In Vietnam, the stew-like, braised dish called “kho tộ” is usually cooked in a clay pot. The pot is most often called nồi đất in Vietnamese, clay pot cooking is a technique of cooking food in an unglazed clay pot which has been soaked in water before cooking, then filled with food and placed into an oven or directly onto the stove top. The walls of the pot help retain the heat, as the pot warms it releases steam during cooking. This technique has a long history, and is commonly used in several cuisines, especially in Southeast Asia.

The food inside the clay pot loses little of its moisture because it is surrounded by steam, creating a tender, flavorful dish. The evaporation of the water prevents burning as long as the pot is not allowed to heat until it is completely dry. Because no oil needs to be added with this cooking technique, food cooked in a clay pot may be lower in fat compared with food prepared by other methods such as sautéing or frying. And unlike boiling, nutrients are not leached out into the water. This adds a great health benefit to the finished dish.

If you want to cook healthy Vietnamese food at home, a clay cooker is a great piece of kitchen equipment not to be missed. Below are some of my recommendations:

1.

Made from exceptional clay found only in China that withstands a direct flame or direct contact with an electric burner. They are referred to as “sandy pots” due to their sandy exterior and course texture, yet the interior of these pots has a dark brown, smooth glaze. Many of the clay pots also come with a removable wire “cage” covering the exterior that serve both to protect the fragile earthenware and distribute heat evenly.
2.

Product Features:
Leadfree clay that retains the moisture-hot food stays hot.
Can be used on the stovetop (electric w/diffuser).
Oven proof up to 450F., microwave safe.
Recipe pamphlet provided with each piece.
Great for one pot meals-you can reheat without losing the taste of the food.
Each piece has its own blemishes and character.
3.

Product Features:
Size: 10.25 inches across by 5 inches tall, holds 14 cups.
Premium Quality Terra Cotta Clay Pan.
Lead-free: safe for all cooking applications.
Perfect for BBQ, Oven, Stove-Top, Microwave, & Dishwasher.
4.

Product Features:
This pot is traditionally made of clay which can keep warm for a while after being taken off the fire, evenly distributes heat
Serving for 1 Person.
Dimension: 5-1/4 in Dia. x 4-1/2 in H. Material: Clay.
5.

Product Features:
1 Japanese Nabemono “hot pot”.
Made of earthenware.
Kyoto maple.
6.

Product Features:
Black 6 qt Stoneware Chinese Cooking Pot.
Oven, stove and microwave safe.
Versatile cooking environment – make stews, soups, casseroles.
Essential vitamins and nutrients are retained through the enclosed moist cooking environment.
Clay pots retain heat for an extended period of time.

Because of the heat lost to the evaporation of water, clay pot cooking requires lower temperature and longer cooking times than traditional roasting/cooking with dry heat. Clay pots may be cleaned by scrubbing them with salt; soaps or detergents should not be used, because the clay may absorb them.

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