The Japanese Donabe; Cuisine of Legends
The Japanese donabe is the stuff of legends. An earthenware pot — crafted by banko-ware craftsmanship and pride — with seemingly millions of options in creative nabemono cuisine. Made with a special clay, the donabe is usable on a hot open flame and is said to last decades.
It’s far more than cooked rice, soup, and veggies. There is an artform to fantastic donabe dishes. Here, Bon Apetit has put together a simple recipe with a big impact. If you’re looking for a Japanese food experience at home, give it a try.
One Japanese Donabe, One Million(ish) Options “At a basic level, a donabe is a pot that just happens to be pretty enough to double as a striking serving piece. High-quality versions have thick walls that effectively retain heat and are especially good for gently cooking the vegetable-heavy meals I want constantly this time of year.” (BonAppetit)
Bonus: when cleaning your donabe, be careful. Use a soft sponge, baking soda, and a clean cloth to avoid ruining the natural non-stick finish. Proper care will help the pot last a long time.
Just One Cookbook also points out it is very important to season your donabe when you first get it. Since the clay material is porous. The traditional method of seasoning your donabe involves rice water — the cold water left after washing rice. Interesting cultural hack.
“When you purchase a brand new one and takes it out of the box, you have to season it before using it. We call this process Medome (目止め) in Japanese. Why does it need seasoning? Because the pot is made from clay, the material is naturally porous.” (JustOneCookbook)
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