Section 7: Easy cooking techniques you can do with MEC

Simple instructions for oil sauteing, stir frying, braising, steaming, boiling…

Below are options ranging from dry (sauteing) to very liquid (boiling). The less water you use, the faster the cooking time will be.

Dry and oil sauteing: onion, nuts & spices

Brings out flavors and increases digestibility. Sauteing in clay is faster than metal cookware.

Roasted pumpkin seeds. I sprinkled water in the pot, added seeds and covered.


  1. Turn heat to low.
  2. Sprinkle water in the pot or add a small amount of oil.
  3. Place ingredients in the pot – a single layer is best.
  4. Saute with the lid on – larger pots take longer.
    • Onions/garlic: 5 – 10 minutes.
    • Nuts/seeds: 5-10 minutes.
    • Spices: a few minutes.
  5. Stir once if necessary.
  6. When fragrant, they’re done.


  • Many dishes start with a water or oil saute of onions, garlic and spices. Ingredients can be added all at once, or you can add them as they are ready to put in the pot.
  • With seeds, you’ll notice a nice brown coloring. You can remove seeds, and continue cooking in the pot.
  • With seeds such as pumpkin or squash, you’ll hear a popping sound.

Stir frying: small pieces of meat, cut vegetables

  • Often a stir fry dish starts off with oil sauteing – see above. Then cut ingredients such as meat and vegetables are added.
  • A small amount of liquid or oil needs to be present at all times. Some vegetables produce liquid, and that’s great. Other vegetables, such as starchy one, tend to take up liquid. In that case, be sure to add a little extra liquid.
  • Temperature changes need to be gradual. When cooking with more liquid, such as braising, the pot is more forgiving to sudden temperature changes.


Heat settings

The settings are for a gas stove, electric stoves will probably need to be set 1 number higher. If I try to rush my cooking on higher numbers, I might get a small crack – this is especially true when there is not a lot of liquid in the pot such as sauteing, stir frying and roasting. In some of the MEC recipes below, you really do need to take the pot up to #4 (gas) or #5 (electric) to get the nice sear – but this is only for a few minutes and then the heat setting can be lowered.

In general, the order you add items is much more forgiving in clay pots than metal pots

I tend to add items in the order I chop them. I’ll chop my onions and garlic first, then other root vegetables, then above ground vegetables, then tomatoes, then leafy greens, then delicate herbs.

Generic steps

  1. Select a pot size so that when all the ingredients are added, it is only 1/2 full — you want room to stir.
  2. Add 1-2 tsp oil. If the pot is very dry, also add 1 tablespoon of water.
  3. Set the stove to low (2).
  4. Add onions and/or spices (such as cumin, ginger, garlic, green chili).
  5. Cover pot and let it cook until lots of steam and/or a fragrant smell are produced — onions takes 5-10 minutes. The abundance of steam helps to protect the pot from cracks.
  6. Stir and add remaining ingredients – potatoes, veggies, meat, spices. Stir again. You can turn the heat up to medium-low (3-4). On my stove, 3 works well.
  7. Stir again 1/2 though cooking time.
  8. Continue until thoroughly cooked.
  9. Turn heat off.
  10. You may add 1-2 tsp of oil in the end for more flavor. Stir, cover, and let the food settle and “come together” for 5-10 minutes.


Eggplant w/ Potatoes and Peas stir-fry – One of the best eggplant recipes!

Delicious Cilantro Chicken Stir-Fry in Clay!

7 Sautéing & Stir Frying Recipes to Try With MEC

  1. Italian Green Beans
  2. Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry
  3. Garlic Vegetable Saute
  4. Stir-fried Carrots and Corn
  5. Easy Saute Fish Fillet
  6. Sauteed Apples
  7. Garden Chicken Stir-fry

5 Healthy & Delicious Sautéing & Stir Frying Recipes

  1. Sautéed Broccoli and Garlic
  2. Spicy Scrambled Eggs with sliced Mushrooms & cilantro leaves
  3. Chicken, Spinach & Bell-pepper Stir-fry
  4. Sautéed Mushrooms Recipe
  5. Mushroom and Carrot Saute

5 Best Sautéing & Stir Frying Recipes — Healthy, Non-Toxic & Delicious Cooking In MEC

  1. Banana, Cumin and Ginger stir fry – A Simple Healthy Side Dish
  2. Potatoes and Green Peas Stir-Fry – Make This Popular Dish Even Healthier with Pure Clay
  3. Bell Peppers and Paneer in Tomatoes Stir-Fry
  4. Potatoes with Broccoli Stir-Fry
  5. Sautéd Cabbage with Mustard

Roasting: potatoes, beans, carrots, meat

Can be done stove top or oven. Stove top is easier, faster and uses less energy. Oven can be preferable for meats – as it seems to make them more flavorful.


potatoes and lentils

Add oil, cumin, & mustard seed. Then onion, curry leaf & 1 teaspoon lentils. Then potatoes & 2 tablespoons of water. Cook for ~30 minutes.


  1. Add oil & cumin – start on low
  2. Add onion, tomato & oregano
  3. Add potatoes, carrots & celery – turn up to medium
  4. Add chicken & cook for about 40 minutes
  5. Turn heat to low for 10 minutes – remove lid for browning
  6. Let rest

Steaming: vegetables, poached fish, eggs

The steam locking lids hold the steam in the pot – until the vegetables are fully cooked. Vegetables will look fresh and hold their color when cooked. In metal pots, steam escapes before the vegetables are fully cooked – thus nutrients, color and taste are lost.

Choose any vegetables of your choice, chop them all to a similar size. Add very little water — about ¼ inch of water for half pot of vegetables and ½ inch for ¾ pot of veggies. Add the vegetables, close the lid and let it steam. Don’t need to wait for the water to come to a boil to add the vegetables.

Cook on medium-low.

Carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, string beans etc. cook in about the same time (20-25 minutes to steam in a seasoned pot on gas stove, 30-35 on electric). Peas, bell peppers, cabbage, broccoli etc., will be done in about 10 minutes less.

It’s far-infrared heat cooking so the vegetables might look fresh & uncooked even when they’re fully done – they don’t loose their shape or color. So to make sure they are done, smash one or two different vegetables with a wooden spoon against the wall of the pot or with a fork cutting into the vegetable.

OPTIONAL: When the vegetables are almost done, season with your choice of seasoning (we’ve used turmeric, paprika powder and salt in the picture). Turn the stove off!

Your delicious steamed vegetables are ready.

Use left over water, if any for other soups/stews.


Braising and stewing: meats, vegetables

Perfect for meat and fish. About 1-2 cups of water are ultimately added to the pot, and the dish is usually served over rice, grains or noodles.


5 Best Braising Recipes — Healthy, Non-Toxic & Delicious Cooking In MEC

  1. Beef Pot Roast
  2. Braised Chicken Recipe
  3. Braised Fish
  4. Coconut Curry Braised Chicken
  5. Juicy Brussels Sprouts w/ Braised Turkey

Boiling: potatoes, corn, hard-boiled eggs, soups

Add water to fill 1/4 of the pot. Then fill the pot up to 3/4 full of ingredients. No need to have all ingredients submerged in water.

Hard boiled eggs

Hard boiled eggs cooked in 1/2" of water
Hard boiled eggs cooked in 1/2″ of water. Pot was covered.
A clay pot hard boiled egg
The eggs were easy to peel, moist and delicious.

Soups & broths

Add water until ingredients are covered

No deep frying

Too much oil & heat for the pot

Stacking cooking options

Do back to back cooking options in the same pot, and reduce your clean-up.


  • Brussels sprouts… seared/sautéed and then braised
  • Bone broth… bones are sautéed and then the pot is filled with water to simmer

If oil sauteing in the pot [the pot is hot] and then adding liquid, add liquid slowly – about the rate you would drink water.

I would love to hear from you.
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6 months ago

When you say to sprinkle water in the pot, about how much water is a sprinkle?

6 months ago

When boiling water, do you start heat on low and then increase to medium? is that it…will the water boil on medium heat?