Cooking with clay pots

Clay pot cooking is something we should all try in our lives at least once. Humans have been doing this for years and years and years! This practice is not just used in eastern countries as one would imagine, places like Germany, Spain and the USA are quite fond of cooking with clay too.

So, whats it all about then?

Clay cooking has it's advantages compared to conventional cooking, here are a few:

* The food inside the clay pot loses very little moisture as it's surrounded by steam

* No oil needed when cooking with clay which means dishes are generally lower in fat

* Nutrients are sealed inside the pot

* Clay utensils are non-reactive and don't leach into food


If your pot isn't burnished, the clay will require "seasoning". Seasoning is quite essential to cooking with clay, basically it helps bring the clay molecules together and prepares it for cooking.


Make a broth of flour (rice or wheat) and vegetable oil in the pot and bring to boil. That's it really. Once you have cooked some wet dishes (stews, soups etc) a couple of times, it's safe to say the pot has been fully seasoned.

Before cooking:

Soak your pot in water for around 20 - 30 minutes.

There are many ways of going about cooking in clay, so always do your research depending on what type of dish you are looking to serve up. For now, we're going to tell you how to make an amazing Morroccan Vegetable Tagine:

Serves 6 - 8 people

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 -2 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric
2 -2 1⁄2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh corriander, finely chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
4 small carrots, peeled & sliced
1 green pepper, seeded & sliced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 lemon, juice of
4 spring onions white part only, finely chopped (to garnish)

Heat the oil in a large clay pot over medium low heat. Add the onion & garlic and cook until soft. Stir in the spices & cook until fragrant.

Turn the heat onto low & gently pour in 2 cups of broth. Next add in add the tomato paste, herbs, & all vegetables except for the garnishments & stir. Cover with the lid & cook for 45 minutes.

Check the vegetables to make sure they are tender, if not cook for additional 15 minutes, adding another 1/2 cup of broth or water if needed. Once tender, stir in the lemon juice & top with the green onions.

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