Not exaggerating: these clay pots from Japan have changed our lives for the better. Made to be used directly on an open flame, in the oven, or even on a barbecue, this handmade clay cookware is a portal to a fresh, easy, and flavorful style of cooking that's made for gathering people around the table—and quite versatile!
The Fukkura-san is a tagine-style donabe used for stir-frying, steaming, roasting and stewing. Fukkura means “fluffy” because what it cooks gets tender and, yes, fluffy. Its skillet-like base is called a toban and makes for excellent pan-frying and sautes. Add the grate for roasting right on the cooktop.
Let’s talk about steam. The dome-shaped lid has no hole: steam circulates but doesn’t escape but instead condenses back into liquid, adding a bit more moisture to the ingredients as they cook. If you want even more steam, before you start cooking, fill the lid with water and let it sit for a few minutes before draining.
Don't have a gas stove? We recommend purchasing an Iwatani butane burner and using your Donabe right on your dining room table. It's more fun that way anyway.
While we’re on the subject of fukkura-san lids, they make lovely serving pieces when turned over and stood on their base. Not cooking fluffy meats and fish today? Are you more in a cold noodles mood? Use your fukkura-san as a tabletop refrigerator. It’s simple: fill the toban (base) with water and let it sit for a few minutes. Empty the water out and fill the toban with ice, then place your noodles or whatever else you are serving cold right on the ice or on a plate atop the ice.
All the Donabe we carry come from the Nagatani-En Pottery in the Iga region of Japan, an 8th generation workshop where the porous clay made up of ancient volcanic ash makes for beautiful pots that conduct heat slowly and evenly. Donabe from Iga is also known for its great durability. With a little care, your Kamado-san can last for generations, its character only deepening.
We should also mention: Your donabe will age beautifully over time. As you use your donabe over and over, it develops character and that’s something to be welcomed. You may notice very thin cracks appearing on the surface (glaze) of the donabe. It’s called “kannyu” in Japanese and the cracks run like veins. They are the naturally developed cracks on the glaze and won’t affect the function of the donabe.
Caring for Your Donabe:
1. Once you start using the donabe, the bottom part starts to change its color and black spots (like burned spots) could appear. It’s also the part of developing the character and the donabe is absolutely safe to use. However, if the bottom part seems to get too black too quickly, the heat you use might be too high. In this case, we suggest that you use the donabe over a lower heat level.
2. Unlike most other donabes, fukkura-sans don’t need to be seasoned before first use.
3. Always hand-wash your donabe. Forget the dishwasher here. Use mild soap and a sponge and be sure not to let the donabe sit in soapy water because it could take on the scent of the soap.
4. Let your donabe cool before plunging it into water to prevent cracks.
5. Dry your donabe components well, and let them sit upside down overnight before you put them away. Where to store? Somewhere dry is best. High humidity can bring on mold.
6. Don’t use your donabe for food storage. After many hours, the clay may absorb the smell of the food.