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What is Clay Pot Cooking?

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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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Clay pot cooking is the ancient technique of cooking food in unglazed clay pots. This art of clay pot cooking stretches back to Roman times and was used in many different cultures. In the 1970s, there was a revival of clay pot cooking, and today it has become increasingly popular as people search for different ways to cook food.

Before you start cooking in a clay pot, you should always soak it first for at least 15 minutes. Clay is a porous material. With clay pot cooking, the pot is saturated with water and heated in an oven so the steam evaporates slowly from the pores. As the food cooks inside the clay pot, juices are released, and the food begins to cook in its own juices. The juices are sealed inside the pot until it is completely dry, at which point the food is cooked and ready to eat.

No oils need to be added in clay pot cooking. Consequently, food cooked in a clay pot may be healthier than food cooked using more traditional methods such as frying or sautéing. Also, none of the food’s nutrients are lost in clay pot cooking, unlike food that is boiled in water.

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Because heat is lost due to the evaporation of water, clay pot cooking requires a higher oven temperature, usually about 50°C (90°F) higher. It also requires about 15 to 20 minutes extra cooking time than traditional methods using dry heat. Clay pots should never be placed in a hot oven or they may crack. Always place the pot in a cold oven and then heat until the required temperature is reached.

When you bring the clay pot out of the oven, always set it down on a towel or cooking pad rather than a cold surface. If you do not do this, the sudden temperature change may cause the pot to crack. Clay pots are very easy to clean. After the food has been removed, let the pot cool and soak it in water for a few minutes. Sprinkle the inside of the pot with salt and then scour it with a brush or pad. Then simply let the pot drain until it is dry.

Clay pots make excellent gifts, and there are many different types of pots available, incorporating designs from cultures around the world. Recipes are easy to follow and plentiful. Once you have tasted the difference that clay pot cooking can make, you may not want to switch back to traditional methods.

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Discuss this Article

anon326632
Post 7

Can I use a clay pot on the gas stovetop? How do I handle it?

anon15928
Post 6

Hi, I have used my Clay pot on the gas stove many times over the years and it has not cracked. I make sure that the heat is low and I use a diffuser so that the flame is not in direct contact with the pot.

sc523
Post 5

If I submerged my clay pot in water for 30 minutes, then oven-baked vegetables in it for 45 minutes, but when I took it out it cracked, what did I do wrong?

anon5035
Post 4

Hi there I just purchased a clay pot from a bazaar in Thailand and would like to know is there any way to identify if there is cadmium or lead with the product before I try to cook ? Any help would be much appreciated - thanks!

anon2932
Post 3

What are these pots like for cooking baked potatoes?

meloukhia
Post 2

Clay pots are not safe for stove top use, as they cannot handle direct heating.

anon2015
Post 1

can i use the clay pot in the gas stovetop?

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