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Sand Pots - 砂锅 or 沙锅


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砂锅 or 沙锅  (both shā guō) literally means 'sand pot' and is an earthernware dish used in Chinese cuisine both as a cooking utensil and serving dish. It is used for soups, casseroles etc. but mostly for one pot meals of rice with a topping of various meats, tofu or, less often, vegetarian dishes. They are also used in the preparation of herbal medicines.


They are made of a type of white clay which is impregnable to acids, alkalines or salt. Most come from two places - Foshan in Guangzhou Province and Yixing in Jiangsu Province. They are then sold all over China, including Hong Kong and Macao, as well as in south-east Asia.


Being made from baked clay, they can be fragile so require careful handling. They should never be put on a heat sourcewhen empty. Some liquis (water, stock or oil) is necessary. Otherwise, they are liable to crack.

 

New pots should be soaked for at least four hours then heated a few times to boil water before proper use. This 'tempers' the clay.


They can take high temperatures, but the temperature should begin low and build up slowly. When removing from the heat source, be careful to place it on a suitable mat or wooden board. Placing on a wet or cold surface can also lead to cracking.


Basically,  they come in two types. The most simple is this.

 

claypot.jpg

 

Used in takeaway and home delivery outlets, the pot usually comes free. (They cost the restaurant about 1 yuan (USD $0.15).

 

More 'upmarket' and decorative pots are sold for home use and for serving.

 

769065244_20210221_1723111.thumb.jpg.2e97b4892752960acb00f44aa379fcee.jpg

 

They can, as you see, become discoloured with cooking use (as opposed to presentation use).

 

Finally, this monster is used for brewing herbal medicines.

 

34262009_20210221_1747181.thumb.jpg.3ee4ffa247247fd5bc2c76cd88cd5f7f.jpg

 

Would be interested to see any dishes made using these.

 

This old post lists several of the dishes I can order for delivery.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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Awesome...I have (had) a few sand pots (over the years); some came with delivery, as mentioned above (NOT IN CHINA, IN NYC). Some I purchased - maybe even a fancier one at one time.

 

This one is real basic, like the first one shown up above; often here, they are enclosed with some wire.

 

799862340_2012_02Claypotatstart.jpg.4dad8b270cad02ae30a3041237b0be1e.jpg

 

A different one (I wonder what the hell happens to these?):

 

1634981835_2009_07_07SandyPot.thumb.jpg.07131ed89cb9054f11be87053730f849.jpg

 

This one is a bit nicer - bought in 2012:

 

1818391516_2012_02SandyPot.jpg.96e42f057f335bd8d5178e8a1d82937e.jpg

 

But still with the wire. And I just realized, this is the one from my first picture! 

 

1823282686_sandypotriceandshrimpwchinesecabbage.thumb.jpg.01d3f613c2263c39fd1881be60b36f09.jpg

 

Looks like sand pot rice with sausage and mushrooms, and stir-fried shrimp and cabbage. Dated Feb. 3, 2009!! Wow.

 

In China, are they ever called Clay Pots? Because that seems to be the preferred term here...

 

Clay Pot Pork.pdf

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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14 hours ago, weinoo said:

In China, are they ever called Clay Pots?

 

The two Chinese names I gave literally translate as "Sand Pots". I have heard of them being referred to as 'clay pots', but not in China.

 

That said, they are made from a type of clay.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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On 2/21/2021 at 4:03 AM, liuzhou said:

Would be interested to see any dishes made using these.

Thank you, I have always wondered what those were used for. The restaurant supply in Chinatown that I go to has quite a few of these in all sizes. They also have every other one that you have shown. Do the ceramic ones need to be tempered in the same way that the clay pots do?

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

 

Some do; some don't. So, I do all!

 

Yes - same as cazuelas, same as donabes, etc. etc.

 

How big is that herbal "brewer" approximately? I like the spout (if it's a spout).

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

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Every day I get a text message featuring a couple of free recipes (in Chinese, of course). I've never made any, but often been tempted. Today, unusually, the message contains 50 recipes - "50 Specialty Signature Dishes". Quite a number are sandpot dishes. Here's just a few.  I'm still making my way through them.

 

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Braised Donkey

 

mmexportf3c9649c9cdab90b178bd28dca375a5a.thumb.jpeg.58d227b149299c1a77e96123cf83af4d.jpeg

Chicken and Beef Soup

 

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The name of this translates as '3 Auspicious Treasures'. These are beef tendons, chicken leg and lambs testicles.

mmexportdd6d1c5fe9d11f66a16d4d23887d52a3.thumb.jpeg.eee8b9a2b9145db807763205d7036ec5.jpeg

Braised Bull's Whip (a euphemism for penis)

 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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