How to Care for Your Donabe

Many a cold winter’s night has been survived in Japan with a nice hot pot of something good cooked in a donabe.  I’ll add some recipes later but the most important thing about a donabe is to learn to care for it.

The donabe is a clay pot.  It can be used right on an open flame but you have to make sure the exterior of the pot is completely dry before it gets heated.  Otherwise, the material may expand and crack the pot.  Yikes.

The interior is usually coated so one can put liquids in there but please make sure that you do not start cooking anything on here with a very high flame.  This pot is not for flash cooking!  It’s for slow cooking stews and soups.

And please make sure there is some liquid in there when you have it on the flame.  You don’t want to heat it up empty.

When you first get a donabe, some places will tell you to boil water in it for a long time and let it dry completely before using it for the first time.  I’ve seen other places where they tell you to actually cook some leftover rice in it with water, making a porridge.  After an hour, let it cool, throw out the rice and rinse the donabe out.  Dry with cloth and let it air dry completely before using it the first time.   Other manufacturers suggest simply let some water sit in it overnight before using it.  And if you haven’t used it in a while, it may be a good idea to retreat this way.

But the reward for all this care in handling your donabe?  Good home cooked comfort food!

All our donabe can be used on an open flame with some liquid in the pot.  Please note only the base is oven proof.


Hiragana Sake SetOne of our favorite sake sets is the “Hiragana” set.  The lettering on the set reminds us of the Iroha poem written back possibly when they only needed 3 digits to refer to the year.  This poem is especially unique because it uses each of the letters of the Japanese alphabet exactly once.  That’s called a panagram folks!  A panagram in English would be, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” which, with the exception of using the word “the” twice, uses each of the 26 letters of the alphabet just once.   Yes, that’s right, I remember something from school!  Go NYC Public Education!  The things I don’t remember are filled in by Wikipedia.

Anyway, the Iroha poem, because it is a panagram, was also used as an ordering system of the Japanese alphabet.   One can still find this ordering system in theaters where the seats are “numbered” in this way and musical notes are referred to as, I-Ro-Ha-Ni-Ho-He-To as opposed to A, B, C, D, E, F, G in English.  (straight from Wikipedia.)

So, I hope we all learned something today.  The least of which is that not only are our products beautiful to look at and practical to use, they also often have cultural value (that can be confirmed on Wikipedia….)