom, black pepper, green and red chillies, cummins, milk, curds, saffron, lime juice, essences, seasonings, butter or clarified butter or oil…. are all layered in the vessel and its lid sealed with wheat dough to prevent steam from escaping. This process ensures that all the ingredients cook in their own juices. A most aromatic and preferred rice dish, all over the world is this Dumm Biryani. Very flavorful. Proportions and Recipes vary from family to family, from state to state and country to country! Google for the Dumm Biryani recipe and watch on Youtube the variations in preparing it.