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Is cooking in clay pots the new food fad?

The tradition of cooking in clay pots is quickly becoming a food fad and restaurateurs in Karachi are rapidly adapting

By Shaista Jalil |
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PUBLISHED February 20, 2022

Food is essential for life. If food is served in a good and natural style, it enhances its value even more.

When we look at the history of the human lifestyle and food trends, we see that food serving and cooking styles were very simple.

In ancient times humans were used to cooking and serving food in clay pots. Now whenever we look at them, these pots remind us of an era past but in this modern era of the 21st century this cooking and eating method has been reintroduced. Whether it is a big restaurant or small street dhabas. Preparing of food in clay pots is popular among food lovers since these cheap pots give food a rich taste.

Traditional desi foods are very popular in the city of lights Karachi the trend of selling various indigenous Pakistani dishes cooked in matkis-clay pots are gaining momentum and this food style is now a very famous and popular among food lovers.

Karachi’s biryani is very famous all over the world. For Karachi's biryani lovers, Muhammad Qasim introduced ‘matka biryani,’ which has become very popular in a short span of time.

Qasim has years of working experience as chef in United Arab Emirates. When asked how he came up with the idea of ​​cooking in clay pots, Mohammad described his cooking experience of working in UAE. He started to experiment with new dishes in clay pots under a charcoal fire as this food style had become very popular among the Pakistani food lover customers in UAE.

Qasim returned to Pakistan a few years ago and started his own food catering business with his sons and started to work on the same idea of ​​preparing food in clay pots and started with biryani since it was both famous and traditional. Steam meat and other local Pakistani traditional dishes soon followed.

Qasim shared that with the passage of time now this clay pots cooking style became popular in the city of Karachi.

According to Qasim, the taste of food prepared in clay pots is very different and more palatable than other steel or metal’s utensils. Qasim says that whether its chicken, mutton or beef biryani, he first cooks the dish over a coal fire and then keeps it in the same steam and completes cooking it for the customers on the same fire.

He said that the number of orders are increasing on a daily basis due to its taste and serving style because matki creates a unique taste in steam. According to him chicken, mutton, beef and prawn biryani are all popular dish items on his catering menu.

According to him, these clay pots made with raw soil enhance the flavour of the food, giving it a very good and rich taste and it becomes more delicious. This is the main reason that customers love to eat this ‘matka biryani.’

For his business, Qasim takes online orders and prepares biryani in dozens of matkas (clay pots) and deliver to the customers.

Since these clay matkis are not available in Karachi, Qasim imports them from Punjab and as the business is expanding so is the demand for these pots.


Burns Road is the most popular and oldest food street in Karachi. At the corner of food street, a stall has become a favorite place of fries lovers. These fries are especially prepared in small clay pots by a young boy. Known as ‘Matka Potato Fries,’ the stall is owned by Umair.

Umair started this small business just few months ago but his customers have steadily increased day by day.

According to Umair, food lovers are flocking to his stall after seeing how the fries are prepared in a matka. He added that that making and serving fries in a clay pot, makes them unique from ordinary french fries. The matki-clay pot also enhances the flavour of these cheese fries.

As evening falls, there is a rush of customers at Umair’s mini fries stall, which continues till late at night. Customers commented on the fries prepared in clay pot saying that they like to eat matka fries because of its look and different taste.

The style of serving tea in small pots is also gaining popularity among the tea lovers. Customers wait a long for their clay pot mud-tea which was prepared in pots style mini mugs.

Muhammad Usman likes the preparing style of this tea in clay pot the tea maker served him one hot cup of tea. He took a sip and shared the experience. He said that “tea served in a this clay pot made with soil has doubled its taste. This is the old food serving and eating style but the trend repeats in every age. He further said that just as fashion and clothing styles are changing, the old style is being given a new color, so the food style is also being changed now.

In Karachi, where it is becoming popular to cook and sell in clay pots, the tradition of making and selling pottery has ended.

In the oldest residential and commercial area of Karachi, Lyari Kumharwara, Ghulam Hussain is doing business of clay things and pots from the past decades. When asked where all these items are made in such a large number, Hussain said that this work of making clay pots has stopped in Karachi.

We bring these items from Punjab in a large quantity and sell here. There are only few shops remaining in this area where these items are sold only.

In Lyari, Kumharwara an old woman sells the clay things outside her house, she also shared that the this street has been changed with time the potters who was belong to this street have shifted to the other professions because of many reasons. Thus, the work of making pottery has come to an end and the number of sellers has also come down.

The sellers of mud clay pots import all these things from other cities of Pakistan but these clay pots still are in use and part of our lifestyle in different ways includes food.

Tea, fries or local food, the aroma of clay pots and the beauty and the smell of the raw soil play an important role in making ordinary food unique and more delicious.