I just recently bought a new Donabe pot. They are one of Japanese oldest cooking vessel’s. An earthenware pot glazed on the outside, and looks a bit like a casserole dish you would put in the oven. However the Japanese cook with them on a stove top. They are used for making many popular one pot dishes, or nabemono as they are known. Many regions in Japan have their own speciality nabe dish featuring their own regional ingredients from tofu to noodles and various meat and fish dishes. Hokkaido being known for its fish nabe, Akita prefecture for a rice dish called kiritanpo, Kyoto for yudofu,tofu simmered in a kombu dashi. You can find some recipes using Donabe on my recipe pages, like Tonyu & Miso nabe, Fermented cabbage nabe, Domako ( rice ball hot pot), and my winter favourite Oden.
Oden is a popular winter comforting meal which you will often see in convenience stores in Japan like Family Mart or 7-Eleven, simmering away, people choose what they want and make up their own meal to take home. As a Japanese home cooked meal it’s various items that you simmer in a soy sauce dashi broth from an assortment of vegetables, tofu, konnyaku and non vegan items like fish cakes,hard boiled eggs. I definitely recommend trying to make this in the winter months and is even more delicious the next day.
The earthenware clay from Iga is porous, because of this when you first buy a new pot you must season it first, this process is called Medome. There are a few ways you can do this but the simplest way I’ve found is to simmer with rice water.
The first water that you wash your rice with is the one you use. Just wash your rice as you normally would, but do not throw away the water, just tip it 3/4 full into your pot and heat on a low heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. Let the water then cool to cold and then tip out the water. Rinse with clean water and air dry.
You are now ready to start cooking delicious one pot meals.
How to care for you new Donabe pot.
1: Make sure the bottom of your pot is dry before you start cooking. 2: Do not high heat when you first start to cook, gradually turn up the heat through the cooking process.
3: Do not heat when empty.
4: Do not wash or scrub your pot with soap only warm water and air dry if you need to get off anything stuck soak the pot.
5: If you see a small crack,season your pot again.
I’m really looking forward to cooking with my new pot and the day after I seasoned it I made a delicious nabe served with rice, and as the weather had turned colder it was greatly received.