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May 6, 2007 04:23 PM


I need some counsel on hardware and technique.

I seem to find that European clay-pot cooking uses UN-glazed vessels and the idea is to soak the pots before adding food and then allowing the moisture within the body of the pot to contribute to the dish.

On the other hand, Chinese clay pot cooking seems to involve pots glazed on the inside and the outside and sometimes just on one side.

So what is the theory, technique, and most appropriate vessel?

Much appreciated,


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  1. I'm a little unclear what vessel is most appropriate, since I'm not sure what you're trying to do: "hot pot" and "clay pot" refer to two completely different kinds of cooking.

    Chinese clay pots are glazed on the inside because the "theory" is to develop a crust on the bottom.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I am with Ruth. Hot Pot is similar to Japanese Shabu Shabu where you cook meat, veg, etc in broth. Clay pot is different. Back when we lived in Hong Kong, my Mom would make soup (lao huo tong/old fire soup) in a large clay pot. She would just throw everything in and set the pot on the stove top.

      You can also make braises/stew in a clay pot. You would need to brown everything in a wok first.

      1. re: cecilia

        Clay pot (sha guo) dishes are popular in Hong Kong. There are lots of clay pot recipes in Ken Hom's "Fragrant Harbor Taste", which is about contemporary Hong Kong cuisine.


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      1. If you want a hot pot (cooking in a broth) then a metal one is better. In fact if there is a Aisan store in the area it is best to have a divided metal pot in which you can have too stocks for cooking.

        Sometime called a Yin and Yang pot for hot pot.

        In China the hot pots were made of metal and heated by having hot coals drop down a hole in the middle of the pot to provide heat. We have one but a butane stove is better since you do not have to wait for the broth to get hot and add coals as you go.

        1. Here is a link to a clay pot I have.

          Here's another link that has some good instructions re soaking and not putting cold liquids into the pot when it is hot. The recipe for "Clay Pot Chicken" sounds good, and easy too!
          Using chicken and fish, which essentially poach in the pot with the veggies & aromatics is possibly the way to go for easiest use.

          I use mine to serve my chicken/okra and seafood gumbos--the large size and rough fabrication seems to go well with hearty rustic food. Sometimes I use the lids for bread plates along with them.

          Found mine in Chinatown in Boston.