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!
This form is called Fukkura—"fluffy"—because meat and fish get fluffy & tender! Unlike the other Donabe from Nagatani-en, the Fukurra-san does not need to be seasoned prior to use.
To create a charcoal-grilled-like effect on food without leaving your kitchen, just put the Fukkura-san on the gas range and cook meat, fish, and vegetables straight on the clay surface, as you would on a grill. You can also use the Fukkura-san in the oven, as a tabletop fridge, and simply, as a serving dish!
On a gas range: You can cook with or without the grate or lid. With the lid on, the effects of the far-infrared rays (FIR) and the porous clay cooks evenly to the core of the food, and seals all the good flavors inside. The meat and fish can become succulent just like they are grilled over charcoal. Even after turning off the heat, Fukkura-san retains the heat very well and the ingredients continue to cook with the carry-over heat for the next 5 - 10 minutes. The grate can be set into the skillet, and you can roast ingredients over stovetop. The skillet of Fukkura-san can also be heated when it’s empty (with or without the lid on), unlike other kinds of donabe.
As a tabletop fridge: To serve sashimi, cold noodle salads, fruit salads and more, soak the Fukkura-san in water for about 3 minutes, then add ice cubes on the pan and close the lid. This will act as a mini, tabletop fridge so you can serve up all your favorite cold dishes to your family and friends!
For serving: Flip the lid of the Fukkura-san over to use as a lovely serving bowl! Works great for both hot and cold dishes.
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.
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 lower heat level.