For frontier cowboys or cowgirls enjoying the simpler ways of living it up
There are many high end ceramic, pot cookers and stainless steel stock pots for cooking your favorite comfort foods and stews. If you have them, by all means, cook using your best equipment!
But we sometimes forget that generations of Filipinos got by cooking heartwarming delights using the lowly, but superb clay pot. With today's knowledge of a variety of Asian, Chinese and even Mediterranean slow cook recipes, the clay pot offers better utility for anyone who loves to cook vegetable or meat stews and soups. Sauce heavy or soup-based dishes are the best because without water you might burn your food.
Off-Grid Standard Equipment
With an off-grid lifestyle, the clay pot offers the best cooking experience using something simple and traditional that works with any cooking fire you can manage. You save on electricity if you have limited power availability, and cooking is fast and easy. For fish and vegetables, it takes a mere 10 to 15 minutes to have your stews ready, because the clay pot retains heat to cook your meal evenly and lock in all flavors. Meat dishes take up to an hour to cook, but lo and behold taste that adobo or kare-kare and swear by your grand-mama that it tastes so much better than anything cooked on steel pot ware.
Even chili, beef-and-bean stews cook heavenly in an earthenware pot as in a cast iron pot. You'd be surprised that Indians and other cultures use a huge clay pot to bake their spicy curries and Biryani dishes to perfection. Serve meals pipng hot and bubbly too--from stove to table, the clay pot is as versatile a serving container than that stockpot or saucepan you have. For keeping leftovers you can keep the food in the clay pot without transferring containers and even keep it in the refrigerator--saving on washing dishes.
Where to Find
Getting a good clay pot is easy as most wet markets offer some sort of earthenware cooking for cheap.
Check the market in Quiapo under the bridge where they sell authentic Filipiniana everything. Clay pots are relatively inexpensive compared to stainless steel stockpots and cast iron cookware. Some Chinese and Asian (Japanese or Korean) specialty stores may also offer their country's version of earthenware cooking pots, glazed or unglazed, but these might come at higher prices for locals than Filipino earthenware cookery. If the brand new clay pot you buy is unglazed, make sure it is leak proof and clean it very well before drying.
Best for Yummy Stews and Soups
If using your clay pot for the first time use minimum heat for 5 minutes, then gradually increase the stove fire to medium-low for at least 15 minutes before turning the heat higher. Remember that earthenware cooking is done at lower temperatures than regular cooking because the clay holds heat better than steel or cast iron. Saves you both fuel and power.
If the pot has been used before, you can start at a medium-high temperature. Fill the clay pot with your curry or other stew ingredients. Leave some room at the top - 1 to 1/2 inch - for the ingredients to bubble. After letting the earthenware soak up enough heat, bring it to medium-high until your curry (or other recipe) begins to bubble. Then reduce heat to keep the dish simmering nicely. Cover with the clay pot lid to keep the flavors and aromatics locked in. While cooking, open the clay pot to stir the gunk every 15 to 30 minutes and check how far your dish is cooking. Most meat stews cook between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on meat type and thickness. Fish and vegetable stews and soups will cook in a matter of 5-10 minutes once the clay pot is bubbling.
Once done cooking, be really careful when moving your clay pot to the dinner table, you'll need a pot holder to sit your clay pot in if it's too hot to place on the table directly. Make sure you use oven mitts if the handles of the clay pot are still hot enough after cooking. The lid should be securely capped on the clay pot. Carefully lift clay pot from stove and place directly on your table. When serving, just lift the lid and dig in. Your first bite and sip of your stew or soup will
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. If you use too much heat on a cold clay pot it might crack the clay. Use minimum heat to start. Aside from cast iron cookware, earthenware cookery should be an essential part of any dude or dame living off the grid. Don't be an idiot, you're not a serf nor peasant living off caveman tools. You're a frontier cowboy or cowgirl enjoying the simpler ways of living it up. No kidding.