December 19, 2010


We got a new donabe from a nephew for a Christmas present! (I had been thinking of buying a new one for months.)

Donabe, 9 go (No. 9), for 4-5 people:

Perfect for our family of four.

This sheet of paper says to simmer "kome no togijiru" (white milky water you get when you wash uncooked rice before cooking it) in the donabe for about 10 min. before the first use.

I didn't want to use kome no togijiru, so I did some googling and found a better way: Put water, add 2-3 tbsp katakuriko (potato starch), bring to a boil, turn off the heat, put on the lid, and let it cool.
米のとぎ汁は使いたくなかったので、グーグルして、もっと良い方法を見つけました: 水を入れ、片栗粉を大さじ2、3杯入れ、沸騰させ、火を止め、蓋をして、冷まします。

When it has cooled down, discard the water, and wash the donabe gently. Don't use detergent. Dry completely before storage.

Another popular way is to put water, add one ochawan (rice bowl) of gohan (cooked rice), and simmer for some time (2 hours, according to one site). But I think that the way described above is better because you don't have to discard your rice.


Rose said...

Wow! Thank you for instructions on how to care for a nabe pot!

Your nabe pot is really nice too! I love the bunnies. What a nice nephew you have!

Hiroyuki said...

Rose: There are some other notes on how to use a donabe properly, which I will address in a future post.

Thanks for the kind words about my nephew. He really is a nice guy!

Jan said...

Lovely pot! I love anything with rabbits on them because I was born in the year of the rabbit :)

Why mustn't the pot be washed with detergent?

Hiroyuki said...

Jan: There seem to be a lot of rabbit lovers out there! I'm sorry that my wife isn't one of them.

A donabe is quite porous, and can easily absorb liquid. It's OK to wash it with diluted dish soap only temporarily if it gets oily or smelly, but in that case, rinse with water immediately.

Note that the step described in the post is meant to fill the tiny pores of the donabe.

Indirect Heat said...

What is the advantage of cooking with a donabe over any heavy iron pot?

Hiroyuki said...

Bbq Dude: A donabe is ideal for simmering because of its low heat conductivity, meaning that it can retain heat.

In Japan, shabu shabu is usually made in a copper pot, sukiyaki in an iron pan/pot, and nabemono (nabe) in a donabe, because of the characteristics of their respective materials.

I don't know why, but a stone pot is much less popular in Japan than in China and Korea.

Kiki said...

This little rabbit on the nabe pot lit is "kawaii" by all means (my ears are still ringing from listening to japanese girls in the shopping mall). So your honorable wife has a reason to leave nabe making completely up to you because she dislikes the pattern ;-)I love these happy, childish and kawaii japanese designs a lot.
Your nabe looks delicious. Your wife is a lucky woman.
Chinese serve hot pot (latest foody trend in Beijing is so called dry hot pot - hot as in spicy from hell, without broth, so beware only for chilli heat resistent western tongues) in the same pots (form and function) but sad to say, I didn't detect any rabbit patterns, not even one little cherry blossom: just simple brown ceramic pots, they cost only a few renminbi.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: So, are you back from China?

It's not that my wife hates rabbits in general but that she simply said she didn't like (any) rabbits on a donabe.

My wife will gladly leave cooking to me whenever I say I want to make xxx for a supper.

Did you notice that my donabe was made in China (laugh)?

Kiki said...

Hiroyuki: Yes, back from china. Had a great time, eat out three times a day, starting with hot noodle soup and dim sum in the morning, ended in the best beijing duck restaurants in the evenings.
So your nabe pot was made in china? No wonder, these days nearly everything is produced by chinese people. They even produce Schwarzwälder cookoo watches too. I had a hard time to find some original "german" gifts for my chinese friends. Ended up with cookies, ginger bread, chocolates - it is forbidden to import food but I did it.. and artisan glas candle lights.