Although clay cookware has only just started to spread its wings in North America and especially the US, becoming more and more popular with every passing day, pure clay pots have been used in other cultures for centuries. What’s even more interesting is that in every cuisine around the world, the same, very basic, clay pot cooking is done so differently.
Clay Cookware In Asian Cuisine
It’s no surprise that China is one of the countries to have used pure clay pots for hundreds of years. It’s used mainly for chicken dishes that are labelled as “hotpot”, which are different from “hot pot” dishes that you see on the menus, the latter being cooked at the table and served in metal bowls. The people of Sri Lanka also make great use of the clay pot, which is locally called pahi, and they use it predominantly for rice and fish curry. In Vietnam, the pots have different names depending on size and most often they’re used for stews.
Clay Cookware In African Cuisine
When you think about pure clay cookware and Africa, the mind takes you straight to Morocco, as the image of hard working potters on narrow, little streets is striking. However, this is definitely not the only country on the African continent to regularly use clay pots, as Ethiopia has been using this type of cookware since ancient times. The reason is that there are several recipes in the Ethiopian cuisine that have a very distinct and special taste, one that can not be replicated in metal cookware.
Pure Clay Pots in Europe
The European cuisine discovered clay cookware a little later than Africans and Asians, but put it to good use nevertheless. In Germany, it’s used mainly for cooking meat, especially pork roast, therefore it’s used in the oven. The same goes for Spain and plenty of the Eastern European countries use them for both oven dishes and stove top cooking. Even though the European continent stepped up to the plate a little later, its variety in cuisines made the use of clay pots and pans very diverse and some countries use these vessels not just for meat dishes, but also for vegetables, soups, yogurts and more.
Clay Pot Cooking In The US
Finally, as mentioned above, pure clay cookware is only just making a comeback. These vessels used to be very popular with Native American civilizations, but when the Europeans arrived metal cookware took over. However, as Americans are becoming more and more environmentally conscious and health conscious, earthenware is making a very strong comeback. If the trend persists, clay pot cooking will probably become the most common type of cooking done in American homes.