Pots: A Guide to the Different Types of Cookware in Asian Cuisine

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Types of cooking pots in Asia vary greatly from country to country, but there are some commonalities.

The most common cooking pot in Asia is the wok, which is used for stir-frying and deep-frying. The wok is a versatile pan used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisines. Other common pots include the rice pot, used for making rice and soups, and the clay pot, used for stews.

Let’s look at the different types of cooking pots in Asia and their uses.

Asian pots

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Chinese Cooking Pots: A Vital Tool for Preparing Good Dishes

In Chinese cuisine, the type and shape of the cooking pot used is just as important as the ingredients themselves. The right pot means the difference between a good dish and a great one. Here are some of the most common types of cooking pots used in Chinese kitchens:

  • Wok: The wok reigns supreme in Chinese cooking. Its shape allows for rapid evaporation, making it perfect for stir-frying and sautéing. It’s also great for deep-frying and steaming.
  • Stock Pot: This pot is vital for preparing soups and stews. Its open shape allows for rapid evaporation, which is important for creating a flavorful broth.
  • Braising Pot: This pot is ideal for preparing braised dishes. Its shape allows for even heat distribution and slow cooking, which is perfect for tenderizing meats and creating rich, flavorful sauces.

The Role of Cooking Pots in Chinese Culture

Cooking pots play an important role in Chinese culture, especially in rural families where cooking is done over an open fire. Here are some interesting facts about cooking pots in Chinese culture:

  • In colder regions of China, a pot with a lid is necessary to keep food warm.
  • The type of pot used can indicate the social status of the family. Wealthier families may use more expensive, high-quality pots.
  • Some pots are considered unsuitable for certain dishes. For example, a wok is not ideal for making soup because its shape doesn’t allow for enough liquid to be added.

The Art of Cooking with Japanese Pots

When it comes to cooking, Japanese cuisine is known for its quality and attention to detail. The same can be said for the pots and pans used in Japanese cooking. Japanese pots are designed to be perfect for making special dishes and products, and chefs in Japan take great care in selecting the right pot for the job. Here are some examples of the kinds of pots you might find in a Japanese kitchen:

  • Nabe: A large, deep pot used for making stews and hot pots. It can be made of ceramic, cast iron, or even designed for use over an open flame.
  • Frying pan: Used for frying foods like tempura, agemono, and gyoza. The pan is designed to retain heat and is often rectangular in shape.
  • Tamagoyaki pan: A rectangular pan used for making omelettes and tamagoyaki.
  • Suribachi: A mortar and pestle used for pounding ingredients like sesame seeds and spices.
  • Kettle: Used for boiling water and making tea.
  • Usu: A large, flat stone used for grinding ingredients like sesame seeds and soybeans.

The Special Features of Japanese Pots

Japanese pots are designed with special features that make them ideal for cooking certain dishes. Here are some of the most common features you’ll find:

  • Lid: Many Japanese pots come with a lid to help retain heat and moisture.
  • Abura drainer tray: Used for draining excess oils from fried foods like tempura.
  • Barrel shape: Some pots are designed in a barrel shape to distribute heat evenly.
  • Steamers: Used for steaming foods like vegetables and dumplings.

The Best Pots for Authentic Japanese Cuisine

If you’re looking to recreate authentic Japanese dishes at home, investing in the right pots and pans is essential. Here are some of the best pots for Japanese cuisine:

  • Nabe: Perfect for making hot pots and stews.
  • Frying pan: Ideal for frying foods like tempura and gyoza.
  • Tamagoyaki pan: Essential for making omelettes and tamagoyaki.
  • Suribachi: Used for pounding ingredients like sesame seeds and spices.
  • Usu: Great for grinding ingredients like sesame seeds and soybeans.

Exploring the Cleverly Designed Korean Pots

Korean cuisine is known for its diverse range of dishes, and the pots used in Korean cooking are no exception. There are several types of pots used in Korean cuisine, each with its unique shape and purpose. Some of the most commonly used Korean pots include:

  • Olla de Barro: This is a traditional clay pot that is used for cooking stews and soups. It has a deep cavity that helps to distribute heat evenly and retain it for a long time.
  • Gordoterracotta Pot: This handmade terracotta pot is used for cooking rice and other grains. It is designed to absorb excess moisture and prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Ddukbaegi: This is a small earthenware pot that is used for cooking individual portions of stews and soups. It is perfect for serving hot and hearty meals.

The Shared Characteristics of Korean Pots

Despite their different shapes and sizes, Korean pots share some common characteristics that make them ideal for cooking Korean cuisine. Some of these characteristics include:

  • Constant Heat: Korean pots are designed to distribute heat evenly and retain it for a long time. This helps to cook food thoroughly and keep it warm for a longer period.
  • Clever Design: Korean pots are cleverly designed to make cooking easier and more efficient. For example, the deep cavity in the Olla de Barro helps to distribute heat evenly, while the Gordoterracotta Pot is designed to absorb excess moisture and prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Durability: Korean pots are made from high-quality materials such as clay and terracotta, which makes them durable and long-lasting.

Conclusion

So there you have it- the different types of cooking pots used in Asian cuisine. It’s not as simple as it seems, but with the right pot, you can make a delicious meal! 

You can’t go wrong with a Chinese wok, but you might need a Korean olla de barro for stews and a Japanese tamagoyaki pan for omelettes.

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.