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. 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.
The Mushi-Nabe is your steamer-style nabe—use it to steam whole fish or scallops in a sake and dashi broth, a huge plate of fresh vegetables, green tea cakes, chawan-mushi (savory egg custards!), and so much more.
Steam Cooking: Fill 70% of the bottom part of the donabe with water. Set the grate in place and cover with the lid. Bring to a boil, then carefully remove the lid, arrange ingredients on the grate, put the cover back on and steam until everything is cooked.
Pot Cooking: Remove the steam grate to use your pot for hot pots, shabu-shabu, soups, and stews.
Tableside Chilling: Use your Mushi Nabe to keep things cold: Soak all the parts in water, empty them and pat them dry. Don’t skip this step. Fill the base with ice, put the grate in place, and add more ice and the food you want to keep cold. We’re thinking maybe sashimi, fresh vegetables with dip, fruit salad? With the lid in place, the inside is insulated with cold air, staying cold because as the moisture evaporates, the spent energy cools the area down.
Serving: Flip the lid over to use it as a serving dish for vegetables.
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 Mushi Nabe 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
Season the Donabe
Season your Mushi Nabe 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.