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.
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.
The Kamado-San Donabe is the true workhorse of the bunch. It will make the most perfect rice: toothsome, sticky, fluffy, shiny, bursting with natural sweetness, the best. Thank the double-thick clay walls that cook the grains evenly and the double-lid that works like a pressure cooker and keeps the contents from boiling over. Don’t stop at rice. Farro, quinoa, wheat berries and many other grains cook great in a kamado-san. And while you’re thanking the other components, also thank the inner lid for being removable. You now have a cooking vessel to make all the hot pots, shabu-shabu soups, stews and braised dishes.
The kamado-san’s versatility may account for its ubiquity in both home kitchens and restaurants in Japan, where you might see these donabe used for rice service at each table. No matter what you cook in your kamado-san, the vessel is a beautiful addition to the table, and like the other donabe styles, keeps food hot for a long time.
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.
Intimidated? Intrigued? Unsure how to care for a donabe? Keep reading below to learn proper care and tips on maintaining your donabe for a lifetime...
Caring For Your Donabe
Season the Donabe
Season your kamado-san before first use by making a simple rice porridge:
1. First, make sure the outer bottom of the donabe is dry. Fill the inside with water to about 70% capacity, add cooked rice, making sure at least ⅕ of the volume is rice. Stir well.
2. Cover with lid and cook over medium-low heat until mixture comes to a simmer, then carefully uncover (lid will be hot) and lower the heat.
3. Cook until the mixture becomes paste-like, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from burning. Turn off the heat and cool for an hour.
4. Remove the rice mixture, rinse the donabe and let it dry completely before next use.
No Dishwashers, Please.
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.
Let your donabe cool before plunging it into water to prevent cracks.
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.
Oh and one more thing, don’t use your donabe for food storage. After many hours, the clay may absorb the smell of the food.