What is Donabe? What is its benefit? and what kind of delicious food can you make from this Japanese traditional crafts?. We would like to give you some detail information about Donabe in the 'Exploring Donabe' article series. This part will talk about the general of HowtoCookRicewithDonabe?
Donabe (earthenware pot) is a Japanese traditional craft.
In general, donabe is an earthenware pot made from clay with properties ideal for operating at high temperatures. Earthenware pot itself has been used since stone age.
In Japan, it’s famous with the Jomon-doki (Jomon pottery) which was made during the Jomon period in Japan.
Lately, people who cooks rice with donabe at home are increasing.
Various type of donabe are appearing, such as the standard donabe that used for hot pot dishes, donabe rice cooker which exclusively made to cook rice, and special-designed donabe which compatible with IH.
In this article, we will introduce how to cook rice with donabe, the various types of donabe and how-to maintenance the donabe after use.
A Secret of Delicious Rice Made with Donabe
Donabe contains components that radiate far infrared rays, so the ingredients boiled inside the pot can be cooked deliciously from the core.
It is said that lately donabe attracting a lot of attention to the point that the recipe books of the food that using donabe are sold with great number.
It also has a high level of heat insulation, so it can keep the warmness, which will keep the delicious taste of your food even after some time passes.
In addition, the dishes that served with donabe will looks delicious. The food cooked or served in donabe will appeal to the brain that it looks delicious. The image leaping over the scientific evidence, and as mentioned above, it makes us think that the dish cooked or served in donabe taste delicious.
In order to enjoy more delicious pot dish, choosing your favourite design is an important aspect for picking a donabe.
How to Use Donabe?
If someone says about donabe, the first thing that comes to your mind most likely will be a stewed dish such as nabe or kimchi nabe.
Of course, these are the cuisine that made using donabe, but you can also cook other dishes like rice, rice cookies, steamed dishes, and such.
In this article we would like to introduce you some various ways to use donabe, also with the cooking methods and recipe.
The type of donabe is divided according to the soil that is used to make it and the function (the way how you use it).
Because there is various type of donabe, there is also different way to take care of it depending on the type.
We will introduce the variety of the donabe by taking an example from the donabe that is available at Kawashima Japan Store.
Type of Donabe 1: Iga-yaki Donabe
Iga-yaki (Iga ware) is a style of Japanese traditional pottery produced in Iga City, Mie Prefecture.
It has a special pattern and texture of coarse soil, also with astringent colour. Even among the other donabe, the Iga-yaki donabe has an appearance of being more of natural pot. The donabe will look attractive if you put it in the table.
Iga-yaki donabe is slightly weak against water.
Compared to other pottery, there are also many things necessary to take care of.
But as we think it’s a special charm of Iga-yaki donabe, so it’s definitely worth your time and effort to take care of it.
Type of Donabe 2: Banko-yaki Donabe
With a lot of market share in Japan, Banko-yaki (Banko ware) is a type of Japanese pottery traditionally produced in from Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture. It is a famous pottery that is designated as traditional crafts of the country alongside the Iga-yaki.
Because it uses fine soil, the surface is sleek and simple, it also has many designs.
Also, it is characterized by strong and durable against fire because the mineral called petalite is kneaded to the soil. Even if you cook something strong with strong odour with the donabe, you don't have to worry about odour transfer, because the donabe will not get smelly.
Banko-yaki donabe is recommended for those who are concerned about the odour transfer problem, and for those who looking for a simple and beautiful donabe.
※Petalite is a natural mineral characterized by glossy finish like glass. Not only for donabe, it also can be used as rice bowl, tea cup or plate. Because it is a natural mineral, even if it is get heated, please do not worry about whether it will affect the human body.
Type of Donabe 3: Ceramic Donabe that’s compatible with IH (Induction Heating)
Compared to Iga-yaki donabe and Banko-yaki donabe, ceramic donabe has many vivid designs.
Because it uses fine soil, it has special feature that prevent odour transfer.
So, you don’t have to worry about odour transfer, even if you cook strong scented ingredients.
You can keep your donabe in a good shape with a method called medome. Medome is a method to let the Japanese pottery ware soak proteins from starch or flour to close the small holes and crackles.
Since there are almost no cracks or holes in the donabe, we don’t need to do the medome methods. It’s very attractive because it’s very easy to clean and maintain.
Lately, because the electric based cookware increased, there’s also many donabe that compatible with IH (Induction Heating).
Even though there’s ceramic donabe that isn’t compatible with the IH function, but there’s also another method, such as adding a porcelain panel as a medium.
With this, you can use it easily with latest kitchen technology.
Type of Donabe 4: Donabe Rice Cooker
Donabe rice cooker is a donabe that made exclusively for cooking rice. You can cook a plump and smooth textured rice.
Donabe rice cooker often comes in a double lid, it has a shape that makes it hard to spill during the processing.
Because it can be used for steamed dishes as well, it’s better for you to listen to the explanation well and read the instruction carefully before you buy the donabe rice cooker.
Also, donabe rice cooker is recommended for those who like okoge (burnt rice), because it is easy to have the okoge in donabe rice cooker, which you can’t found in the usual rice cooker.
There is a lot of donabe that made by traditional manufacturing method compared to the donabe rice cooker that is compatible with IH.
Is It Okay to Use IH Donabe with Direct Heat?
Basically, IH is a direct fire.
There’s a lot of donabe that is compatible with IH. We never really hear a problem about the donabe being incompatible with the IH after used with direct fire.
If you are worried, we recommend you to read the product instructions or contact the manufacturer.
Is it possible to make the non-compatible IH donabe to become the compatible one?
Basically, it is possible. Since IH responds to magnetic force which causes heat, IH plates for donabe based on the principle are on sale.
The plate surely reacts to the IH to generate the heat, but actually it reacts only to some point of the plate, so there’s a disadvantage that the heat source may be small, makes it hard even just to boil water.
That’s why we recommend you to purchase the donabe that is compatible with IH.
How to Cook White Rice with Donabe
In this section, we will show you the way to cook white rice with donabe. ※ We will explain about how to cook with donabe rice cooker later.
Let's try to cook white rice with donabe rice cooker!
Ingredients: ・White rice grains (540cc) ・Water (630cc) ※Please adjust according to your preference about the water level for the rice grains (use 1 cm above the rice as a guide).
STEP 1 Put the rice grains and water
Mix 540cc of rice grains with 630cc of water in the donabe. Please wash the rice grains in advance. Don’t wash the rice grains inside the donabe. Please adjust according to your preference about the water level for the rice grains (use 1 cm above the rice as a guide).
STEP 2 Close the inner lid and outer lid
Please close it in order of inner lid → outer lid. Set the hole of the inner lid in the direction of the handle and the hole of the outer lid to be vertical to the handle.
STEP 3 Set the high heat
Please apply high heat to the donabe. You can also use portable gas stove. Please note that you can’t use IH heaters, halogen stoves, etc.
STEP 4 Steam the rice
When you steam the rice, it should start puffing a couple of minutes before the rice is fully cooked. The steam liquid will rise to the edge of the donabe. When it happened, stop the fire immediately.
STEP 5 Steam the rice for 20 minutes
Steam the rice for 20 minutes after stopping the fire. The steam liquid will gradually evaporate to the donabe pot. Please refrain yourself from opening the lid.
STEP 6 Done
After 20 minutes has passed, lift the donabe pot from the stove and it’s done. Both inner lid and outer lid will be hot, so you have to be carefully remove it using potholder or oven gloves. Move the rice into your rice bowl and enjoy it!
How to Cook Brown Rice with Donabe Rice Cooker
Compared to white rice, brown rice contains more vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Not only contains more nutrients, brown rice also has the flavour that we can’t find in white rice.
Although the brown rice considered to be difficult to cook, with the donabe rice cooker that recommended by Kawashima The Japanstore, actually it can be cooked relatively easily.
Let's try cook brown rice with donabe rice cooker!
Ingredients: ・Genmai/Brown Rice Grains (180cc) ・Water (360cc) ※ Prepare the water with the scale of 1,5:1 or 2:1 to the brown rice grains
STEP 1 Wash the rice grains
Wash the 180cc brown rice grains two or three times. Don’t wash it inside the donabe rice cooker.
STEP 2 Put the water inside
If you’re done washing the brown rice grains, put the rice grains into the donabe and mix with 360cc of water.
STEP 3 Close the lid
Set the inner lid and outer lid. Set the hole of the inner lid in the direction of the handle and the hole of the outer lid to be vertical to the handle.
STEP 4 Set the fire to low heat
Without doing the water absorption process, cook it with low heat. Make sure to keep the low heat so it’s not get full boiled. Do this process for 35 minutes.
STEP 5 Set the fire to high heat
After 35 minutes has passed, set the fire to high heat. Cook it with high heat until you can see the puffing.
STEP 6 Set the fire to low heat
Set the fire back to low heat when you notice the puffing. Continue to cook it with low heat for about 35 minutes.
STEP 7 Done
After 35 minutes has passed, stop the fire. Without opening the lids, steam the brown rice for 15 minutes and then the brown rice will be ready to serve.
About the brown rice soaking process
Normally when brown rice is cooked with a pot or rice cooker, it is necessary to immerse the brown rice in water and submerge it for about 6 to 7 hours.
However, if you are using the donabe rice cooker manufactured by Yama no Kobomura, you can start the cooking process immediately without soaking the rice in the water.
This brown rice cook recipe is the recipe for using a rice cooker only, so if you use a pot or regular rice cooker, please don’t skip the soaking process.
How to Use Donabe for Beginner
Earthenware pot is a very user-friendly kitchenware, but you need a little trick to take care of it.
In this section, we will explain the ‘medome’ method to help you taking care of your donabe.
What is medome method?
Donabe often naturally got a small crack.
Before you start using the donabe, we will show you the medome method as a way to handle those small cracks.
It can prevent cracking and odour transfer, as well as helping you to keep your donabe for a long time.
Let’s check how to do the medome method!
What will you need: ・Water ・Wheat flour The amount of wheat flour is about 10% compared to water.
STEP 1 Mix the wheat flour and water
Dissolve the wheat flour in water. Mix it well until the wheat flour completely dissolved.
STEP 2 Pour the mixture into the donabe
Pour the mixture into the donabe. Leave it there for about 8 minutes and boil it. Please watch it carefully because there is a possibility that the mixture will be spilled out from the pot.
STEP 3 Heat the donabe
Warm up the donabe with low heat. Turn off the heat when the mixture got boiled up. Cool down the donabe.
STEP 4 Discards the mixture and dry
After the donabe is all cooled down, throw away the mixture and wash it. Rinse it with water and dry the donabe. The medome method is done. ※ If there’s remaining moisture, it’s best to dry the donabe under the sun to avoid mold.
Video about how to do medome method
There is also a video about how to do medome method. Kawashima the Japanstore website provides a video for you to learn about how to do the medome method properly.
Because it is an important process to take care of your donabe, please check it out!
How to Clean Donabe from Burnt
There might be case when your donabe got a burnt spot after using it for several times.
In that case, you can use a plastic spoon or baking soda to fix it.
How to clean a burnt donabe 1: Using baking soda
Put water in about half of the pot and add 2 to 3 teaspoon of baking soda. If you boil it for about 30 minutes, bubbles will come out and remove burnt.
Stop the fire and cool down the donabe, don’t forget wash away the bubbles.
How to clean a burnt donabe 2: Using plastic spoon
If the baking soda didn’t work, rubs the burnt spot with a plastic spoon.
If it’s still a light burnt, there’s a big chance that the baking soda will work. That’s why, if you spotted a light burnt, you should immediately clean it with baking soda
How to Keep Donabe
How to store the donabe when you are not in the donabe season/rarely use the donabe? You should take care of your donabe carefully if you don’t want it to get molded.
We will inform you how to store and keep your donabe for a long-term use.
First, clean your donabe thoroughly
Because the donabe is sensitive to sudden temperature changes, please cool down firmly after use.
If you cleaned the donabe from any liquid (soup, broth, etc) beforehand, it will be able to cool down more quickly.
【How to Clean ①】 Without detergent
Since the donabe can get easily scratched, you should not use metal scratches and better to wash it with a soft sponge. Rinse thoroughly if ingredients got stick to the donabe.
【How to Clean ②】 With detergent
Since the donabe has a nature of absorbing moisture, using detergent is not really recommended.
If you need to use detergent to clean things such as dirt sticking to the donabe, it will be no problem if you wash quickly in a short time.
However, don’t soak it in dishwashing detergent, as it may damage the donabe and detergent may penetrate to the donabe.
Video of how to clean the donabe
There is also a video about how to clean the donabe. Kawashima the Japanstore website provides a video for you to learn about how to clean the donabe properly.
Because you will need to clean your donabe several times, especially during the pot season, please check it out!
How to store the donabe
Unexpectedly, how to store donabe is not widely known.
If you perform an incorrect storage method, it might cause your donabe to get mold. We will show you the right way to store donabe for a long time.
After use, wash the pot with water and dry it under the sun in a well-ventilated place.
It will dry completely for 2-3 days. If you want to dry the donabe faster, warm it in a microwave for about 1 minute, then it will be okay if you only dry it for one day under the sun.
※Please also read the precaution carefully as the microwave oven is not really compatible with the donabe.
Wrap with newspaper
Wrap the donabe with newspaper when you want to store it.
If you put in a box or wrap it with a plastic wrap, it will accumulate the moisture and will cause molding. So, it’s best to wrap it with newspaper when you want to store your donabe.
The newspaper will absorb moisture from outside and prevents dust in the air from invading your donabe.
Let's keep it in a well-ventilated place such as a cupboard or a closet.
It is good to avoid the place such as below the sink area or such, because moisture tends to accumulate there.
Video of how to store the donabe
There is also a video about how to store the donabe.
Because you will need the important point about how to store your donabe for quite a long time, please check it out!
What should you do when mold grows in your donabe?
Because donabe can easily absorbs moisture, no matter how dry it is kept, the rainy season and so on could trigger it to absorb moisture in the air and may mold it.
Especially for the Iga-yaki donabe and Banko-yaki donabe that needs extra attention.
Even when you face the situation such "Ouch! My donabe got molded!" don't immediately throw away your donabe.
If you do the maintenance properly, you can use it without problems.
This time we will use tea leaves for mold sterilization.
What will you need: · Tea Leaves (Appropriate amount) · Water (about 80% of the donabe)
How to remove mold
Wash the donabe and try to remove the mold properly. Wipe the area that exposed to fire, remove the moisture.
Put the water and tea leaves together, turn on the fire
Insert tea leaves into water and put them on fire. Warm thoroughly with low heat and turn on medium heat when the whole pot warmed up.
Boil the water
When the water got boiled, set into low heat, and boil about 10 minutes.
Dry below the sun
Rinse the donabe thoroughly and dry it. It’s best to dry it below the sun on a sunny day.
Video about how to clean your donabe from mold
If the mold of the pot is getting inside the donabe rapidly as it is neglected for too long, it may be too late to fix it. If it’s already reached to such serious level of moldiness, we have a video about how to get rid of it.
Please check it out!
Delicious Recipe of Donabe Dishes
We will inform you handy and delicious recipe using the pot.
You know, it’s kind of awesome and fun to make rice, stewed dishes or any food with donabe.
We hope you can try to do it someday!
Seasoned Rice with Bamboo Shoots
This is classic recipe of seasoned rice with bamboo shoots using the donabe. It’s a recipe that will please your family, with a unique and delicious flavor you can taste in one piece of rice.
Ingredients for 2 portion
Cooking time 60 minutes
・Grain of rice: (360cc) ・Water (400ml) ・Bamboo Shoots Boiled Pack/Canned (150g) ・Ginger (2 cloves) ・Shiro-dashi/white dashi (4 tablespoon) ・Allium wakegi/Egyptian onions, Kinome Leaf (as much as you like)
How to make
1. Wash the rice thoroughly, rinse the water.
2. Slice the bamboo shoots and shred the ginger. (this time we use Bamboo Shoots Boiled Pack/Canned)
3. Put the rice grains, white dashi, and water into the donabe. Place bamboo shoots and ginger on top of it.
4. Cook the mixture of the ingredients with the donabe. ※ Please refer to ‘how to cook white rice with donabe rice cooker’ section for the guide.
5. If you like, put the wakegi and kinome leaf on top of it.
Donabe Samgyetang (Chicken Ginseng Soup)
It’s delicious and very nutritious food, with soft-textured chicken meat due to far infrared effect of the donabe.
Ingredients for 2 portions
Cooking time 60 minutes
・Chicken wings (3 pieces) ・Naga negi/long onion (1/2 piece) ・Mushroom (1/2 pack) Water (2 cups) Sake (1 tablespoon) White rice grains (2 tablespoons) Ginger (3cm long) Salt (just a bit) Chuka-dashi (1 tablespoon) ・Black pepper (just a bit) ・Kujo negi/Kujo onion (adequate amount)
How to make
Slice the long onion with 3 cm width, slice the mushrooms thinly.
Cut the chicken wings, separate from bones.
Put the【1】,【2】& into the donabe and cook it for 20 minutes.
Put black pepper and kujo onion.
Cut the chicken wings into small pieces, and then it’s done!
Donabe Taimeshi (Sea Bream Rice)
It’s a luxurious rice that cooked with sea bream. With the sea bream soup firmly soaked in the rice, even without a side dishes, you can eat it deliciously!
Ingredients 2 portions
Cooking time 60 minutes
・Kombu dashi/Kelp soup (600ml) ・Sea bream (1 whole, clean it and cut the tail) ・Japanese sake (as much as needed to soak the sea bream) ・Ginger (slice thinly, as much as you like) ・Rice grains (360cc) ・Tea pack (1 sheet)
Japanese sake (3 tablespoon)
Shoyu (1/2 tablespoon)
Salt (1/2 tablespoon)
How to make
Cut the sea bream, season it with salt, bake it thoroughly.
Cool down the pot and take the fish out. Pour the sake over the fish, add kombu dashi and boil over medium heat for 20 minutes.
Remove the fishbones, pour the kombu dashi over the rice. Filter the kombu dashi’s waste with tea bag and pour 200ml of it into rice.
Mix the ingredients together into rice. Put the head of the fish and cook it together. Set the fire into medium heat. Once it got boiled, change into low heat and cook it for 15 minutes.
After it’s done, steam for 5 minutes. Enjoy the luxurious steamed rice with sea bream!
Recommended Donabe Products
At Kawashima the Japanstore, we provide various kinds of donabe, from the donabe that specialized in cooking rice to donabe that specialized in pot dishes.
We also provide Ohitsu (Wooden Rice Container) to store the cooked rice. In this section, Kawashima the Japanstore will show you recommended products of donabe.
Donabe Rice Cooker Donabe Rice Cooker, Special Manufactured by Yama no Kobomura
This is Donabe Rice Cooker that is made in Yamato Town, Miyagi Prefecture which has rich natural environment.
Compared to regular rice cooker, it has a shape that helps to keep the temperature, which able to make your rice more delicious.
Size: White rice grains, 540cc Brown rice grains, 270cc