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CLAYPOT An Introduction & Recipes

Clay pot cooking

Clay-pot Rice With Swamp Eel

Clay pot cooking is a technique of cooking food in an unglazed clay pot which has been soaked in water so as to release steam during the cooking process. This technique has a long history, stretching back at least to ancient Roman times, and is commonly used in several cuisines in Africa, Europe and Southeast and East Asia.

Cooking techniques
Typically, an unglazed clay pot is submerged for 15 to 30 minutes to absorb water before cooking, then filled with the food and placed into an oven. The walls of the pot help to diffuse the heat, and as the pot warms it releases the water as steam. 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 so 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 sauting or frying. Unlike boiling, nutrients are not leached out into the water. Because of the heat lost to the evaporation of water, clay pot cooking requires lower oven temperatures and longer cooking times than traditional roasting 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.

In African cuisines
Ethiopia

In ancient Ethiopia, all cooking was done with hand-made clay pots made for different types of food. Today in most rural areas and in some urban homes, cooking is done with traditional clay pots because of the high price of regular metal pots. Some urban homes however use traditional clay pots believing that the food tastes better if cooked with a clay pot than with a metal pot.

In Asian cuisines
Chinese

In Chinese, the pot used for such cooking is generally known as (pinyin: shguo) or (pinyin: bozai), a Cantonese word for little pot. Clay pot dishes are sometimes labeled as hot pot or hotpot dishes on the menus of Chinese restaurants in English-speaking areas of the world.[1], but they should not be confused with hot pot dishes that are served in a large metal bowl and cooked at the table. In Taiwan, the chicken dish sanbeiji is prepared in a clay pot.
Japan

In Japan, the clay pot used for cooking is called a donabe, although it is not submerged in water.
Vietnam

In Vietnam, the stew-like dish called kho is cooked in a clay pot. The pot is most often called ni t in Vietnamese, although, depending on its size and use, it may also be called ni kho c, ni kho tht, ni kho tiu, or ni kho t.
Philippines

In the Philippines, the traditional clay pot used for cooking is the palayok.
India

In the southern states of Tamilnadu and Kerala in India, the traditional clay pot used for cooking is called a chatti. This is usually used in the villages by the working classes, especially for cooking heavily spiced, hot fish curry. Interestingly, this word is also used in Punjab, in Northern India, where traditionally the black lentil (dal makhani) and mustard leaf (saag) are cooked on a slow fire for hours. There is another type of chatti, called a kal chatti, which means a pot made of stone. In this case, it is a kind of chalkstone where the pot is carved out compared to the clay pot where clay is molded and baked. Typically, a kal chatti is used for making South Indian dishes like vetta kozhambhu, kirai masayil, etc.
Sri Lanka

People in Sri Lanka use a clay pot to make a special food called pahi (little jackfruit) fish curry, called abul thiyal and some meat and specially rice and some chutney called accharu. Usually clay pots are used for making freshwater fish called Lula, Hunga, Magura and Kawaiya. For more than 2000 years, Sri Lankans used clay pots and now both urban and village people use the clay pot because they think the foods are tastier and healthier.

In European cuisines
Germany

A Rmertopf

In Germany, the clay roaster used to cook with is called a Rmertopf (literally Roman pot). Since its introduction in 1967, it has influenced cooking traditions in Germany and neighbouring European countries. The pot is mainly used to cook meat, like pork roast, chicken or stew, in an oven.
Spain

In Spanish cooking a ceramic roaster known as "olla de barro" is used.


HOW TO USE A CLAYPOT This quick how-to guide will explain how to use a clay pot to make an array of Thai, Chinese, and other Asian dishes, and even some American ones! Clay pot cooking is easy and fast, and also saves electricity. Another advantage of cooking with a clay pot is that it's pretty enough to take from stove to table - AND the food will bubble and stay hot while you're eating. And when you're done, the pot can go straight into the refrigerator until you're ready for leftovers (saves dish-washing). So why not impress your guests by cooking up a Thai curry (or other dish) in a clay pot? Includes links to clay pot recipes Difficulty: Easy Time Required: 10-15 minutes (for fish and vegetables) up to 1 hour (for meat dishes) Here's How: 1. If you don't already own a clay pot, it's easy enough to buy one. And if you go to the right place, they're also inexpensive. Look for a medium-sized clay pot (like the one shown in the picture) at Asian/Chinese stores or markets - they'll be much cheaper here than in specialty cooking stores. 2. If it's brand new, clean your clay pot thoroughly and dry it. 3. Fill the clay pot with your curry or other recipe ingredients. Leave some room at the top - 1 to 1/2 inch for the ingredients to bubble. 4. If this is the first you're using your clay pot: Start with minimum heat for 5 minutes, then gradually increase up to medium-low for at least 15 minutes. You can then turn the heat higher. If the pot has been used before, you can start at a medium-high temperature. 5. Now turn the heat to medium-high until your curry (or other recipe) begins to bubble. Then reduce heat to medium-low or low - just enough heat to keep the dish simmering nicely. Cover with the clay pot lid.

6. Remove lid after 15 to 30 minutes to give ingredients a stir, and also to see how much longer your dish will need to cook. Most meat dishes will take between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on meat type and thickness. Fish and vegetables will cook in a matter of 5-10 minutes once pot is bubbling. 7. When your curry (or other hot pot dish) is done, turn off the heat. Watch the temperature of the handles - depending on the type of clay pot you own, the handles may be quite hot and require the use of oven gloves. 8. Make sure lid is on securely. Carefully lift clay pot from stove and place directly on your table. You will need a potholder, or it will burn the wood/surface. Remove lid and voila - a perfect clay pot dish!! Tips: 1. The best dishes to make in a clay pot are those with a sauce, like curry, soup, hot pot, or other "runny" dishes. The "sauce" needs to be quite liquid, otherwise your dish may burn. 2. Leftovers can be refrigerated in the clay pot - just put the lid back on. 3. When heating up leftovers, gradually warm up the clay pot (if it's been in the refrigerator) in the same way you would for a new clay pot - very gradually, beginning with minimum heat. Otherwise the clay may crack. 4. Clay pots are dishwasher-safe, although I would never put mine in a microwave. 5. Note that clay pot cooking is done at lower temperatures than regular cooking - this is because the clay holds heat so well. A great way to save energy!

Cooking in Clay Pots


A clay cooker is a single pot or vessel that can serve as a vegetable steamer, stew pot, soup kettle, fish poacher, brick oven and roaster. Clay is a porous material which, when saturated with water and heated in the oven, provides slow evaporation of steam from the pores. This creates a moist enclosed environment that results in increased flavor, very tender meats and healthier foods. Clay pots require less fat, use less liquid, require little tending and can even brown meats. Before we get into the kind of clay pot cooking I plan to address, let me give you a little history about clay pots. Traditional clay cooking pots are used all over the world! Moroccans use the tagine with its conical lid; the Spanish a lidless cazuela; in Provence, the shallow open dish called a tian is also the dish cooked in it. Other vessels of earthenware or stoneware include chicken bricks, tandoor pots, potato or bean pots, garlic or onion takers, souffle' dishes, pie dishes, glazed ceramic casseroles and Chinese sand pots - all great ways to cook many kinds of food, but especially good for slow-cooked dishes. Follow the manufacturer's advice on the correct cooking method for each vessel, but a general guide is that unglazed earthenware, such as terracotta, should be soaked in cold water for about 10-20 minutes before use, and should never be washed in detergent or in a dishwasher, which will taint the clay. Chicken bricks and Romertopfs* are perhaps the best examples of such vessels. Don't use them for very highly flavored dishes, such as curries or fish dishes, in case they absorb the flavors and taint other dishes. Glazed earthenware such as the cazuela and the tagine should never be placed in or on the heat while empty, and all earthenware should be placed in a cold oven, then brought up to the correct heat gradually (in stages if it is a gas oven), 4

Some clay pots were traditionally used on top of the stove, but you should follow the manufacturer's instructions, and it would be wise to use a heat diffuser between the heat source and the pot. Moroccan tagines, however, can also be used on a barbecue, though the coals should be covered with sand. Stoneware is a stronger material, fired at 1264 degrees C, and usually glazed - much ceramic ovenware is of this kind and can be placed in a preheated oven without fear of damage, but always check the manufacturer's instructions. Never put a hot pot on a cold surface nor a cold unglazed pot in a preheated oven. An important point - all dishes containing liquid should be brought to the boil at a high heat first, then reduced to a simmer. The time it takes to reach that high heat will vary between ovens, so it is impossible to give precise times. Different Kinds of Pots 1. Spanish earthenware cazuela - probably made of terracotta. Looks like a round, flat bottomed casserole dish and is about 4 inches high. Unglazed earthenware terracotta chicken brick. Looks like a round jug laying on it's side. The lid is formed by cutting one third of the jug away. Moroccan terracotta tagine with terracotta barbecue base. The round base is where you would put your briquettes and sand. Then the flat, saucer shaped base sits on top of the base with about an inch space for air. Then a cone shaped lid sits on top of the flat base. Chinese sand pot, glazed inside with wire reinforcing. It is shaped like a ceramic skillet with a ceramic handle. The sides are 4 or 5 inches high and a lid sets recessed inside the pot. Terracotta tandoor pot, used in the same way as a chicken brick. It is bell shaped with the lid again cut about 1/4 of the way down. Unglazed terracotta Romertopfs, part of a huge range of earthenware cooking vessels. It looks like a large roaster pan. Glazed ovenproof ceramic casserole. This looks just like a regular white ovenproof casserole dish - round with an inset lid. Potato baker, stoneware, to be used with or without a lid. Again, a tan ceramic looking pot with a dome shaped inset lid. Terracotta garlic baker.

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10. Stoneware garlic baker. A dish shaped like a pie pan with a domed inset lid. 11. White ceramic ovenware, produced for many different purposes, such as pie dishes, gratin dishes, souffl dishes or tians. The examples look like a tart pan and a boat-shaped gratin dish. 12. Terracotta onion baker, used with or without a lid. A larger version of the garlic baker. 5

13. The earthenware bean pot, which can also be used as a potato pot resembles a large teapot with a handle, & a flat inset lid. Advantages of Using Clay Cookers

Food cooks with a minimum of liquid and no additional fat. Food browns in clay, even with the lid on. More of the essential nutrients and vitamins are retained in foods cooked in clay pots because food cooks in a closed environment with limited liquids. The ridges on the bottom of clay cookers elevate the contents to help the steam encircle the food and assist in totally browning the meat. As long as you dont overfill the cooker, your oven will remain clean. Clay cookers may be used in the microwave very successfully. It is best to use lower power settings. Food can be kept warm by leaving the lid on the cooker after removing it from the oven without overcooking. Meats cook especially well in clay cookers because they have a tendency to stay moist and juicy. You only use one pot for the whole meal. Unglazed clay cookers can soak up a considerable amount of water. This is best for tenderizing meats because of the super steaming quality. Use this type of pot for tougher cuts of meat, stews roasts, poultry, poaching, steaming and microwaving. Glazed clay cookers have a glaze which usually only covers the bottom cooker for easier cleaning. There are oval and rectangular bakers, pie plates and casseroles and these are useful for recipes that do not benefit from the super steaming quality. Try cooking dishes like lasagna and other pastas, casseroles and baked goods. These are lovely for use as serving pieces and may come in colors.

I have several clay pots. I prefer the unglazed clay cookers and use mine often for the above reasons. I will primarily concentrate my instructions, hints and tips to unglazed cookers. Those I use most often are:

The garlic roaster. There is nothing better than roasted garlic to enhance garlic butter for bread, salad dressings, side dishes and almost anywhere you would use garlic, but with a more subtle flavor. My Romertopfs roasters are in two sizes. The small one is wonderful for just the two of us for any number of dishes. However, the large one I use for when I entertain or when we make corned beef. You will never boil corned beef in a traditional pot again after tasting it cooked in a clay pot. The meat isnt stringy, but dense and easy to cut with little shrinkage. A bread baker. Try using one of these to make bread and you will be amazed at the wonderful crisp crust and tender bread.

Other types of clay containers include a small cooker like mine which holds 2 to 5 pounds, and a medium cooker which will hold 4 to 6 pounds. Large cookers hold up to 14 pounds and the very large will hold a 17-pound turkey. There are covered casseroles, garlic roasters, vegetable roasters, oval bakers, rectangular bakers, rectangular bakers with handles and hot pots. All of these can be used to serve the food after cooking. In addition, there are storage containers. These might include canisters, garlic cellars, mushroom cellars, bread crocks, utensil jars, spice jars, herb jars, wine coolers, onion keepers, cutlery drainers, honey jars, vegetable crocks, celery jars and preserves jars. Serving pieces are also available such as teapots, tea mugs, assorted pitchers, coffee mugs, assorted bowls, butter coolers and tankards. All of these items are available at your local kitchen store, department store, gift or specialty shop. I believe I obtained some of mine from a local Kitchen Kaboodle. My large one was a gift. 6

How to Use a Clay Cooker There a certain rules you must adhere to if using the unglazed clay cookers. Otherwise they can break or taste of soap. These rules are as follows:

The clay pot and lid must be soaked in water for at least 15 minutes before using. If part of the clay pot is completely glazed, do not presoak that part before using. The clay cooker is always placed in a cold oven, and then the temperature is set. If using a lot of water, allow time for the water to heat before setting the timer for the cooking time. Never use a clay cooker over a burner or heating element. For instance, if you wish to make gravy from the pot juices, pour liquid to a saucepan, add a thickening agent such as cornstarch or flour until thickened to the desired consistency. Avoid using a clay cooker under a broiler. If you desire browner meat or crisper food, it is best to remove the cover for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cooker from the oven. Do not allow the cooker to touch the sides of the oven. Always set the hot clay cooker on a cloth pad or trivet (not metal) rather than a cold surface when it first comes out of the oven. The sudden change in temperature may break the cooker. Line the cooker with parchment paper when cooking fish or to keep food from sticking. This makes it easier to clean up the pan. Do not line the lid because you want the maximum steaming effect. To convert a standard recipe to clay pot cooking, it is recommended that the temperature be increased about 50 degrees and cooking time be increased slightly by 10 to 20 minutes. The increased time allows the oven to come up to temperature because you are not preheating first. To microwave in clay just soak the cooker in the usual manner and follow the standard microwave timing. A general rule for meats is 5 minutes on HIGH and 15 minutes on LOW for each pound of meat used. Increase cooking time if many vegetables are added. NOTE: Ive not used mine in the microwave as I find it doesnt take that long in the oven. The bigger the meat and the more vegetables you use, the longer it takes so sometimes it makes more sense to use the standard oven. Im not a proponent of cooking meat in the microwave anyway. However, fish would be just fine.

Clay Cookware Care and Cleaning Caring for your clay cooker has a few rules too, but remember that you usually only use one pot so an extra rule or two shouldnt be a problem. It just takes some getting used to and after half a dozen uses, you will just take it all in stride.

The first time you use your clay cooker, soak the top and bottom in water for 30 minutes and then scrub with a brush or nonmetallic scrubbing pad to remove any clay dust residue. Never use scouring powders because they will clog the pores and make the pot useless. Salt can be used as an abrasive cleanser. For general washing, wait until the cooker cools, wash it in warm water with a very small amount of dishwashing liquid and rinse thoroughly. DO NOT put the clay cooker in your dishwasher. Sudden temperature changes may crack the pot and excessive soap will clog the pores. For a thorough cleaning, allow the clay cooker to soak overnight in the sink with water that has about cup baking soda added to it. Then wash, using a brush or nonmetallic scrubbing pad. Follow this treatment after cooking fish or foods with strong seasoning. After washing, dry thoroughly and store with the lid inverted upside down in the bottom, ideally with a towel between the layers. Avoid storing the cooker with the lid sealed because it may become moldy if not carefully dried. If the cooker should become moldy, make a paste with baking soda and water, cover the cooker with the paste and allow it to dry. When the paste is dry, rinse with water and dry well. 7

If clay pores become clogged, boil the clay cooker to remove debris. Use a roaster with a rack and add tepid water. Place clay cooker bottom (first) in pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes to remove the debris. Repeat doing the top if necessary.

Clay Pot Cooking - An Old Cooking Technique That Works for the New Age
Cooking in clay is one of the oldest techniques for baking home meals. The process dates back, at least, to early Roman days. Likely the process was a modification of the clay cast method where meats or potatoes were lathered with mud and baked directly in the fire. Many campers today still enjoy this ancient and somewhat barbaric method of cooking foods in clay-based, mud packs. Modern indoor cooks, on the other hand, are rediscovering the beauty of cooking in clay pots. Given the current concern with health, clay pot cooking makes sense. Foods cooked in clay pots steam in natural juices. No oil is required for cooking, so most dishes are healthier when cooked in clay versus deep or oven-fried. In fact, adding oil to clay dishes tends to overpower the natural flavors and also complicates clean up afterwards. When compared to boiling, clay pots hold the nutrients which are often leached out and lost in the air with an open method of cooking. While some cooking processes intended to lighten up modern day dishes tend to produce bland results, clay pot cooking ranks with outdoor, smoked dishes. Youre getting a taste that is impossible to duplicate with other methods of cooking. If you enjoy rotisserie chicken, then clay pots turn out perfect birds with crispy skins and moist meat. While some healthy methods do not brown meats, clay pots do both brown and crisp. This means that chicken is a favorite in the clay pot. To bake chicken, simply rub seasonings on the chicken. Lemon pepper is a good, all-purpose rub. Place the seasoned chicken in the clay pot and cook for two hours at 400 degrees. Your chicken will look like a magazine photo and will taste like you spent big bucks at a specialty shop. How Clay Pots Work Clay pots are soaked in water before adding food and cooking. The large clay pores absorb water which is then released during cooking. Foods stay moist and natural juices are produced. These juices increase the steam inside the clay pot and provide a moist cooking environment. Its almost impossible to overcook or dry out food when cooking in clay. You really have to work at it to ruin a dinner. How to Use a Clay Pot As mentioned, clay must be soaked in water prior to cooking. Before loading the pot with food, place the cooker in the sink in room temperature water for fifteen to thirty minutes. The top can be placed spoon fashion inside the base to cut down on the height. Be sure the two pieces do not form a vacuum preventing water from getting between the two pieces. Sudden temperature changes expand or tighten pores in clay, so its important to moderate exposure to both hot and cold extremes. Do not preheat the oven. Put the clay pot in a cold oven and then turn on the heat. When taking the dish out, do not place on a cold counter. A trivet (not metal), pot holder, or dish cloth will cushion and protect the pot. Any dish typically baked in the oven can be prepared in the clay pot. Simply add fifty to one-hundred degrees to the cooking temperature and about thirty minutes to the cooking time. For example, if you bake pork chops at 350 degrees F for an hour, then go 400 to 450 degrees for an hour and a half using the clay pot.

Clay pots can also be used in the microwave, although the standard oven size is often too large to fit in the home microwave. Avoid the highest heat settings. Medium heat and standard heating times tend to work for microwaving Clean Up One of the distinct advantages of cooking in clay is that clean up is so simple. After cooking, simply soak the dish in water for about five minutes. Pour the water off. Wipe out the pot and rinse. If any food particles are stubbornly stuck to the clay pot, then soak a bit longer, sprinkle with salt and use a scrub brush or scratch pad. Do not use soaps on the clay pot. The pores can absorb the soaps. This clogs up the pores and also impacts on the flavors. Clay pots are not compatible with dish washers. Both the soaps and the high heat are bad for the cooking vessel. Storage When you first begin to use a new clay pot, youll notice that the terracotta color becomes mottled. In fact, it appears that some portions of the pot are dirty. This phase passes quickly with use. Just as cast iron takes on more color and character over time, clay becomes darker and more attractive with long term use. If youre not sure whether your new clay pot is dirty or just naturally coloring, run your finger over the areas in question. A clean pot will feel smooth to the touch. Food particles can be felt. Continue to rub if you feel any texturized places. Let the clay pot air dry before putting away. Moist spots can mold under the right conditions. If you have room in the cabinet, place the top and bottom separately for storage. If space is a concern, then spoon the top inside the bottom or place the top on but use a rolled up paper towel to prop the top slightly to allow for air circulation. Where to Buy Clay Pots Its becoming easier to find clay pot cookers. Most specialty cooking stores now carry clay pots, and a number of vendors offer pots online What to Look for When Purchasing a Clay Pot Both glazed and unglazed models are available, but unglazed is the way to go. When the clay is glazed, the pores are blocked. This defeats the whole idea of cooking in clay. Some models have a glazing only on the bottom. This prevents sticking and makes clean up easier. Glazing on the bottom only is a plus. The top should be domed. Clay cooking involves steaming, and the vessel needs space for the steam to circulate. Expect the top to be close to double the height of the bottom. This makes it difficult to eyeball and determine the size needed. Be sure to look closely at the bottom portion to get a feel for the amount of food cooked for each size. Sizes vary from small garlic roasters up to models which will hold a Thanksgiving turkey. Unless you actually plan to cook a turkey or have a really big family, you probably do not need the largest size. Buy a Clay Pot and Enjoy Healthy Home Cooked Meals Remember that most of your family favorites can be modified and cooked in a clay pot. Try your baked apples, rice dishes and casseroles in clay. Eliminate the oil, increase the temperature, and bake slightly longer than when using conventional

baking dishes. In no time at all, youll be a clay pot expert and will be trying all the gourmet and bread recipes floating around.

Chinese Clay Pot Cooking Is Magic


Clay Pot is an old but classic Chinese cookware that has passed down through generations. The material and technology has improved slightly and the basic cookware techniques havent changed and the charm of this clay pot stays the same. If you want to taste and even make some of the authentic Chinese cuisine, clay pot is an necessary kitchen tools you must bring home. In clay pot cooking, poultry or meat is combined with a little liquid, vegetables, and seasonings to produce the tenderness of a braise with the finish of roasting. Most of the cooking is done with the cover in place, but when the food is nearly finished, the cover can come off to get a golden brown finish. Bread baked in a clay pot produces a crispy crust with a tender, moist interior. Some clay bread bakers are similar to metal or glass loaf pans but others come with a cover. Clay pots are incredible for slow-cooked meals. Because wet clay doesnt get as hot as metal, the pot helps you keep your braise down at a low simmer, which makes the texture of the food more luscious in the end. On the other hand, the heavy clay holds heat very well, and you may find yourself turning the heat down in order to keep the contents cooking as slowly as you like. Because clay is porous, you should avoid using soap when cleaning your clay pots. This also allows them to become seasoned through repeated use, and some people claim that food cooked in an older, well-seasoned clay pot tastes noticably better than food cooked in a newer vessel. None of my clay pots are really old enough for me to test this proposition yet, but Ill be sure to give you an update in a few years. What to Cook in Clay Pots Because food is cooked at high temperatures and with steam, some types of dishes are particularly well suited to clay pot cooking. Vegetable ragouts and ratatouille Baked potatoes Whole chickens, Cornish hens, and ducks, along with vegetables Meatloaf Baked ziti or lasagna Stews and casseroles Baked cheese, such as feta, with olives and fresh oregano Bread puddings Fruit cobblers Whole grain breads

Pot luck
November 2, 2004
Pag e To ols

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Baked maple and pecan pudding.

What's old is new again as this primitive form of cooking finds favour in the most modern of kitchens. By Clare Kermond. It could be the fondue set of the new millennium, that quirky cooking gadget everyone has to have, the perfect talking point for any dinner party. Like fondue, claypot cooking was big in the '70s. And now it's back. Browse through the shelves of most cookware shops and it seems every country's claypot is different. There are kooky-looking African tagines with a high, pointy top like a wizard's hat, dumpy Chinese pots wrapped with wire, and big, glazed stoneware dishes from Spain and France. One cooking writer confesses to owning more than 100 claypots in all shapes and sizes. Writing in American magazine Food & Wine, Paula Wolfert says she keeps most of the pots on display in her kitchen. And each has its own story - the out-of-the-way spot it came from, the recipe she was given with it. She just can't resist them. While it was a hit in the '70s, and is enjoying a resurgence, cooking in clay is far from new. Meat has been cooked in clay or earth for thousands of years and in many cultures. US writer Irena Chalmers even suggests the idea may have come from eating pork from a pig that had rolled in mud. The mud-caked meat would have made a more tender meal than the cleaner pigs. For a cooking style to last through the centuries, there must be something in it. Melbourne cooking instructor Tony Tan says the Chinese have been using claypots for hundreds of thousands of years. The success of claypots, he says, comes from their ability to retain heat so well, allowing slow, gentle cooking. "Because clay is such a fabulous medium, it absorbs flavours and reproduces flavours in the nicest possible way. "It's one of those primitive tools - primitive in the sense that it has been around for thousands of years." With its unhurried style and simple presentation, claypot cooking is a counterbalance to the pressure for restaurant-quality dinner parties featuring the latest food fashions. "I tend to think it's more organic," Tan says. "I also think that sometimes we're in a mad rush to modernise and reinvent everything under the sun. There are certain things that have been nurtured through the ages, through generation after generation." Another attraction of the claypot, he says, is the sociable aspect, with the aroma of the food permeating the house and guests dishing out from one big pot. Tan, who recently included a claypot dish in his Chinese cooking courses, says people don't need to do a course

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to start cooking with claypots. "It's one of the easiest things to do. ''The Chinese do wonderful stews with beef or pork; the French, especially during the colder months, come up with lovely, slow-cooked dishes; and the Spanish have these wonderful, earthen brown pots and they cook lots of beans and meat." In Melbourne, several restaurants have made claypot cooking a feature of their menu, including the Bedouin Kitchen and the Claypot Seafood Bar, both in St Kilda. Co-owner of the Bedouin Kitchen, Genine Carter, says claypots suit Egyptian-style food and are perfect for sharing. Popular claypot dishes include molokhia duck, using an Egyptian weed that she describes as similar to rocket, and ful medames, with Egyptian fava beans, coriander, garlic and zaatar. Carter says: "Our claypots serve about four people. They keep all the flavours together and the food stays warm at the table." At the Claypot Seafood Bar, dishes include a vegetarian cous cous, Moroccan fish with chickpeas and curry laksa with fish, rice and bok choy. In the city, at the Mask of China, claypot dishes such as fish blubber with shredded port and Chinese mushrooms are a staple of the menu. The Mask's Yvonne Chan says the restaurant buys its claypots from nearby Chinese grocers and if you use them properly, they will last a long time. "It's a very delicate piece of equipment. We put it on top of the stove like a wok, but you can't turn it up too high or it can crack," she says. A word of caution to the novice: chefs and cooking writers use the term claypot to describe dozens of different vessels. In her book Clay-pot Cooking, Jennie Shapter describes 10 main types of claypot: cazuelas, glazed earthenware bakeware, tagines, Chinese sand pots, chicken bricks, onion bakers, garlic bakers, bean pots, Romertopfs and tians. Each type of pot requires different preparation and each is best used for particular dishes. The Le Creuset-style casserole dishes also can be used for some claypot recipes. Most unglazed dishes, such as Romertopfs, should be put in a cold oven, which is then heated gradually, and they should be soaked in water before use. Some pots, such as tagines with cast-iron bases, can be put directly on to the flame, while most others are suitable for use in the oven or under the grill. If that sounds complicated, it's not. Most pots come with simple instructions. The first step for the claypot beginner is to find your claypot, and that's not hard. Casa Iberica, the long-lived Spanish delicatessen in Johnston Street, Fitzroy, has a good selection of cazuelas and caserolas imported from Spain. Owner Alice De Sousa says she has sold the sturdy dishes to many of the nearby Spanish bars and restaurants for years. And she says more and more home cooks are buying them for their own use. Chinese sand pots can be found in many Asian groceries and are usually inexpensive. If it's a tagine you're after, Zelij Moroccan Interiors in Bridge Road, Richmond, sells five styles, all imported from Morocco. Owner Driss Regague says the two most popular are the traditional unglazed tagine and a newer style that is glazed on the inside. There is also a barbecue-style tagine, with a pot under the cooking dish that can be filled with coals. Regague says the tagines have been growing in popularity for some time. His shop sells more than 30 tagines a week. "The reason the food tastes better is because the tagine is made of natural clay, and because the top is not open,

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the aroma stays inside." Casa Moderna, in Fairfield, keeps a stock of different-sized Romertopfs. Staff say the Dutch cooking pots with their decorative, domed lids are especially popular with Europeans and that many customers return to buy them in different sizes. Finding locally made claypots is less straightforward. Chayle Timbs, of Northcote Pottery, says Australian terracotta has different properties from the European variety and does not respond as well to heat, especially direct heat. "It tends to want to explode." Timbs says they have experimented with terracotta pots and often get inquiries from customers, but so far they have not made a truly suitable pot. "We have the technology to make the shapes, but it's very difficult to develop a terracotta that will be suitable for cooking, especially for flame cooking." However, some of the terracotta dishes made for the garden at Northcote Pottery are bought by adventurous home cooks who use them for baking breads and frittatas. Breadmaker Gael Stach, of Make'n'Bake bakery and breadmaking classes, says terracotta pots can be a good alternative to baking bread in tin. Bread baked in terracotta rises well and gets a nice crust. "With tin, you may need to cook it longer, and the longer it cooks the more it dries out. With terracotta, the cooking is minimal and it comes out nice and fresh," Stach says. But the last word on tagines should go to Driss Regague, who has fond memories of the big tagines sitting outside cafes in the streets of Morocco. Asked why they are still so popular, he doesn't need to think for long: "It's very simple. Once you try fish in the tagine, you will never eat it a different way."

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RECIPES
Easy Clay Pot Recipes Clay Roasted Potatoes 1. 2. 4-6 firm baking potatoes 1 onion 3. 4. 5. cup Parmesan cheese 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. pepper

Remember to soak the clay pot in water. Cut potatoes in chunks. Leave the skins on if they are fairly thin and soft. Otherwise, peel the potatoes. Slice onion over potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cheese. Put in cold oven. Turn heat to 450 degrees F and cook for an hour and a half. Clay Pot Meat Loaf 1. 2. 2 lbs. lean ground beef 2 eggs 3. 4. 5. 6. 1 slice bread (torn in small pieces) 1 onion (diced) 1 cup tomato sauce 2 T. brown sugar

Combine the meat, eggs, bread, and onion. Shape in loaf. Place in wet clay pot. Mix tomato sauce and brown sugar. Pour over meat loaf. Bake for an hour and half in 400 degree oven.

Baked maple and pecan croissant pudding


From Jennie Shapter's Clay-pot Cooking (published by Southwater) INGREDIENTS 75g or 1/2 cup sultanas 45ml brandy 4 large croissants 50g butter 40g pecan nuts 3 eggs, lightly beaten 300ml milk 150ml cream 120ml maple syrup 25g demerara sugar maple syrup and pouring cream, to serve METHOD Place the sultanas and brandy in a small pan and heat gently until warm. Leave to stand for 1 hour. Soak a small claypot in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain, leave for 2-3 minutes and lightly grease the base and sides. Cut the croissants into thick slices, then spread with butter on one side.

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Arrange the croissant slices, butter-side uppermost and slightly overlapping, in the soaked claypot. Sprinkle the brandy-soaked sultanas and the roughly chopped pecans over the croissant slices. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and milk together, then gradually beat in the cream and maple syrup. Pour the egg custard through a sieve, over the croissants, fruit and nuts in the dish. Leave the uncooked pudding to stand for 30 minutes so that some of the egg custard is absorbed by the croissants. Sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the top, then cover the dish and place in an unheated oven. Set the oven to 180C and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for about 20 minutes or until the custard is set and the top is golden. Leave the pudding to cool for about 15 minutes before serving warm with extra maple syrup and a little pouring cream. Serves: 4

Steaming claypot noodle soup


Posted on December 13, 2007 by niceties

I wrote about claypots in general when I first purchased my Tanyu claypot. At that time I dreamed of enjoying sukiyaki or nabe from it, and couldnt think beyond cooking claypot chicken rice (which has made an appearance in many of my bento!).

However, my favourite use of the claypot these days is an adaptation of sukiyaki/nabe/steamboat. As you can see in the photo, there are some of the same ingredients: sukiyaki-cut beef (easily purchased in supermarkets), enoki mushrooms, green veg (iceberg lettuce here), an egg cracked into the clear soup base (chicken+daikon broth). Hidden underneath are also pre-cooked slices of lotus root, and on other occasions I might have tofu cubes as well. The noodles here are wholewheat spaghetti, but theres a huge range of wheat and non-wheat noodles that one can use to vary the flavour and texture. As with certain styles of sukiyaki, the paper-thin beef slices have been gently-fried with a bit of oil in the dry claypot first. In this case finely-sliced leeks have been added. Once its cooked, then add in the soup and other ingredients. Unlike sukiyaki/nabe/steamboat where the cooking is done at the table, my claypot noodles are cooked on the stovetop and then served directly in the same claypot. When the lid is opened, the steam hits your face and the soup is still bubbling. This is literally coming face-to-face with the heat conduction of a claypot (the camera lens kept fogging over as I was trying to take this photo)! If I dont get to the egg fast enough, it gets cooked solid and the soup stays hot till the very last mouthful. Its really comforting to sit down to this meal after a long day, more so when the weather is cool.
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The effect of the steaming noodle soup is heightened because Im eating directly from this singleserving-sized claypot, rather than having a large common claypot that everyone round the table takes a bit out of. This is the pleasure of , individual hotpot ^_^. Its such an easy dish to prepare, especially if you always have soup stock on hand. Although I have tried making Japanese dashi a few times, the daily presence of clear broth in my home is the legacy of a Cantonese grandmother. The electric crockpot in my home is a well-used piece of equipment, which ensures we have slow-cooked broth from chicken bones (and occasionally pork), either fresh or from the freezer, on the dinner table every single day without fail, and often at lunch as well. This dish is flexible enough to accommodate food intolerance sufferers, and definitely doesnt need any sauces to enhance the natural tastes of the soup and ingredients. Salt is the only seasoning used here and yet the soup always tastes so sweet. Im certain soup noodles at home have never tasted this good before and I can only conclude it must be using the claypot

Im going to give you a few recipes that give you an idea of how to use your clay cooker and eventually adapt your own recipes or even some of those from the Cooking With Shirley e-cookbooks. Clay Pot Beef Stew Serving Size: 4 1 1 1 2 2 1 2 1 1 pounds beef stew meat cup all-purpose flour teaspoon salt teaspoon ground black pepper tablespoon butter or margarine tablespoon vegetable oil large carrots -- peeled and sliced large russet potatoes -- peeled and cubed medium onion -- chopped can beef broth cup dry red wine cloves garlic -- minced whole bay leaf teaspoon dried thyme tablespoon cornstarch -- mixed with 1/4 cup cold water salt and pepper -- to taste

1. Soak top and bottom of a medium clay cooker in water for 15 minutes. Cut stew meat into 1-inch cubes and dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter or margarine in a skillet and quickly brown meat on all sides. Place meat in clay cooker. Add carrots, onion, potatoes, beef broth, wine, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper; stir gently. Cover and place in a cold oven, set temperature to 450 degrees and cook for 1 hours or until meat is very tender. 2. Remove from oven. If you desire a thicker sauce, pour liquid into a saucepan, mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and add to sauce, stirring over medium heat until thickened. Pour mixture over meat and vegetables and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings.

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NOTES : Sometimes meat tends to absorb much of the liquid, so if you desire a saucier stew, simply add some more broth or a can of stewed tomatoes or even water to the saucepan before thickening with the cornstarch mixture. You may need more cornstarch.

Sausage Soup with Legumes Serving Size: 4 1 3 1 3 2 2 1 1 cups dried lentils -- of choice or mixed cups beef stock large onion -- chopped cloves garlic -- minced large carrots -- diced stalks celery -- diced tablespoon light soy sauce pound turkey kielbasa -- cut into bite-sized pieces tablespoon red wine vinegar salt and pepper -- to taste

1. Soak top and bottom of a medium clay cooker in water for at least 15 minutes. Combine lentils, beef stock, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, soy sauce in clay cooker. Cover and place in a cold oven. Set temperature to 375 degrees and cook for 2 hours or until lentils are soft. 2. Cut kielbasa into bite-sized pieces and add to cooker with vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Tuna Steak in a Clay Pot Serving Size: 4 4 2 3 1 1 4 tablespoons olive oil whole onions -- sliced large garlic cloves -- crushed can cannellini beans large tuna steak tablespoons basil, fresh -- sliced sea salt to taste freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat half the oil in a pan, add the sliced onions and cook gently until softened and translucent. Add the garlic, stir well and cook for about one minute or until golden. Add the beans, stir well, add salt and pepper to taste and heat until sizzling. 2. Placed half the beans in a lidded glazed clay pot, place the tuna on top, then spoon in the remaining bean mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining oil, cover with a lid and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily. 3. Remove the fish and bone and skin if necessary. Chunk and put back into the pot. Divide between 4 heated bowls and sprinkle with sprigs of basil. Serve with crusty bread and Italian red wine. NOTES : You can make a salad version of this dish by using canned tuna Albacore chunks, white beans, sliced green onions and fresh basil. Serve atop mixed greens. 17

Roasted Garlic Serving Size: 6 2 2 whole garlic bulbs -- (not cloves) tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper -- to taste teaspoon dried basil

1. Soak top and bottom of garlic roaster in water for at least 15 minutes. Remove some of the outer papery covering (but not all) from garlic bulbs. Cut about 1/2-inch off top of whole bulbs so garlic is exposed and can be extracted easily. Pour 1 tablespoon oil over each bulb. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with dried basil or other herb of choice. 2. Set bulbs cut side up in garlic cooker, cover and place in a cold oven. Set temperature to 350 degrees and bake for at least 1 hour or until garlic is easily squeezed out of cloves. NOTES: If a richer looking, browner bulb is desired, remove the lid at the end of the cooking time and brush more oil on the bulb and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Chicken and Rice Serving Size: 6 1 2 2 2 2 cup white rice -- uncooked cups chicken broth tablespoons butter or margarine cups diced celery tablespoons diced green bell pepper 1/2 pound mushrooms -- quartered 1 pound boneless chicken -- breast, poached 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 can chicken and rice soup 1/3 cup cashews -- chopped 1. Soak top and bottom of a medium clay cooker in water for at least 15 minutes. 2. In a saucepan, cook rice in chicken broth until tender (about 15 minutes). 3. In a skillet, melt butter and saute celery, green pepper and mushrooms until slightly browned. 4. Cut chicken breast into bite-sized cubes and poach in a small amount of water, covered for about 3 to 4 minutes. 5. Combine chicken, cooked rice, vegetables and soups. Spoon mixture into cooker, cover and place in a cold oven. Set temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cashews on top of casserole and bake for an additional 15 minutes without lid so nuts roast. NOTE: Serve with a fruit salad and vegetable. Spicy Corned Beef in a Clay Pot Serving Size: 6 3 1 1 pounds corned beef brisket -- or silversides whole orange -- sliced with peel cup chopped celery 18

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large onion -- chopped cloves garlic -- minced teaspoon dill seed whole cloves whole bay leaves teaspoon dried rosemary 1 stick cinnamon water to cover corned beef 1. Soak top and bottom of a medium clay cooker in water for at least 15 minutes. Place all ingredients in cooker. Cover and place in a cold oven and set temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 2 hours. 2. Serve hot or chilled and sliced thin. As an accompaniment mix horseradish cream with sour cream to taste. NOTE: As an accompaniment to the corned beef, 45 minutes before it is done, add baby carrots, chunked red potatoes (peeled) and boiling onions, peeled. Cabbage quarters are also good. Or make a cole slaw of the raw cabbage and serve the entire meal with dark rye bread and butter. Yum. Clay Pot Apple Crisp Serving Size: 6 4 2 cups Granny Smith apples -- sliced tablespoons lemon juice 1/3 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup brown sugar -- packed 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon teaspoon ground nutmeg cup cold butter 1 cup rolled oats whipped cream or ice cream 1. Soak top and bottom of a small clay cooker in water for at least 15 minutes. Mix sliced apples with lemon juice and place in bottom of clay cooker. 2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter together until crumbly, using a pastry blender or your hands. Stir in oats and sprinkle mixture over apples. 3. Set cover on cooker and place in a cold oven. Set temperature to 450 degrees and bake for 40 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 5 to 8 minutes or until top is crisp. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Chicken Clay Pot Recipes


So, maybe you've been cooking in your clay pot for a few weeks, and are ready to prepare a main course. There are lots to choose from, but you may want to start with a dish that you're sure you know everyone will like-chicken! Chicken is fairly easy to prepare and can be cooked in a variety of ways, from spicy to sweet and sour, to slow baked with side dishes. So, whether you're making dinner for the family or are thinking of having guests over, are some chicken dishes that you'll enjoy preparingand eating-in your clay cooker.

Main Dishes Curry Clay Pot Chicken

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Clay Pot Roasted Chicken Asian Clay Pot Chicken

Curry Clay Pot Chicken Ingredients 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon white pepper 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger 1 tablespoon cornstarch 6 small new red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 medium onion, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons curry powder 1 medium tomato, cut into 1/2-inch wedges 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 1 green onion, with top, cut into 1-inch pieces Directions Place a 2-quart clay pot or heavy casserole with a cover in the oven to heat. Trim the fat from the chicken and cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. In a bowl, combine the salt, pepper, ginger, and cornstarch. Toss the chicken with the cornstarch mixture and set aside. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the potatoes and carrot, cover, and cook two minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat a nonstick skillet or wok over high heat until hot. Add the vegetable oil and the chicken; stir and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, onion, curry powder, and tomato and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the potatoes, carrot, soy sauce, and sugar and continue to stir until well mixed. Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to the preheated clay pot. Cover the clay pot and return to the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot. To hold the finished dish, turn the oven off and keep warm until ready to serve. Stir in the green onion just before serving.

Clay Pot Roasted Chicken

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4-5 lb (2-2.5 kg) roasting chicken, cut up 3/4 cup red wine 1.75 cups chicken broth 6 small red potatoes, chopped 3 large carrots, chopped 1/4 lb (125 gm) mushrooms, chopped 2 large garlic cloves, minced 1 green pepper (capsicum), chopped 1 tsp tarragon 1 tsp rosemary salt and pepper 1 tbsp cold water 1 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour) Directions Remove skin from chicken pieces. Place all ingredients, except water and cornstarch, in the clay pot and place in the oven. Turn oven on to 480F (250C) and bake for 60 minutes. Gently remove lid from clay pot. Using a turkey baster, remove liquid from the pot into a saucepan. Continue cooking chicken, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Make gravy by combining cold water and cornstarch. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Add water/cornstarch mixture; stirring occasionally until gravy thickens. Remove chicken from oven, serve chicken and vegetables with gravy. Keep the pot covered with towels while eating.

Asian Clay Pot Chicken Ingredients 500g chicken pieces preferably no bone. Remove skin. 2 onions, chopped roughly 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped 2 sprigs fresh thyme 8 baby squash 2 heads broccoli 6 baby carrots freshly ground pepper Directions In a large clay pot, no oil is necessary, so slowly sweat your chopped onions. When onion is par-cooked, add garlic and chicken pieces. No liquid is necessary, but if you wish a little water may be added here.

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Add sprigs of thyme and pepper. Place lid on pot, and leave to cook slowly for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Ten minutes before serving, add remaining vegetables - whole - and allow to cook until tender. You will find you have a lovely, natural sauce in the pot to serve with this meal. Keep in mind that if you make enough of each chicken dish, you can do some creative things with the leftovers. For instance, if you prepare roasted chicken one night, making pita sandwiches for lunch or dinner the next day is a good way to add a little variation to your chicken dish. You can also make a stew or rice topping using the curry chicken recipe by cutting the chicken pieces smaller the next day and adding more soy sauce and/or vegetable broth.

Clay Pot Cooking for the Holidays


With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, everyone is actively searching for new recipe ideas that guests and family will love-along with dishes that won't take forever to make, and that are easy to do, whether you have a lot of help in the kitchen this holiday season or not. And, if your cooking for a large group of people, you'll definitely want to make sure that you have enough food for everyone to come back for seconds. Here are some clay pot recipes that will feed even your unexpected guests, and will leave everyone giving compliments to the chef! For starters, you may want to give your children a small dish to make that will compliment an entree, such as gravy for the turkey and mashed potatoes, or a whipped topping to go with dessert. Here are some easy smaller recipes that children (especially adolescents and preteens) can make themselves, along with a few side dishes your kids may want to try their hand at making.

Baked Ziti with Turkey Meatballs Ingredients 1 pound ground turkey 1 clove garlic, minced 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs 1/2 cup finely diced onion 3 tablespoons chopped, toasted pine nuts 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 (16 ounce) package ziti pasta 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded 1 cup grated Romano cheese 6 cups tomato sauce

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1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese Directions In a bowl, stir together turkey, garlic, bread crumbs, onion, pine nuts, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Form into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Cook half of meatballs, shaking skillet, until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer meatballs to paper towels to drain. Brown remaining meatballs in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same manner. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Oil a 3 to 4 quart gratin dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook until just al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. In a small bowl, toss together mozzarella and Romano cheese. Spoon about 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce and half the meatballs into prepared dish, and spoon half the pasta on top. Spread half remaining sauce and half cheese mixture over pasta. Top with remaining meatballs, and drop dollops of ricotta over meatballs. Spread remaining pasta over ricotta, and top with remaining sauce and cheese mixture. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Stew Ingredients 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided 1 cup water 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed 4 carrots, sliced 1 large green bell pepper, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 onion, chopped 2 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped 2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules 1 sugar pumpkin Directions Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Place beef in the saucepan and cook until evenly brown. Mix in the water, potatoes, carrots, green bell pepper, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer approximately 2 hours. Dissolve the bouillon into the beef mixture. Stir in the tomatoes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Cut top off the pumpkin and remove seeds and pulp. Place the pumpkin in a heavy baking pan. Fill the pumpkin with the beef mixture.

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Brush outside of the pumpkin with remaining oil. Bake in the preheated oven 2 hours, or until tender. Serve the stew from the pumpkin, scraping out some of the pumpkin meat with each serving. You can prepare this dish in the pumpkin shell and place it in the clay pot while cooking to stabilize the pumpkin and keep the contents of the dish evenly flavored, or you can make the stew in your clay pot, using both the meat and shell from the pumpkin to add just the right amount of sweet or spicy flavor.

Jazzy Green Bean Casserole Ingredients 2 (14.5 ounce) cans green beans, drained 1 (15.25 ounce) can white corn, drained 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup 1/4 cup dried onion flakes 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese salt to taste ground black pepper to taste garlic powder to taste 1 (6 ounce) can French-fried onions Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large bowl combine green beans, corn, mushroom soup, onion flakes, cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Transfer to a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle fried onions on top and bake for a few minutes more, until onions brown. This is a great dish to prepare as a side dish for the turkey, or a great vegetable casserole if you're serving vegetarians at Thanksgiving dinner this year. For more information on how to find clay pots that are just the right size for your get-together, visit The Gourmet Kitchen.

Clay Pot Recipes


Although clay pot cooking isn't especially conventional these days, there are still wonderful recipes you can try in a clay pot, that are both tasty and nutritious. And clay pots are not just for cooking meat dishes; vegetarian meals taste wonderful in clay pots, and because of the pot's ability to retain the moisture and texture of food, all nutrients in vegetables are retained during cooking. Below are some clay pot recipes that you can try anytime; whether you're planning on something different for tomorrow's dinner, or planning a get-together, you can find a clay pot main course, dessert, or side dish that you and your family will love. If you're planning on making these dishes for a party and get-together, try baking them in your clay pot a few times for lunch or dinner before inviting guests over, so that you can time soaking your clay pot, or vary the baking times for each dish depending on your oven or taste preferences.

Main Dishes Meatloaf Asian-inspired Chicken Cod or Hake with Vegetables African Vegetable Stew

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Desserts Dirt Cake Bread & Butter Pudding Moist Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Crusty Peach Cobbler

Meatloaf One of the best main dishes to cook in a clay pot is meatloaf. You can use the same ingredients that you would if you were making the meatloaf in a casserole dish, but you may have to bake the loaf a little longer to solidify all the ingredients. Before you begin making your meatloaf, soak your clay pot in water for at least 15 minutes so that the flavors of the meatloaf won't be stifled with other foods you've prepared in the pot before. To make basic meatloaf, you'll need:

1 lb. ground beef 1 lb. ground pork 2 eggs 1 cup breadcrumbs 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 cup iced water 1/2 cup ketchup 2 Tbs. brown sugar 1 tsp. cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients except for ketchup, brown sugar, and cider vinegar in a large bowl. Mix salt, pepper, or other seasoning to taste. Pat the ingredients into the clay pot, then mix remaining ingredients and spread on top of the meatloaf. Bake for about an hour and a half. Set oven to 400 degrees for cooking.

Asian-inspired Chicken Chicken dishes are also ideal for dinner time, and can be prepared in clay pots as well. Here's a suggestion for clay pot Asianinspired chicken:

1 pound chicken, cleaned 2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil 6 thin slices young ginger, peeled 3 ounces Chinese mustard greens (choy sum) 10 cloves garlic, sliced and deep fried 10 shallots, sliced and deep fried 1 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce 1 1/2 teaspoon dark soya sauce 2 teaspoons Chinese yellow wine or sweet sherry 1 teaspoon light soya sauce 3 dashes pepper 1/2 cup chicken stock or water

Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Dry with kitchen paper. Place a claypot over high heat for one minute, add oil and when smoking, add oil and when smoking, add ginger, garlic and shallots. Stir-fry with a pair of chopsticks (or tongs if you don't have chopsticks) for one minute till fragrant. Add chicken and stir fry for about 2 to 3 minutes till the chicken changes color and is slightly browned. Add oyster sauce and dark soya sauce and stir fry briefly. Add remaining sauce ingredients. Cover with the lid and boil over high heat for about 8 minutes. Wash choy sum, and cut off the root end. Pluck or cut into finger lengths. Remove lid from the claypot, sprinkle some pepper and place the vegetables over the top. Cover and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes. Serve.

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Cod or Hake with Vegetables Try making fish in your clay pot. It's especially important to soak your clay pot before and after making fish dishes, since fish has a very strong smell and you don't want any other dishes to pick up the taste. If you're thinking of using fish as the main course, try:

4 pieces of cod/hake, approx. 150 g (6 oz) 2 onions 1 large fennel (or 2 small) 1 leek 2 carrots 50 ml (2 fl oz) white wine 50 ml (2 fl oz) water Salt and pepper Flakes of butter

Soak the clay pot. Clean and chop the fennel green and put to one side. Clean and shred the bulb. Peel the onions, cut into cubes. Clean and shred the leek and carrots. Mix together all the vegetables, season to taste, place in Romertopf. Rinse the cod or hake pieces. Dry and season them. Place on top of the vegetables and add butter flakes and cover. Place in cold oven, then cook at 225C (450F, Gas Mark 7) for about 50 minutes. Garnish with chopped fennel green.

African Vegetable Stew For a vegetable dish, you can steam fresh mixed vegetables with seasonings or cheese-for seasoning with onion or garlic, saut these items in safflower or olive oil while the clay pot is soaking, then add the onion, garlic, and oil to the bottom of the pot. You can add any vegetables you want, like broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, chestnuts, or even potatoes (leave the skin on for more nutrition; your potatoes will also come out more tender). You can layer your vegetables with cheese or butter (no water is necessary), and set the dish in the oven, then set the oven to 480 degrees. Cook for about an hour. For another clay pot vegetable dish, try:

1 Onion (very large), chopped 1 Swiss chard bunch 1 can Garbanzo beans (known also as chick peas, ceci, etc.) 1/2 c Raisins 1/2 c Rice, raw 2 Yams Several fresh tomatoes (or large can) 1 Garlic clove (or more to taste) Salt and pepper, to taste Tabasco sauce, to taste

Fry onion, garlic and white stems of chard until barely limp. Add chopped greens and fry a bit. Either peel the yams or scrub them well with a vegetable brush, then slice them into thick slices. Add garbanzos, raisins, yams, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook a couple of minutes in skillet or saucepan. Make a well in the center of the mixture in the clay pot by adding all ingredients except rice. Put the rice in the well and pat it down until it's wet. Cover and cook until rice is done, about 25 minutes. Add Tabasco sauce to taste.

Clay Pot Desserts


Clay pots are usually used for main dinner dishes, such as meatloaves, stews, and casseroles, but you can also use your clay pot to make everyone's favorite part of the meal-dessert. Clay pot desserts include cakes, cobblers, and even pies, and your dishes are kept moist and flavorful during and after baking-this is especially true for desserts containing fruit, or to preserve

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rich flavors like vanilla or nutmeg. Here are some clay pot desserts that you and your family will love; and you can prepare them in time to serve right after dinner. Dirt Cake

1 bag Oreo cookies 1/4 cup butter 1 cup powdered sugar 3 1/2 cups milk 2 small boxes instant French vanilla pudding 12oz. Cool Whip New clay flower pot New garden trowel

First, wash garden trowel and flower pot. Plug hole in bottom of the pot with a plastic lid from a coffee can. Then, cream butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar; set aside. Mix milk, instant pudding and Cool Whip. Add butter and cream cheese mixture. Layer pudding mixture and crushed cookies. Be sure top layer is crushed cookies. Refrigerate overnight. Decorate with gummy worms. Serve with trowel. This recipe does not require baking, but serving it in a clay pot will help all the flavors to combine well. So, instead of using a flower pot, you can use a traditional clay cooking pot. This dish is great for parties and get-togethers, and is easy and safe to make with your kids. For baking recipes, try a bread with berries or bananas, a cake, or traditional favorite, like apple pie or peach cobbler. These dishes taste much fresher in a clay pot, and desserts made with flour are less likely to dry out, even if the family doesn't get to them right away.

Bread & Butter Pudding

1/2 stick softened sweet butter, for spreading 6 slices Italian white bread 2 tablespoons golden raisins 3 tablespoons superfine sugar 2 eggs, lightly beaten 2 3/4 cups milk Confectioners sugar, for dusting

Spread the butter over the bread. Place the slices, crusts upward, in a large buttered ovenproof china pie dish. Sprinkle with raisins and sugar. Beat eggs and milk together, pour over the bread and soak for 5 minutes. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees F or until the bread is fluffy, the custard set and the top browned. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve with a pitcher of cream.

Moist Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

3 small ripe bananas or 2 large ripe bananas 4 large tablespoons sour cream 1 white cake mix 3 egg whites 2 tablespoons oil 1 1/3 c. milk 1 tsp vanilla flavoring Frosting: 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese 1 stick butter 1/3 c. nuts of your choice (i use walnuts) 1 box of powdered sugar (4 cups)

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1 tsp vanilla flavoring

Blend bananas with mixer, adding your sour cream. When mixture is well blended, not lumpy, add your cake mix, egg whites, oil, milk, flavoring together and mix. Add milk last so you will be able to judge the consistency of the cake and adjust as needed. Once will blended, pour the mixture into a greased or sprayed 9x13 cake pan or 3 cake layers. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake is done. The cake will spring back to the center when touched if done. Remove cake from oven and allow cake to cool. Use wax paper over cakes to capture and retain moisture while cooling. For frosting, mix cream cheese and butter together in a bowl. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix to desired consistency. If you like creamier frosting, you can add a little milk to the mixture. Then, add walnuts to icing, and frost each layer after the cakes have cooled.

Crusty Peach Cobbler Cobbler:

2 c. sliced fresh peaches 3/4 c. sugar 2 tbsp. flour 1 tbsp. lemon juice 1 tbsp. butter Shortcake:

2 cups sifted flour (all-purpose) 1/2 tsp. salt 4 tsp. baking powder 1 tbsp. sugar 1/3 cup shortening 1 egg, beaten 3/4 cup milk

Cobbler: Place peaches in greased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Sprinkle with mixture of sugar and flour, then lemon juice; dot with butter. Shortcake: Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until like coarse crumbs. Combine egg and milk. Add, stirring only until moistened. Drop in 6 mounds over peaches. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6. Once you try some of the recipes mentioned here, you may even become inspired to whip up an original clay pot dessert of your own.

Finding Clay Pots for the Holidays


If you've had your clay pots for a while, you're probably used to preparing food in them, and are very satisfied with the rich flavor that clay pots add to your food. However, if you plan on using your clay pots to cook Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you may want to know which dishes are best suited in clay pots, and how much you can cook at a time-especially if you're expected to have a full house this holiday season. Here are some tips for selecting larger clay pots, as well as a few dishes that will cook well in your new pot. Before you select larger clay pots, you may want to get a few smaller clay bakers to prepare your side dishes in, so you can free the entre-sized clay pots up for main dishes. Clay garlic bakers, mini bread bakers (for appetizers), and smaller clay pots for preparing gravy and sauces in will not only give you more pans to work with when you need to prepare larger dishes, but make for great presentation on the table as well. And, depending on when you decide to start preparing for holiday dinners, you can practice some of the dishes you plan on making in the smaller clay pots; this way, you won't waste a lot of ingredients if the dishes don't turn out well, and you'll know which dishes 'work' before the big day.

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Also, be sure to get a clay pot with a lid, especially if you're preparing turkey or other types of poultry. This will keep the dish from over-drying, which could take away from the flavor. While clay pots will automatically help food to retain its flavor, and give your dishes the right moisture content, a top will help if you're cooking the dish for a few hours (i.e. slow-cooking a turkey). You should also consider how large you really need your clay pot to be - sizes usually range from 3 to 17.5 lbs., so be sure to select wisely, and always make room for extra people to come over. Remember, it's always better to purchase a clay pot that is larger than you think you'll need. If you're trying out your clay pot for the first time during the holidays, here are a couple of recipes you may want to try that will feed large groups of people: Chicken With 40 Cloves Of Garlic This is for a clay pot or Romertopf Cookery. 4 servings. Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 60-65 minutes. Juice of 1/2 lemon 3 tbsp. softened butter Salt & pepper to taste 1 tsp. each: ground sage, ground thyme & ground rosemary 3-4 heads garlic, cloves separated but not peeled (Use only lg. & med. sized cloves)

Directions 1. Soak clay pot and cover in lukewarm water 15 minutes or more. Drain. 2. Put chicken into pot. Pour lemon juice into body cavity. Rub chicken with butter, salt and pepper and herbs. Distribute garlic cloves around and over chicken. 3. Put covered pot in cold oven. Raise heat to 425 degrees. Bake 50 minutes from time oven reaches this temperature. Remove cover. Baste chicken with juices. Raise heat to 450 degrees and bake uncovered 10-15 minutes, until breast skin is golden and thigh juices run clear when tested with cake tester. Serve this Choucroute topped with kielbasa or bratwurst, accompanied by new potatoes. Unlike most choucroute, which is cooked for 4 hours and is for my taste too strong in flavor, this dish tastes light and fresh. Beef Roast 1/4 c. butter, softened 2 tbsp. flour 1/2 tsp. dill 1 tsp. dry mustard 1/2 tsp. ginger 1/2 tsp. garlic salt 1/2 tsp. paprika 1/2 tsp. minced green onion 1 (3 to 4 lb.) beef roast 1/2 c. red wine Carrots, peeled

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Sm. potatoes, scrubbed Directions Combine first 8 ingredients, spread over roast. Place roast in clay cooking pot or baking pan. Pour wine over meat. Lay carrot and potatoes on top. Cover with clay pot lid or heavy foil. Bake in clay pot at 480 degrees for 1 hour, otherwise bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound. Clay pot will tenderize meat well. Serves 4 to 6. To clean you clay pots, rinse them well with cool to warm water as soon as possible so that food won't stick. Clay pots tend to hold the flavors of the last dish baked in them, so washing them as soon as possible will help to reduce this tendency. And, most clay pots are dishwasher safe, so after rinsing, they can be placed in the dishwasher with other utensils

Clay Pot Dishes You Can Make in Under an Hour


Everyone needs a few quick and easy dishes to put together for dinner or an impromptu gathering. If you prefer cooking in clay pots, or have just purchased a clay pot and want to try it out, testing a couple of simple dishes out will give you more confidence in your clay pot cooking. Here are some breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert suggestions for cooking in your clay pot that you and your family will love: Breakfast

Grits Casserole Ingredients cup raw grits 4 cups water 1 box Jiffy cornbread 1 cup milk 1 lb sausage 1 cup shredded cheese 1 stick butter 4 eggs 1 tsp salt Directions Add 1 cup raw grits to 4 cups boiling water, 1 tsp salt, and 1 stick of butter for about 15-20 minutes. Let cool. Saut 1 lb sausage and drain. Beat 4 eggs with 1 cup milk. Add all together with 1 box of Jiffy mix. Put in 13"x9" clay pot. Cover all with cheese. Bake at 325o for 30 mins.

Asparagus Egg Puff Ingredients

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*8-10 eggs 3 cups milk *8-10 slices of bread (remove crust and cut into cubes) 1 pound asparagus, blanched and cut into 1 inch pieces 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon salt pound grated sharp cheddar cheese *Can use 8, 9 or 10 - 10 makes a higher, lighter casserole. Directions Beat together eggs and milk. In large bowl mix together all ingredients and pour into a clay pot and let set overnight in the refrigerator. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more.

Lunch Forty-Clove Chicken Filice Ingredients 1 frying chicken, cut in pieces 40 cloves fresh garlic 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup dry vermouth 1/4 cup olive oil 4 stalks celery, cut in 1-inch pieces 1 teaspoon oregano 2 teaspoons dry basil 6 sprigs minced parsley Pinch of crushed red Pepper 1 lemon Salt and pepper to taste Directions Place chicken pieces into shallow baking pan, skin side up. Sprinkle all ingredients evenly over top of chicken. Squeeze juice from lemon and pour over top. Cut remaining lemon rind into pieces and arrange throughout

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chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F. for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Dinner Tuna Ratatouille Neptune 2 cans (6-1/2 ounce each) tuna packed in water 1 large eggplant Salt 2 green bell peppers 2 large onions 1 can (29 ounce) tomatoes, drained 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon garlic salt 2 teaspoons basil, crumbled Directions Drain tuna. Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes and spread in single layer on paper toweling. Sprinkle with salt; let stand 20 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels. Soak clay cooker in water 15 minutes. Seed and chunk peppers. Slice onions and separate into rings. Mix all ingredients, except tuna, in large mixing bowl. Spoon 1/2 mixture into clay cooker. Add all the tuna; spread evenly. Top with remaining eggplant mixture. Cover cooker; place in cold oven. Bake in 400 degrees F oven 3 hours; stir occasionally. Remove cover during last hour. Serve with slotted spoon.

Dessert Crusty Peach Cobbler Cobbler 2 c. sliced fresh peaches 3/4 c. sugar 2 tbsp. flour 1 tbsp. lemon juice 1 tbsp. butter

Shortcake

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2 cups sifted flour (all-purpose) 1/2 tsp. salt 4 tsp. baking powder 1 tbsp. sugar 1/3 cup shortening 1 egg, beaten 3/4 cup milk Directions Cobbler: Place peaches in greased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Sprinkle with mixture of sugar and flour, then lemon juice; dot with butter. Shortcake: Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until like coarse crumbs. Combine egg and milk. Add, stirring only until moistened. Drop in 6 mounds over peaches. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6. You may want to try these recipes one at time if you're new at clay pot cooking, and be sure to get your family's opinion on your new clay pot cooking efforts before serving your meals to the public. Once you get the hang of clay pot cooking (it's really very easy) you may even come up with a few clay pot dishes of your own. The nutritional value of your dishes will also be preserved with clay pot cooking, since the clay pot retains the original flavoring of food, so you don't have to add as many oils, seasonings, and salt for flavor.

Fat-free and Low Fat Clay Baker Recipes


If you're looking for new dinner ideas, it may be time to purchase a clay baker. And, if you want to find more dishes to prepare that are both fat-free and delicious, clay baker recipes give you lots of options for healthy and tasteful meals. Here are a few suggestions:

Main Dishes Roast Chicken & Peppers Halibut Zesty Vegetable Medley Low Fat Vegetarian Lasagna

Roast Chicken & Peppers Ingredients 1.6 kg (3-1/2 lbs) oven ready chicken

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200 g (7 oz) small onions 1 small red pepper, deseeded and sliced 1 small green pepper, deseeded and sliced 1 garlic clove 100 g (4 oz) baby sweet corn 100 g (4 oz) button mushrooms 100 g (4 oz) mange-tout (or French or runner) beans 15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato puree Salt and freshly ground black pepper 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme) 150 ml (6 oz) red wine or chicken stock Corn flour Directions Soak the clay baker. Place the chopped garlic, sprig of thyme and salt and pepper inside the chicken. Place chicken in the clay baker and surround with onions, peppers and more sprigs of thyme and salt and pepper. Mix the tomato puree with the wine/stock and pour over the chicken. Place in a cold oven and cook at 200C (400F, Gas Mark 6). Remove the pot from the oven and add sweet corn, sliced mushrooms and mange-tout and cook for a further 30 minutes. Remove the chicken and vegetables and keep warm. Strain off the sauce, reduce if necessary. The amount of sauce can be increased by adding 100 ml (5 fl oz) of chicken stock to the sauce and thickening with 10-15 ml (2-3 tsp) corn flour dissolved in 45 ml (3 tbsp) cold water. Whisk well until the sauce is brought to the boil and thickens. Adjust seasoning and serve with the chicken and vegetables. Boiled new potatoes, sprinkled with chopped parsley, are a delicious complement to this meal.

Halibut Ingredients 4 slices halibut, about 200 g (7-8 oz) 250 g (8 oz) peas and carrots 250 g (8 oz) asparagus, tinned 1 small onion 200 g (6 oz) mushrooms 1 tbsp all purpose flour 50 g (2 oz) melted butter 125 ml (4 fl oz) white wine 5 tbsp fresh cream

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Seasoning Directions Soak the clay baker. Rinse the halibut with cold water, dry and cover with lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and place in the clay baker. Pour about half the melted butter over the fish, place the carrots and peas around and lay the asparagus on top. Cover and place in a cold oven, then cook at 200-225C (400-450F, Gas Mark 6-7) for 25-35 minutes. Preparing the sauce: Peel and chop the onions. Clean, peel and chop the mushrooms. Melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan, add the onions and lightly saut, add mushrooms. When soft, sprinkle with the flour and wine. Stir thoroughly, bring to the boil and season. Finally add the cream. Serve the cooked fish with the vegetables and the sauce separately. If you want to try vegetarian dishes, these work very well in a clay baker as well. Most roasted vegetable dishes or vegetable casseroles come out very nicely in clay bakers, and vegetables are virtually fat-free or low in fat, so you know you'll be preparing a healthy meal. Some ideas are:

Zesty Vegetable Medley Ingredients zucchini squash slices tomatoes, sliced onions, sliced salt seasoned pepper parmesan cheese Directions Before using, place both pot and cover in water in a clean sink for 15 minutes. Drain. Arrange vegetables and seasonings in the pot. Cover and place in a cold oven. Bake at 450 F for about 30 minutes. The time will vary with the amount of vegetables and the thickness of the slices.

Low Fat Vegetarian Lasagna Ingredients 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 c. chopped onions 3 cloves minced garlic 1 14 ounce can of whole un-drained unpeeled tomatoes c. water

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c. tomato paste 1/3 c. chopped oil-marinated sun-dried tomatoes 1 tsp. honey 1/8 tbsp. red pepper flakes 2 medium size eggplants 4 small zucchini 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese Directions In a 2 quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the whole tomatoes, with liquid, and break them up with the back of a spoon. Stir in the water, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, honey, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Cut unpeeled eggplants crosswise into 1/2 inch slices; cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Brush 3 shallow 10 by 15 inch baking pans with oil. Arrange vegetable slices in a single layer in pans and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then turn vegetables over and continue baking until tinged with brown. Note if you prefer a more liquidy lasagna, omit this step. If you use mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese, combine them together now. Spread 1/2 c. of the sauce in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Top evenly with half each of the eggplant, zucchini, and cheese mixture. Spread with 1 cup more sauce. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake in 400 degree F oven until heated through about 45 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving. For a variation to this vegetarian recipes, add your favorite vegetables with the sauce mixture. Or for more protein, add 10 ounces of firm tofu to the cheese mixture

Finding Clay Pots for the Holidays


With the holidays coming up, we're all looking for quick, easy, delicious recipes to prepare for Christmas. And, if your children are interested in helping you prepare the meals this year, you may want to try a few clay pot dishes that the whole family will enjoy making. Here are some simple suggestions to add to your traditional Christmas dinner that you and your children will enjoy making.

Czech Christmas Hoska ( A Bread Dessert) Ingredients 1 (0.6 ounce) cake compressed fresh yeast 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup butter

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1 egg, beaten 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups scalded milk 6 cups all-purpose flour 1 pinch ground ginger 1 pinch ground mace 1/8 gram dried orange zest 1/2 cup golden raisins 1/2 cup candied mixed fruit peel 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds 1 egg yolk 1 tablespoon milk 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar Directions Dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add beaten egg and salt. Stir in cooled milk, and then the yeast. Add l l/2 cups sifted flour; beat to smooth batter. Cover and let rise until light, about one hour. Stir spices and dried orange zest into the sponge. Add 4 l/2 cups of flour to make a soft dough. Place on a lightly floured board, and knead until smooth and elastic. Knead in raisins and candied peel. Put in a well oiled bowl, and turn once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover. Set aside to rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours. Divide dough into ten parts, roll into desired lengths, and let rise about l5 minutes. On a heavily greased baking sheet or shallow clay pot, make a braid of three parts, beginning in the center and working braid loosely toward each end. Pinch ends together. Twist the remaining two pieces together, and place on the base of the braid. In a small bowl, beat together egg yolk and milk; brush the loaf with this mixture. Sprinkle sliced almonds over the loaf. Repeat process for second loaf. Let rise about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes. Transfer bread to a wire rack, and cool completely. Cover while cooling with a tea towel to make a soft crust. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Baked Apples with Mint Ingredients 4 Red Delicious apples 1/2 cup raisins 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves 4 teaspoons butter

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Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Core apples and peel off a 1 inch strip around the hole on the top of each apple. Place apples in a shallow baking dish or clay pot. Combine raisins, brown sugar, and mint leaves. Fill apples with the raisin mixture. Top the raisin filling in each apple with 1 teaspoon butter. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 50 minutes, until apples are tender.

Creme Brulee Ingredients 6 egg yolks 6 tablespoons white sugar, divided 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups heavy cream 2 tablespoons brown sugar Directions Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Beat egg yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy. Pour cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately. Stir cream into the egg yolk mixture; beat until combined.Pour cream mixture into the top of a double boiler. Stir over simmering water until mixture lightly coats the back of a spoon; approximately 3 minutes. Remove mixture from heat immediately and pour into a shallow heat-proof dish or clay pot. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight. Preheat oven to broil. In a small bowl combine remaining 2 tablespoons white sugar and brown sugar. Sift this mixture evenly over custard. Place dish under broiler until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully so as not to burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until custard is set again. Keep in mind that you can use clay pots of all sizes for these recipes, in case you want to bake individual dishes or desserts for each member of the family. You can also have a Christmas dessert tasting, and use smaller clay pots to give everyone a sample of the great desserts you've prepared. Enjoy!

Quick Clay Pot Christmas Desserts


Planning a big Christmas party? Have you been invited to an office party, over to a friend's home for a holiday get-together, and are still trying to figure out what to bring? If you have to make dessert for a large crowd this holiday season, here are some recipes that you can create in your clay pot that partygoers are sure to love. Using these recipes in a clay pot as opposed to a traditional baking dish can add extra moisture and enhanced flavor to your dishes, and these desserts are easy to make, so you won't spend all your time in the kitchen during your parties.

Composed Apple Pie on a Walnut Platform Ingredients 1 package (2 crusts) refrigerated pie crusts (or homemade crust for 2 crust pie)

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1 egg white, lightly beaten 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons beaten egg 1 tablespoons milk 1 tablespoon soft butter 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced 2 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled and thinly sliced 1 teaspoon lemon juice 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons cold butter, diced Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees and arrange a rack near the bottom of oven. Fit one pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan or clay pot, without trimming and leaving overhang. Brush bottom and up sides of crust with beaten egg white. Set aside. In a bowl, combine walnuts, brown sugar, egg, milk, soft butter and vanilla extract; mix well. Spreadevenly over bottom of the pie crust. In a large bowl, combine apples and lemon juice; toss lightly. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; add to apples. Toss well to combine and spoon over walnuts. Sprinkle with diced butter. Moisten crust edge with water and cover with second crust. Trim to 1/2-inch beyond edge of pie, fold top crust under bottom crust to seal and flute edge. Cut slits in top crust to vent; bake for 50 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Cover crust edge with foil, if necessary, to prevent browning. Cool pie on a rack until barely warm or to room temperature before serving. NOTES: Combining tart Granny Smith apples with sweet Golden Delicious strikes the perfect balance.

Best Red Velvet Cake Ingredients 1 Box Devil's Food Cake Mix 1 can cherry pie filling 2 eggs 1 tsp. almond flavoring Frosting: 1 c. granulated sugar

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5 tablespoons butter 1/3 c. milk 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips Filling: 1 can cherry pie filling, pureed Directions Mix cake mix, 1 can cherry pie filling, eggs, and flavoring for 3 minutes. Pour batter into two greased and floured 9-inch layer cake pans or clay pots. Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly in pans. Remove layers from pans while still warm. Spread pureed cherry pie filling on first layer and top with second layer. For frosting, place sugar, butter and milk in saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Pour over warm cake, allowing to run down the sides.

Sweet Potato Custard Cups Ingredients 2 cups sweet potato puree 2 can evaporated milk 4 large eggs 2 tbsp cornstarch 2/3 cup packed brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 1 tsp grated orange peel Directions Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Grease 12 custard cups or small clay pots and place in large baking pans. In bowl put all ingredients together and blend with electric mixer or in blender. Pour mixture into custard cups. Pour hot water halfway in baking pans. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until custards are just set and knife comes out clean.

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Claypot Chicken with Bitter Gourd Chicken, Dinner, Lunch, Vegetable December 26th, 2006

Claypot Chicken with Bitter Gourd

This is my mothers recipe. Ive never acquired the taste for bitter gourd all these years though I know it is packed with nutrients and goodness. I am informed that this dish Chicken with Bitter Gourd is a favourite amongst many who like bitter gourd. I am also informed that the bigger and older the bitter gourd, the less bitter it is. So, I thought why not I post it up here on this blog for those who like to eat chicken with bitter gourd but do not know how to cook it. My mum used the claypot to retain the warmth of the dish as well as to ensure that the chicken and bitter gourd continue to simmer slowly though it has been removed from the cooker. If you dont have a claypot, it doesnt really matter. Just serve it on a plate. This is my mothers recipe for Claypot Chicken with Bitter Gourd. Ingredients

1 large bitter gourd (wash, remove seeds, cut halved across the bitter gourd and then, cut to chunk bite sizes) 2 whole chicken legs (remove skin and cut to chunky bite sizes. You can keep the skin if you dont mind the dish
slightly oily)

5 pieces dried chinese mushrooms (pre-soaked till soft and cut to two with stems discarded) 1 1/2 tablespoons tau cheo 4 cloves garlic (chopped) 2 tablespoons cooking oil (preferably palm oil) 1 cup warm water

Seasoning

1 1/2 teaspoons dark soya sauce Salt to taste a pinch of sugar

Method Heat oil in wok and stir-fry garlic and tau cheo for 30 seconds. Add chinese mushrooms, chicken and bitter gourd and continue stir-frying till outer layer of chicken meat is cooked.
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Add seasoning and water enough to cover the ingredients. Bring to boil. Meanwhile, if you have a claypot, heat it up whilst waiting for the gravy to boil in the wok. Once the gravy is boiling, transfer contents into claypot and simmer for 15 minutes on medium heat till gravy reduced to your liking. If you do not have a claypot, simmer likewise. Serve hot with white rice.

Recipes for Chinese Food Clay Pot Tofu


seasiafood

Claypot Tofu -it's still boiling when served Most Chinese cuisines needed to be served hot, not only because this will make the dish taste better, but also because Chinese believe food served while hot is more healthier than is served cold. In Chinese restaurant, you wont be surprised to find a customer complaining about their dish is not hot when served, because it is expected to be hot! Therefore, one of the many ways the Chinese use to keep their dishes hot is by using clay pot to make their dishes. One of the common clay pot dish you can easily find in Southeast Asia is Clay Pot Tofu tofu or bean curds, prawn, chicken, chinese cabbage and mushroom cooked in clay pot. If you go to a chinese restaurant and order Clay Pot Tofu or Nga Pou Dou Fu, i am sure the waiter wont give you a i am not understand face. This dish is equally famous in chinese restaurant as well as household cooking, my mom, my auntie, my friends mom, my friends friends mom, most moms know how to make this dish! To prepare this dish, you need a clay pot (of course, if not, the name of this dish gotta changed already!) You see, although tofu is the main ingredient of this dish, but without a clay pot, the harmony of this dish is void. So, if you dont have a clay pot, it is time to get yourself one, as clay pot are used in many chinese cuisine, and, clay pot can last long too (worth it)! Before we start making this dish, lets prepare the ingredient fist, they are:
4 pieces tofu, quartered 100g chicken breast meat, sliced 8 prawn, cleaned & peeled 3 dried mushrooms, soaked to soft, sliced

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3 slices chinese cabbage, cut into small pieces 25g glass noodle, soaked Spring onion, to garnish

3 clove garlic, chopped 2 tablespoon oyster sauce 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

What to do now: 1. 2. 3. 4. deep fry tofu till golden, set a side heat up clay pot, pour in some oil and fry garlic till fragrant add in chicken meat, mushrooms, prawn, stir fry for 2 minutes add in fried tofu, chinese cabbage, glass noodle, oyster sauce, light soy sauce and half glass of water, stir fry till well mixed, cover it and let it cook for 3 minutes 5. garnish with spring onion, served hot with steamed rice.

well known chinese cuisine - claypot tofu See, so simple, this famous Chinese cuisine is now on your table, you may start to enjoy it! But be extremely careful when you eat this dish, because the tofu is far far hotter than you imagine! Cooking tips: # For healthier eating, you may toast the tofu till a bit crispy, instead of deep frying it. # You can replace chicken breast meat with pork meat.

INGREDIENTS :

3 boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size 1 Lap Cheong [Chinese sausage], cut into thick slices diagonally [Substitute: sweet sausage, or 1 additional boneless chicken thigh] 1 tbsp dark soy sauce 1 tbsp ginger, minced tbsp sugar

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sesame oil cornstarch cup scallions, sliced and 2 extra stalks for garnish, chopped 3 cups long grain rice, washed until water is clear then drained 6-7 cups chicken stock1 tsp salt 1 tbsp peanut oil salt and pepper

Cook's Note : Traditionally, Clay Pot Rice is a one pot rice meal as in this recipe; rice is baked with simple and economical ingredients. The crispy part of the rice at the bottom of the clay pot is what is savored most. Clay Pot Rice is nowadays made with a variety of meats and seafood; more exotic ingredients are used - from ostrich & venison to sea cucumber & lobster.......... Prepare :

In a bowl combine chicken and lap cheong with dark soy sauce, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, cornstarch and scallions Marinate refrigerated for at least 30 mins In a clay pot [no preheating] add peanut oil, rice and salt - gradually bring to high heat, saut the rice until the rice becomes quite translucent Add chicken stock, up to 1 inch above the level of the rice and season with salt and pepper Gradually bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until the stock has evaporated to the rice level [tiny 'holes' form on rice] Add the marinated chicken and sausage, stir well into the rice, cover the clay pot Carefully transfer the covered [and hot!] clay pot into a preheated 350F degree oven Bake for 12-15 min Carefully open the cover of the clay pot, give it a good stir, cover again, turn heat to high [500F degrees] bake for only 1 min Immediately reduce heat to very low [180F degrees] and cook for an additional 10 min Turn heat off, carefully remove from oven and let it rest for 5 min Garnish with chopped scallions, and if preferred, serve with a side of hot chili sauce

FYI : Many restaurants feature clay pot 'dishes' on their menus - Claypot Mee [noodles], Claypot Tofu [soy bean cake], Claypot Fish, Claypot Soup. Clay-pot dishes are the Oriental version of the American casserole. The main difference is that they are cooked on top of the stove rather than in the oven. Food cooked in a clay pot has maximum flavor, enormous nutritional value and is visually appetizing - the dish can go straight from the oven to the dinner table. The design of the clay-pot assures good retention of heat and keeps food hot much longer

Claypot Chicken Rice


April 16th, 2010Recipes, Chinese Recipes, Recipes46 Comments

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Claypot chicken rice is popular in many Asian countries, for example: Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, but Ive always cheated with a rice cooker when making it at home. Im so glad that Danielle of Bon Vivanta gorgeous food blog with great writing, mouthwatering recipes and food photographyis sharing her claypot chicken rice recipe with us. Danielle is a Singaporean who lives in the bay area; I applaud her dedication and patience in preparing this claypot chicken rice. Check out her wonderful guest post below and dont forget to hop over to Bon Vivant for more awesomeness. Im very certain that you will like what you see on Bon Vivant! There are so many wonderful ways to cook a meal these daysfrom the blink of a microwave to the meditative warmth of braising in an oven. Despite the array of modern gadgets like the slow cooker, pressure cooker and the microwave, I must profess that Im decidedly old school in owning none of these. On the contrary, I actually enjoy the waiting (and the work) involved with the slow cooking process. Its like having front-row seats at the Evolution of Dinner; youre witnessing the transformation of food from its raw, organic state into one capable of bringing you to gustatory heaven. When I started cooking for myself, I appreciated the quick weeknight recipes found in the pages of any magazine. These were functional, utilitarian meals designed to satisfy hunger and send me off to bed for a good nights rest. What I really looked forward to on the weekends though, was the time I could have to spend in the kitchen: I relished the four hours it took to transform perfectly smooth tomatoes into scabs of tomato confit and thought nothing of burying soft, plump pieces of cod in salt for a month for home-made bacalao. I loved having to plan for a meal, sometimes weeks in advance, savoring the prelude of daily preparations before the big show

The ultimate goal of these seemingly unnecessary, laborious processes (in the face of modern appliances), was in coaxing out the real, true flavor of whatever was being prepared. Before I tasted my own, I tempted myself with the imagination, envisioning what the final dish would be like, aided by Thomas Kellers poetic prose and suchlike. After the meal, the memory would linger, along with a satisfaction deepened by the knowledge that it was a meal that I felt I had truly worked for, in a manner so tangible, concrete and worlds apart from the conventional notion of work that we subject ourselves to everyday. So, in a tribute to slow-cooking and the primal, mouth-watering reactions borne out of wrestling with taunting aromas on an empty stomach, heres a classic Chinese claypot dish, just the way my mother prepares it. Its a breeze to put together and tastes absolutely delicious, but youll have to give it time, over low heat, to get there. Although traditionally cooked over a short and stocky charcoal stove and monitored with a hawks eye, you could also use a deep cast-iron pot over the stove or the always reliable rice cooker to do the job. Youll just be missing out on the spirals of smoke that work its way into the claypot to augment the heady combination of rice wine and sesame oil for a deeper complexity on the palate. The timings in this recipe were tailored for claypot use on a gas or an electric stove, so adjust the cooking time accordingly if youre planning to cook this over a charcoal fire. Also, dont fret if the ingredients at the base of the pot burn a little these are actually the best bits of the dish, adding a satisfying crunch to every bite

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Claypot Chicken Rice Recipe Serves 4 Recipe by: Bon Vivant Ingredients: For the chicken: 1 pound/ 450 grams chicken meat (from the thighs or breast), deboned and sliced into 2-inch pieces 1 tablespoon cornstarch 3 teaspoons Chinese rice wine 3 teaspoons sesame oil A pinch of salt METHOD: Whisk the cornstarch, rice wine, sesame oil and salt in a bowl, then pour it over the chicken pieces, mixing well to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Claypot rice: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 cloves of garlic, minced A 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced 1 ounce/ 28 grams dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water and sliced 2 ounces/ 56 grams dried Chinese sausage (Lap Cheong), sliced 10 ounces/ 280 grams white rice, rinsed in cold water until the water runs clear and drained 2 teaspoons light soy sauce 2 teaspoons sesame oil cup of water, at room temperature 5 ounces/ 140 grams leafy green vegetables, like bok choy, gai choy, dou miao or spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce 1 teaspoon sesame oil Method: Heat the oil in a wok or a deep frying pan, then add the garlic and ginger, frying until fragrant. Add the marinated chicken and stir. When the meat starts to brown, add the mushrooms and chinese sausage, stirring for a minute to mix well. If youre using a claypot, place it on a hob and turn the heat to low. Add the rice to the wok and turn the heat to high, mixing as you go to allow the rice to fully absorb the flavor of the other ingredients. Add the light soy sauce and sesame oil to the wok and keep stirring and mixing for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the contents of the wok to the claypot. Add the water, then cover and increase the heat to medium. Leave the ingredients to cook for about an hour, checking-in every 15 minutes and giving the rice a stir or two. After an hour, add the vegetables, cover and turn the heat to low for 10 minutes. Drizzle the dark soy sauce and sesame oil over the vegetables and serve, with the claypot as your centerpiece

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Braised Egg Tofu in Claypot Recipe


20.06.2010 Posted in Cook , Tofu

Braised egg tofu in claypot (or rather in my case vision pot ) is my all-time favourite dish. The lazy person in me loves the idea of combining meat and veggies in one pot and serving the dish in the same pot too! Ingredients

2 tubes of Egg Tofu (beancurd) cut into 1 & 1/2 inch thick rounds 1 small carrot sliced 1 onion quartered 2 cloves of garlic chopped 5 slices of ginger julienned 2 dried shiitake mushrooms soak in hot water for 30 mins, remove stem and julliene 10 snowpeas 5 baby corn sliced diagonally 4 medium prawns shelled siew yoke (roasted pork belly)

Sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce 2 tbsp oyster sauce salt to taste dash of pepper 100ml chicken stock 1 tbsp shaoxing wine (chinese cooking wine) 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed in 2 tbsp water (thickening)

Method
1. Deep fry egg tofu until golden brown. Try not to fry them for too long or they will dry out and lose their smooth texture. Dish up and set aside once done. 2. Heat up a claypot, add oil and saute garlic and ginger till fragrant. 3. Add in all the other ingredients and stir fry. 4. Combine light soy sauce, oyster sauce and chicken stock and add to pot, season with salt and pepper. 5. Return fried egg tofu to pot and cook for about 2 minutes until vegetables are tender. 6. Finally add in shaoxing wine and cornstarch thickening. Remove from heat once sauce has thickened. 47

Other vegetables that can be used include broccoli, cauliflower and capsicums. You can also add in chicken meat to replace the roast pork. Works very well served with a hot steamy bowl of rice *mmm* Clay Pot or Casserole Rice Recipes

Casserole Olive rice with minced meat and nuts (Nuts to be added as garnishing) Clay pot recipes in Chinese cooking is very popular and versatile. For different recipes, you may also want to try clay pot rice with ham, fish, squids, vegetables, nuts, eggs, yam or potatoes, tofu, capsicums...etc. Whatever ingredients you use, the secret to getting a tasty dish is to fry the ingredients first, before adding to the near-cooked rice. Besides rice, equally popular clay-pot recipes include clay-pot crabs, clay pot rice vermicelli, clay-pot tofu....The list can be extensive, depending on how far one's creativity can carry him to. Don't we also have casserole lamb, casserole beef too....?They are 'clay-pot' dishes too.

Why do we need a clay pot to cook the chicken rice The secret lies in the unique aroma from the rice cooked this way. It is the burnt aroma! One may apprehend at the idea of burnt rice, and argue that it is not healthy to consume anything 'burnt'. Usually the rice burnt is minimal. Thus there is no cause for alarm, to the health advocates. In absence of a clay pot, you may want to substitute it with 'oven to table' type of cookware, or earthen-ware like casserole.

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Clay pot medley with shrimp and sausage (Fry sausage for 1 minutes, then add in prawn and stir fry for 20 seconds before adding to rice)

To cook rice in a clay pot or earthen-ware This is very different from that of a rice cooker. It needs about 15% extra of water needed for normal rice cooked with rice cooker. This is due to higher evaporation rate from a less manageable fire control. Cook over high flame till boil for 5 minutes. Switch to medium during boiling. 10 minutes. Gradually reduce to low as the amount of water reduces. 15 minutes. The rice should be 90% cooked and 90% dry. Five minutes more of very low flame would burn some rice at the base, giving it its characteristic aroma. It would also cook the bulk of the rice. Switch off. Let the retained heat do the final episode of cooking through. Clay pot chicken rice Cook time 40 minutes, Serve 5

Clay pot chicken rice with mushroom Ingredients 200 g rice, washed and drained 1 1/2 cup water 2 inch of cinnamon stick A 15 g ginger, chopped 1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil or butter 5 pips garlic, chopped and 2 shallots, chopped 20 gm salted fish, sliced B Marinate together the following: 250 g chicken pieces 4 dried mushroom, pre-soaked overnight, and quartered

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1 tsp chili powder, optional 2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tsp sesame oil salt and pepper to taste Method 1. Start cooking the rice mixture in a clay pot. 2. Meanwhile, fry A over low-medium fire till aromatic. 2 minutes. Add B, turn to high heat, fry for 2 minutes. 3. The chicken meat should be 90% cooked. Add to top of the rice already cooked by 4. 90% in the clay pot. 5. Cover and cook for further 5 minutes. 6. Serve after another 10 minutes to ensure each rice grain is thoroughly cooked. 7. Garnish with cut chili, spring onion

Szechuan Fish in Clay Pot

Ingredients: 500g Common Snakehead Fish, cut into pieces 1 Onion, diced 1 Red Chili, diced 1 stalk Spring Onion, cut into 3 cm length 5 slices Ginger Seasoning: 5 tbsp Szechuan / Sichuan hot & spicy sauce (Learn how to make it) 1 tsp Oyster Sauce 1/2 tsp Salt 1 tsp Sugar Method: 1. Deep fry the fish in hot oil until brown and crispy. Dish up. 2. Heat up 2 tbsp oil, saute ginger and onion until fragrant. Add in seasoning, fish and stir well. 3. Add in water and cook until the gravy is almost dry. 4. Add in red chili, spring onion and stir well. 5. Dish up and serve.

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Claypot Lao Shu Fen

mouthwatering chinese cuisine I have introduced Lao Shu Fen (Lou Shu Fen) or Yin Zhen Fen in my previous post, now is time to share with you on how to make this classical chinese cuisine, Claypot Lao Shu Fen, which loved by most chinese in Southeast Asia! To make this single meal dish, first of all, we need a claypot, the purpose of using claypot is to keep warmth of the dish and make the dish become more excited (imagine a dish is served on a plate while another one is served in a claypot, which one give you more excitement?) Ok, back to our recipe, we need to prepare the following ingredient:

yummy pork meatball


300g Lao Shu Fen 5 prawn, cleaned and peeled 1 egg 50g minced pork tbsp sesame oil 3 clove garlic, chopped 3 tbsp light soy source 1 tbsp dark soy source

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50g chinese green mustard, cut into small piece 6 pork meatball 1 red shallot, chopped cube of chicken stock

1tbsp corn flour pepper salt 1 cup water

How to marinate minced pork: add 1 tbsp light soy source, 1 tbsp corn flour, tbsp sesame oil and pepper to minced pork, mixed well and set a side for at least 10 minutes

To start: Heat up the pan, add in oil, garlic and red shallot, fry till fragrant

add in the marinated pork, stir fry till cooked

add in prawns and pork meatball, stir fry for 1 minute, add in 1 tbsp dark soy source, 2 tbsp light soy source, cube of chicken stock, salt and water, cook until boil
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heat up the claypot, add in Lao Shu Fen

then, add in the cooked gravy and green mustard, use spoon to mix well

when it is boiling, add in 1 egg, off fire immediately, served hot

If you can eat hot, you may add in chopped bird eye chilies, it can stimulate the taste of this dish!
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Clay Pot Chicken with Mushroom ()


December 22nd, 2011Recipes, Chinese Recipes, Recipes34 Comments

Clay Pot Chicken with Mushroom pictures (1 of 5) Next Back Recently, my friend told me that I should be sharing more everyday recipes on Rasa Malaysiameaning homey recipes that can be served on a constant basis. Truth be told, I cook and eat mostly everyday dishes at home. I mean, blog aside, most of the recipes I make are humble, everyday dishes that you will want to eat over and over again, without ever getting bored. Clay pot chicken with mushroom is one of them. I dont know why it has taken me this long to share this wonderful recipe; I guess the notion that it is not that visually appealing is the main reason. Anyway, during winter months, I use my clay pot almost once a week. I have so many recipes that can be easily prepared in a clay pot, for examples: Taiwanese 3-Cup Chicken, Sesame Oil Chicken, Cantonese Beef Stew, Malaysian Yong Tow Foo, Curry Fish Head, Bak Kut Teh, pork belly in soy sauce, and braised pork ribs with daikon. Clay pot is without a doubt one of my favorite kitchen utensils. The thought of something stewing, braising, and simmering in this kitchenware is enough to stir up my appetite.

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Clay pot chicken with mushroom is a very versatile dish. You can throw in extra ingredients to dress up this humble dishcarrot, daikon, onion, or even Cantonese lap cheong (sausage). Either way, the taste is remarkable and the sauce is great with a bowl of soft, fluffy steamed rice Clay Pot Chicken with Mushroom Recipe () Ingredients: 12 oz skinless and boneless chicken breast/thigh, cut into bite-sized cubes 6 dried shiitake mushrooms 2 tablespoons oil 1-inch piece peeled ginger, cut into slices 1/2 cup water 2 stalks scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths Salt to taste Marinade: 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine 1/2 tablespoon corn starch Sauce: 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon oyster sauce 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 3 dashes white pepper A few drops dark soy sauce, optional, for coloring purposes Method: Marinate the chicken with the Marinade for 15 minutes. Mix all the ingredients in the Sauce in a small bowl, set aside. Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes or until softened. Remove the stems and cut the mushrooms into halves. Heat up the clay pot with the oil. Add in the ginger and stir-fry until aromatic. Add the chicken into the clay pot and stir for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and do a few quick stirs. Pour in the sauce, stir to combine well. Add the water and lower the heat to low. Cover the clay pot and let cook and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Add the scallions, stir for a few times and the clay pot chicken with mushroom is now ready to serve. If its not salty enough, add a little salt to taste. Cooks Notes: 1. You can also use bone-in chicken (with skin) for this dish. Chicken leg quarters will be ideal. 2. Use 2-inch knob of ginger if you like ginger. 3. If you want to make this dish restaurant quality, treat your chicken with baking soda per the instructions here.

Three Cup Chicken ()


August 22nd, 2009Recipes, Chinese Recipes, Recipes, Recipes, Taiwanese Recipes112 Comments

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Three Cups Chicken () pictures (1 of 4) Three cup chicken () is a classic Taiwanese dish, one that I never miss out whenever I eat out at Taiwanese restaurants. I love Taiwanese foodunpretentious, humble, and homey dishes that score high on yumo-meter. Taiwanese food is basically Chinese food with local influences, slightly different cooking methods, local adaptations and variations. Many Taiwanese dishes remind me of Chinese-Malaysian food, not due to proximity but the origin of such dishes from Fujian province where many early immigrants settled in Taiwan and Malaysia/Singapore The name three cup chicken () comes from the three key ingredients: sesame oil, Chinese rice wine, and soy sauce. Cups refer to the equal ratio instead of literal measurement. A true and authentic Taiwanese three cup chicken calls for basil leaves, the soul of the dish that lends an exotic aroma and minty nuance to the taste. Taiwanese also love their three cup recipe with squid (). Both are equally delectable. Here is my three cup chicken recipe, adapted to my personal liking. I especially love the sauce with steamed white rice. Its wonderful! If you like Taiwanese recipes, you should also check out this pork and chicken rolls recipe. Three Cup Chicken Recipe () Ingredients: 1 lb. chicken (I used chicken drumsticks) 6 slices peeled ginger 6 cloves garlic (skin peeled) 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce 1 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine 1 1/2 tablespoon dark sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis) A big bunch of Thai basil leaves 1 tablespoon baking soda (to tenderize the chicken, optional) Method: Cut the chicken into pieces and marinate them with baking soda. Set aside for 10 minutes before rinsing the chicken off with water. Make sure the baking soda is completely rinsed off. Pat dry the chicken pieces and set aside.

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Heat up a claypot on high heat and add the dark sesame oil. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry until aromatic. Add in chicken and do a few quick stirs. Add soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and continue to stir-fry the chicken. Cover the chicken and lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add basil leaves and stir well with the chicken, dish out and serve immediately. Cooks Notes: 1. This recipe calls for dark sesame oil, which is different from regular sesame oil. Dark sesame oil is a lot more expensive but the flavor is more intense and with a stronger toasted sesame fragrance. 2. You can skip the first step of tenderizing the chicken with baking soda. I personally like it because it makes the chicken so tender. 3. If you dont have a clay pot, you can use a regular wok to make this dish

Sesame Oil Chicken ()


June 18th, 2010Recipes, Chinese Recipes, Recipes, Malaysian Recipes, Recipes47 Comments

Sesame Oil Chicken ( pictures (1 of 3) Recently, I am in love with sesame oil chicken (), a really homey and humble chicken dish that is both delicious and easy to make. It takes only a few ingredients to dish out sesame oil chicken, but the great taste complements steamed white rice so well that I can personally finish up a serving of this all by myself! As mentioned, the ingredient list is quite simple: bone-in chicken (I prefer chicken drumstick), sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and oyster sauceeveryday Asian ingredients that you will find in your pantry without running to the store! I especially love it that during the cooking process, the aroma of ginger and sesame oil fill up my kitchen, and that alone is enough to set my mouth watering. (In Malaysia, sesame oil chicken or pork is often served to new mothers, during the confinement month after birth. Chinese believe that ginger and sesame oil are heaty ingredients that help strengthen and nourish the body of new mothers and will speed up recovery after child birth.)

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Just like any good Malaysian citizen, I serve this with a dollop of fresh sambal belacan. A satisfactory and everyday meal is really just all thatyou need no fancy and expensive ingredients or tedious preparations. Check out my sesame oil chicken recipe below Sesame Oil Chicken Recipe () Ingredients: 3 chicken drumsticks (chop into 3-4 pieces each, bone-in) 2-3 inches knob of ginger (peeled and cut into thin strips) 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or Chinese rice wine 2 tablespoons sesame oil 1/2 cup water 3 dashes white pepper powder Method: Heat up a wok over high heat and add the sesame oil. When a swirl of smoke appears from the wok and the oil is fully heated, add the ginger strips and stir fry until light brown or aromatic. Add chicken to the wok and stir fry for about 10-15 seconds before adding the soy sauce, oyster sauce, wine, and white pepper powder. Continue to stir-fry until the chicken is 70% cooked. Add water and do a few quick stirs. Cover the wok with the lid and turn the heat to medium to low heat and let the chicken cook for a few minutes or until the sauce thickens and the meat becomes tender. Dish out and serve immediately. Cooks Note: If the sauce dries up, add more water and cook until the chicken reach your desired doneness

Cantonese Beef Stew


September 8th, 2011Recipes, Chinese Recipes, Recipes30 Comments

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Cantonese Beef Stew pictures (1 of 4) This Cantonese beef stew is inspired by the lamb stew that I had a couple of years ago in Hong Kong. Whenever its winter time or the weather is cold, lamb stew is a popular dish for the denizens in Hong Kong as lamb is a heaty meat and the clay pot stew complement it to give warmth to the body. As I am not a big fan of lamb, I made the stew with beef and the result is equally delectable.

Believe or not, its already September and in no time, weather is going to cool down so this Cantonese beef stew recipe will come in handy if you wish to try it out. The recipe is in metric measurement, to convert, please use the conversion tool. Cantonese Beef StewIngredients: 2 tablespoons oil 1/2 small onion, cut into small pieces 2 cloves garlic 250g beef, cut into small cubes cup water 6 mini carrots 2 sticks dry beancurd sticks, soak in warm water for 30 minutes, cut into pieces 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon oyster sauce teaspoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine 3 dashes white pepper

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Method: 1. Heat up a claypot with the oil and add the onion and garlic, stir-fry until aromatic. 2. Add the beef into the claypot, followed by the carrot and beancurd sticks. 3. Add the water and all the seasonings, stir to combine well. 4. Cover the claypot, turn the heat to low, simmer and cook until the beef becomes tender. 5. Serve hot with steamed white rice

Curry Fish Head


March 29th, 2011Recipes, Malaysian Recipes, Recipes, Nyonya Recipes, Recipes35 Comments

Curry Fish Head pictures (1 of 4) My two-month vacation here in Penang, Malaysia is coming to an end. Before I leave, I wanted to share a very delicious recipe with you (a specialty of my second sister who is an excellent cook )Curry Fish Head. For sure, I am going to miss this dish when I return to the United States because some of the key ingredients such as bunga kantan is not available. Furthermore, its impossible to find very fresh fish head to prepare this dish

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This Curry Fish Head recipe is essentially a Nyonya ikan tumis recipe, but made with Garoupa fish head so I would call this a Nyonya Curry Fish Head as there is no curry powder and curry leaf used. Regardless, its a mean pot of curry and goes very well with steamed white rice, and this is just one example of the type of dishes we eat in Malaysia. Please take note that this recipe is in metric measurement for easy reference. Enjoy! My Sisters Famous Curry Fish Head Recipe Ingredients: 600g Garoupa Fish Head, chopped into pieces 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp + 1/2 cup water 3-4 tablespoons oil 2 cups water Bunch of polyganum leaves (laksa leaves) 4-6 okras, cut into halves diagonally Salt to taste Sugar to taste, optional Spice Paste: 1-2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, cut into small pieces 1 small turmeric, skin peeled, sliced into pieces 20-25g dried red chili paste 50g peeled shallots 5g belacan (shrimp paste) Garnishing: Bunga Kantan (Torch Ginger Flower), sliced into small pieces Bunch of mint leaves, optional

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Method: 1. Prepare the spice paste by using a mortar and pestle. First, pound the lemongrass and turmeric together until they become a paste. 2. Deseed a big handful of dried red chilies. Soak in warm water for about 10 minutes. Pound the dried red chili into a fine paste. You will need about 20-25g depending how spicy you like. Save the unused chili paste in the refrigerator. 3. Pound the shallots and the shrimp paste together. 4. Mix the tamarind pulp and water using your fingers, extract the juice out of the tamarind pulp, discard the tamarind pulp and the seeds and save the tamarind juice. 5. Heat up a pot on medium heat and add the oil. Saute the turmeric and lemongrass before adding the shallots and belacan paste. Continue to stir-fry until aromatic before adding the chili paste. Stir until the oil separates from the spice paste and become red. 6. Add the tamarind juice into the pot, follow by the water. Bring it to boil before adding the polyganum leaves (laksa leaves) and okra. After the okra is half-cooked, add the fish head. Cover the pot and let cook for a few minutes until the fish is cooked. Add salt and sugar (if using) to taste. Garnish with the bunga kanta and mint leaves. Serve immediately. Cooks Notes: 1. Use one lemongrass if its a big lemongrass and two if the lemongrass is thinner. 2. Fish head might sound intimidating to many of you, but its definitely one of the best parts of a fishits fleshy, tender, and absolutely delicious. Curry Fish Head is a popular dish in Malaysia and Singapore.

Bak Kut Teh Recipe (Pork Bone Tea Soup)


October 20th, 2006Malaysian Food, Recipes, Malaysian Recipes, Recipes33 Comments

Bak Kut Teh pictures (1 of 3) Bah Kut Teh or Pork Bone Tea is a Chinese soup dish. Infused with herbs such as Dong Quai, Cinnamon, Star Anise, and loaded with pork ribs, dried Shitake mushrooms, tofu puffs, and heaps of garlic, this soup fills the kitchen with evocative scents. Bah Kut Teh needs a couple hours of slow boiling and the end result is concoction perfumed with a sweet herbal and earthy flavor. Its best cooked and served in a clay pot and eaten with plain

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white rice, yau char kway (Chinese crullers), a dish of stir-fried vegetables such as Chinese Greens in oyster sauce, and a small plate of chili plus soy sauce condiment

If you make Bak Kut Teh at home, do save a bowl or two as your breakfast the following day. The interplay of these herbs, spices, and ingredients usually reaches its height the next morning and you will find that overnight Bak Kut Teh tastes even better than freshly made. Slurp the soup and savor each drip of the essence until there is no single drop left. Intensely flavorful and hearty, Bak Kut Teh is certainly my cup of tea Recipe: Bak Kut Teh Ingredients: 1 pack of pre-packed Bak Kut Teh herbs 1 lb of pork ribs 2 garlic bulbs (photographed above) 6 dried Shitake mushrooms (soaked and cut into halves) A handful of tofu puffs Seasoning: 2 tablespoons of soy sauce 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce A few dashes of white pepper powder Salt to taste Condiment: 4-5 birds eyes chilies 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon Indonesian ABC sweet soy sauce Heat up a claypot of water until it boils. Add in the garlic bulbs, pre-packed Bak Kut Teh herbs, pork ribs, mushrooms, tofu puffs and boils in low heat for about 1 2 hours. Add in the seasoning and boil for another 5 minutes. Serve hot. Rasa Malaysia recommends pre-packed Bak Kut Teh herbs and spices from Veng Tatt Soon () in Penang

Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce (Tau Yew Bak)


January 12th, 2010Recipes, Chinese Recipes, Recipes, Malaysian Recipes, Recipes52 Comments

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Braised Pork Belly with Soy Sauce Pork (Tau Yew Bak) pictures (1 of 3) Since my second sister came into town, we have been cooking up a storm. (Previously, we have made pineapple fried rice and salted fish bones curry.) We have also been reminiscing our fond memories of our late parents sharing the stories of our times with them and those days when we were growing up. Naturally, we talked about the delicious foods that my late mother used to cook for our family and the many dishes that she prepared which we missed dearly although the tastes still linger on our taste buds. As my second sister is many years my senior, she had the opportunity to learn more about cooking from my late mother. We grew up in a big and poor family, so since she was 12 years old, she was tasked with housework and kitchen chores, including cooking for the whole family. Because of that, she has acquired and inherited most of our family recipes(get braised pork belly in soy sauce/tau yew bak recipe after the jump)

A couple of days ago, we talked about making my mothers braised pork belly in soy sauce, or tau yew bak (in Hokkien)one of the many family recipes that my mother excelled in. Her tau yew bak was legendary; the pork belly was always tender, juicy, and they are steeped in an intensely flavorful soy sauce. The taste was complex, sophisticated, addictive, and utterly delectable. There were always extras such as hard-boiled eggs, tofu, and sometimes, potatoes and mushrooms.

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When my parents came to visit us in San Francisco 10 years ago in 2000, I managed to learn my mothers tau yew bak recipe. I volunteered to make the dish, following the instructions that she had briefed me during her stay. I added some cracked whole white peppercorn (her secret ingredient!) and slowly braised the pork belly over low heat. The result was rather satisfactory and adequate, in fact, it was delicious but it is never going to be as good as my mothers version. My sister said that it lacked the taste of mother, which, unfortunately, something I could never ever recreate. Here is my family recipe of braised pork belly in soy sauce or tau yew bak. Its a savory dish that goes extremely well with steamed white rice, esspecially with a side of sambal belacan. I hope you like the recipe and get to try out one of the many great tastes of my childhood Braised Pork in Soy Sauce Recipe (Tau Yew Bak) Ingredients: 1 lb. pork belly (cut into small pieces) 4 cups water 1 pulp garlic (lightly pounded with the back of a cleaver) 1 tablespoon white pepper corn (smashed and cracked) 5 hard-boiled eggs 8 oz. fried tofu/bean curd 4 tablespoons soy sauce 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) 1-2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, or until it reaches your desired color Salt to taste Method: Heat up a pot or preferably a big clay pot with 4 cups of water. Bring it to boil and then add in the garlic, pork belly, and cracked pepper. Bring the pork belly to boil before adding the hard-boiled eggs, fried tofu, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Lower the heat to medium and braise the pork for 30 minutes or so until the pork belly is is cooked through and become tender. Add salt to taste. Continue to simmer on the lowest heat for another 15-20 minutes. Dish out and serve hot with steamed white

Clay Pot Yong Tau Foo (Yong Tow Foo)


March 29th, 2010Recipes, Chinese Recipes, Recipes, Malaysian Recipes, Recipes32 Comments

Clay Pot Yong Tow Foo (Yong Tau Foo) pictures (1 of 4)

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A few weeks ago, when I made my yam rice (taro rice), I also prepared some clay pot yong tau foo (yong tow foo). I am an avid fan of yong tau foo (yong tow foo)stuffed fish paste with okra, chili, egg plant, tofu, or tofu skin. I used my leftover tofu skin and okra for the stuffing. There is something about Chinese clay pot; I love cooking my food in a clay pot. Clay pot is also called sand pot (), it has a glazed interior and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The clay pot is a great cooking utensil in Chinese cooking because it retains heat and keep the foods warm, so they are especially great for soups and stews. The prepared food is then served with the clay pot, directly onto the dining table

In the United States, I always get frozen fish paste from Asian stores. You can also get freshly made fish paste in the seafood department of these Asian stores. All you have to do is get the vegetables of your choice, season the fish paste with a little sesame oil and white pepper powder (to rid the potential fishy smell in the fish paste), and stuff the filling inside the vegetables. For tofu skin, cut the tofu skin into squares, wrap up the fish paste and deepfry it. I especially love the texture of deep-fried yong tow foo, they are just so great, just like my favorite Ampang Yong Tau Foo at Foong Foong Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Yummy Clay Pot Yong Tau Foo Ingredients: 1 frozen fish paste or fish meat emulsion 6 okras (ladies fingers) 6 pieces dry tofu skins (6 in. x 6 in. squares) Oil for deep frying Fish Paste Seasonings: 3 heavy dashes of white pepper powder 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil Broth: 1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz) 1/2 cup water Salt to taste 1 stalk scallion (cut into small rounds) Dipping Sauce: 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 1/2 teaspoon Siracha sauce (or other chili sauce) Method:

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Blend the fish paste well with the seasonings. Mix the dipping sauce together and set aside. Make a slit in the center of each okra, and using a bread knife, slowly stuff the fish paste into the okra. Set aside. Lay the dried tofu skin on a flat surface, and transfer about 2 2 1/2 tablespoons of the fish paste on the bottom center of the tofu skin. Spread the fish paste out evenly and leave about 1/2 inch of space on the edges. Fold the sides inwards, and then roll it up into a cylinder shape. Seal tightly with some fish paste. Heat up some cooking oil in a pot or a wok and deep fry the tofu skin yong tow foo until golden brown. Let cool and cut them into halves, at an angle. Heat up the chicken broth and water in the clay pot, bring it to boil. Add the okras into the broth and cook for about 1 minute or until they are cooked. Transfer the tofu skin yong tow food into the broth, cover it up and boil for another 1 minute. Add salt to taste and garnish with the chopped scallions. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce

Chinese Pork Ribs Recipe ()


January 18th, 2008Recipes, Chinese Recipes, Recipes23 Comments

Chinese Pork Ribs pictures (1 of 7) To me, cooking is an act of discoverythe discovery of combining and pairing ingredients for a remarkably delicious meal. Sometimes, the discovery comes in a disguise and happens by chance, just like this scrumptious dish of Chinese braised pork ribs with daikon and dried oysters (). I developed this pork ribs recipe myself, not intentionally, but rather spontaneously. Sometimes, great things do happen with leftover ingredients in my fridge, in this case, daikon/turnip, pork ribs, dried oysters (previously I used them in my chicken congee/porridge), and dried wolfberries/goji berries. This is a traditional Chinese recipe. Using low heat to slowly braise and cook the ingredientspreferably with a claypotthis cooking technique retains the natural flavor of the pork ribs while bringing out the sweetness of daikon and the briny taste of dried oysters. And the wolfberries completed the balance and taste of this dish with a tint of fruity sweetness

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While this Chinese pork ribs recipe is probably not fine-dining or restaurant-worthy, it tastes so pleasing and homey that I strongly urge you to try it out. (My Chinese pork ribs pictures really dont do justice to my recipe. I mean, how can you make pork ribs+daikon+dried oysters+wolfberries any more photogenic?) (Chinese recipes, prepare authentic Chinese food now!) Recipe: Chinese Pork Ribs with Daikon and Dried Oysters () Ingredients: 1/2 pound pork ribs 1 daikon/turnip (medium-sized) 6-8 dried oysters (rinsed and soaked in water for 15 minutes) 1 tablespoon wolfberries/goji berries 1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 cup water Salt to taste Sugar to taste 1/2 tablespoon oil 6 cloves shallots (peeled) Method: Heat up a wok or claypot (preferred) and add in the oil. Saut the shallots until slightly aromatic, then add in the dried oysters and daikon. Do a few quick stirs, follow by the pork ribs, rice wine, soy sauce, and water. Lower the heat to between medium and low, and then cover it up with a lid. Braise for about 20-30 minutes or until the water reduces and thickens. Add salt and sugar to taste and serve hot immediately. Cooks Notes: 1. If you dont like pork ribs, you can use chicken drumsticks. Just cut the chicken drumsticks into pieces, with bones in. 2. You can use Japanese sake if you dont have Chinese rice wine

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