Saturday, March 2Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary

What is Frying Pan in Tagalog? Brief History and Different Uses

A frying pan in Tagalog is called “kawali.” As the name suggests, frying pans are mostly used for frying foods such as eggs, fish, and meat, and is the partner of siyansi. Nevertheless, a kawali is also used for sauteing vegetables and cooking small amounts of food. Also called skillets, frying pans are generally shallow, with sloped sides, and flat bottoms. 

frying pan in Tagalog
Kawali in the Philippines

The sloping sides of a frying pan make it easy for the user to toss, flip, and turn food during the cooking process. On the other hand, the flat bottom ensures maximum contact with the heat source, allowing for even heat distribution and efficient cooking. The handle is usually long, but some have short handles for easier lifting and balancing. 

Frying pans are commonly made of materials that offer excellent heat conductivity, such as stainless steel, copper, and cast iron. Modern frying pans feature a non-stick-coated material for easier cleaning and allow less use of cooking oil. Some frying pans come with lids and cover to protect your hand due to oil splattering, especially when frying fish. 

The size of a kawali can vary, ranging from small ones suitable for frying a single egg to larger ones for cooking family-sized portions. The selection of the size and material depends on your intended use and the amount of food you will cook. But regardless of what you choose, all of them are versatile enough to handle different cooking styles.  

The kawali already existed in the Philippines even during the pre-Spanish colonial period. It was called “kalahay,” which was made from steel or iron. The kalahay was brought to the Philippines by Chinese traders and was eventually mass-produced in the country. When the Spaniards came, the kalahay was eventually called “carajay.” 

For centuries, every Filipino household had a kawali in the kitchen. Today, it continues to be an essential tool for achieving flavorful and crispy textures in a wide array of dishes. Needless to say, frying pans also showcase the adaptability and versatility of Filipino cooking utensils over time. Without a doubt, the kawali is a must-have utensil. 

Use kawali in a sentence. 


Hugasan mo ng mainit na tubig ang kawali, at siguruduhin mong wala nang mantika. 


Rinse the frying pan with hot water, and make sure it is no longer oily.

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