What ate those things called that look like bowls but you cook with them on a stove top?!
In Indian cooking they use a small bowl like thing with a handle to toast spices or sizzle garnishes. It is called a bhagar pan. Looks like this-
I use this in cooking
Are you taliing about a Chinese clay pot? I don't know what they're called in Chinese, but the same clay cooking bowl is used in Japan, where it's called a nabemono-ko, and is typically used for slow-cooking stews on the stove-top.
I really think it is a wok, despite the fact you say it isn't. Your description fits a wok perfectly.