Cooking & Care – How to Cook in Pure Clay Pots?

Clay Pot Cooking is an easy & natural process, and once you are used to it it's so hard to go back to conventional cookware! Lara, a nutritionist in New York City, had this to say after using the pots for the 1st time: “I just finished cooking with your pot for the first time. It was fantastic. I am not someone who is good in the kitchen, but your directions are very clear, and the process felt very natural...”

MEC pots are made using the best skill + technology available today. They are sturdy, well built, strong cooking pots & pans made with you -- the cook in mind. With proper use & care, they can last a very long time!

Cooking with MEC Clay Cookware is Easier and Less "Stressful"

Cooking in pure-clay pots is just the same as cooking in other pot but easier and less stressful.  The only difference is, all cooking is done on medium heat.

It's easier because there are not as many steps involved, for example, to cook rice in a conventional pot (metal/ceramic) you need to first let the water come to a boil then add the rice. This is the same with pasta, quinoa or any other grains. If not, the harsh heat may cook the grains mushy and drain its nutrients.  With MEC, it's a one-step process: wash the grains, drain the water out, add the cooking water, and cook till done!

It's the same with different recipes and types of clay pot cooking.  More information on different types of cooking with pure clay pots can be found here. Also, take a look at some exclusive clay pot recipes.

There is no need to 'check', 'stir', 'mix' too often.  With most recipes, you can set it up one time and you're coming back to turn the stove off.  Once the time to cook your favorite types of food/recipes is established, you can conveniently let the pot do its job and come back to turn it off.  That's way less "babysitting"

Time-wise, once the pot is fully seasoned, most foods, grains, vegetables, meats, beans all take just about the same time.  A satisfying & nutritious bone broth can be done in 1.5 to hours (not 18 to 24 hours). The time factor also depends on the stove, with gas stoves cooking the fastest.

Not only is cooking easy, cleaning is also easier than conventional pots.  When used the right way, food does not stick to the pot (they're naturally non-stick). This minimizes waste and cleaning time (cleaning instructions below).

SEASONING YOUR POTS/PANS:

These instructions are also included with your order.

Before first use, thoroughly wet & rinse the pot and lid under running water, then drain water off.  Wipe the bottom with a cotton cloth. Then fill the pot quarter way up with water, place it on the stove and start on low heat for 5 minutes.  Add 1 TBSP of flour to the water (sprinkle the flour), stir, cover, and let it cook.  Increase heat to medium after 5 minutes. Make it 2 TBSP for Large and X-large pot.

The flour can be any one of your choice — wheat, rice or arrowroot flour… etc.  Although when done the pot will be completely washed off, and this mixture discarded, some gluten free options would be oatmeal, squash nut flour/paste or bean flour like chickpeas flour etc.,.

Cook this mixture on medium heat till it thickens to a broth (consistency of milk or orange juice or slightly thicker). And it is OK if it get much thicker.

Typically this process takes 25-40 minutes (time varying depending on the flour used). So check accordingly.

Turn stove off and wait for it to cool down, preferably wait overnight. The next morning, pour broth out, scrub & wash off any residue from the seasoning. Wipe the pot dry, apply a coating of cooking oil on the outside walls then start cooking.

No need to season if using for yogurt only.

COOKING WITH MEC

By following these few simple steps you can have a pot that lasts for a long time cooking very nutritious, delicious food for you:

1. On stove top --When cooking for the first few times, start on 'low' then increase to medium in 5-7 minutes.  Once seasoned and used a few times,  you can start on medium heat. Primary clay is an excellent retainer of heat so all food cook perfectly just on medium heat in just about the same time. Once the pot gets cooking, sometimes you will find that you have to reduce the temperature back to low. because all the heat is held inside. Sometimes, if need be you could increase heat slightly past medium, avoid high heat.

2. In the Oven -- Recommended max temperature is 450 Degrees Fahrenheit. Start in a cold oven or 250 D F and increase to the desired temperature after 5-10 minutes.

3. Fully Seasoned: After the first seasoning use it as often as possible (preferably every day) for a few times cooking 'wet' recipes.  Use it at least 4-5 times in this way before putting it away, if you have to. 'Wet' recipes include making rice, quinoa, vegetable soups, stews, lentils, pasta, steaming vegetables etc. This helps the pot to shrink slightly and become 'fully seasoned'.

5. Using a heat diffuser is recommended for all cook-tops, and is a must use if cooking on electric stoves, both glass/ceramic or coil cook-tops.

GOOD TO KNOW:

Cook-time: The more it’s used the faster it’ll cook your food, all on medium heat or less!

For Best Results:  Use separate pot for making yogurt, one for teas/coffee & other herbal decoctions, all other types of cooking can be done in the same pot. Using separate pots for vegetarian and Non-vegetarian cooking is optional.

Wooden spoons go well with our cookware.

Naturally Non-stick. Can cook using little to no Oil. Most of the steam/moisture & oils in the food remain in the pot so a lot of times little to no additional oil/liquids are required.  Also, by the time your pot is fully seasoned, it is also naturally non-stick.

Getting black on the Bottom. With use, the bottom of your pot will become black or gray.  This is WILL NOT affect the functioning. It happens as a result of a normal oxidation process as would happen with any 100% organic matter like wood, stone etc. (when heat is applied).

Avoid dry or oil saute till pot is ‘Fully Seasoned': Don’t dry sauté or in oil sauté spices or onions till fully seasoned. You can do this after the pots are fully seasoned. When sauteing onions or spices in oil, do so for just a few minutes (less time than metals), with lid on.  They get cooked much faster in clay.

Avoid sudden, extreme temperature changes: Example: If taking out of the fridge, let it come to room temperature before putting it on the stove for reheating and vice-versa.

Cooking a few non-meat/vegetarian recipes in the beginning, while the pot is getting 'fully seasoned' is recommended. Once fully seasoned you can cook both vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes in your pots and pans.

Stovetop & Oven-safe

For use on gas and electric cooktops, in the Oven, Solar Ovens, outdoor grills, wood-fired stoves etc. Can also be used on slow cookers/crock machines if they fit inside with 1/4 space on all sides and if manufacturer permits the use of other inserts.

Refrigerator Safe

Let the pot cool down to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator.

When Slow Cooking

Use your pot for slow cooking for several hours of cooking once it's used at least a few times (4-5 times) for cooking recipes that take less than an hour of cooking.  All slow cooker recipes can be done in a maximum of 2 to 3 hours (example: one recipe that takes the longest time - beef bone broth cooks in 2.5 hours in the X-large pot, 6 qt). No need to cook the food for 12 to 15 hours anymore!

Always use a diffuser when slow cooking with your pot. Click here for more detailed instruction for using MEC pots as a slow cooker.

Cleaning

Although dishwasher safe, hand washing recommended. They’re easy to clean because they are naturally non-stick. It’s best to avoid harmful, toxic soaps. To wash: get the pot wet on all sides, sprinkle baking soda, scrub and rinse off. Wipe it with a cotton towel/rag and put it away to dry.
Food very rarely sticks to the bottom.  If you've accidentally overcooked or burned food, pour some warm water in the pot, sprinkle baking soda and let it sit for 10 minutes, scrub -- food would come off the bottom easily -- rinse and dry.  For tough to clean spots, you can use a harder scrubber, there is no coating so no fear of scraping any harmful enamels or glazes.

Sit hot pots on pads, trivet or wooden board.

Storage

Store with the lid open and in a well-ventilated place.  Avoid storing in closed or damp areas.  Occasionally (once every 2 months), it's also a good idea to dry your pots on the stove top at the lowest setting for 5-10 minutes or until the rim is warm to touch.

And finally, we know that although clay pot cooking is the most time-tested, healthiest & safest way of cooking, 100% natural clay cookware might be a new concept to some, and we want to assure you that we are here to help with any questions you might have while getting to know and cooking in this amazingly healthy way! Email Us with any questions you might have and we’ll get back to you right away.

For more information on using  MEC cookware as a  Rice cooker, Slow cooker, Dutch Oven, Yogurt maker, Bread baker, please click on the respective links.

Happy Clay Pot Cooking. Wishing You Great Health & Taste!