Microwave donabe

Donabe – from traditional cooking methods to enhancing flavors, uncover the secrets of this amazing Japanese clay pot. See why cooking with a donabe is healthier and tastier than most other methods.

stew cooked in a donabe


(Doh nah bey)

Explore the detailed history of Japanese donabe, a beloved clay pot with centuries-old traditions. From its ancient roots to modern culinary appreciation, discover the cultural significance and enduring legacy of donabe.

History of Donabe – Ancient Origins

The history of donabe dates back to ancient times, where clay pots were used for cooking and heating food. In Japan, donabe has been an integral part of culinary traditions for over 2,000 years. Its origins can be traced to the Jomon period, and it has evolved and gained popularity over time, becoming a symbol of traditional Japanese cooking.

The origins of donabe can be found in the Jomon period (10,000 to 300 BCE).

Ancient donabe from the Jomon pperiod
ancient donabe from the Yayoi period

Introduction of Clay Pot Cooking

During the Yayoi period (300 BCE to 300 CE), the technique of clay pot cooking was introduced to Japan. Pottery techniques were refined, and clay pots began to be used for various cooking methods, including boiling, steaming, and roasting.

In the Heian period (794 to 1185), donabe gained prominence as a versatile and essential cooking vessel. It was during this time that the term “donabe” was first used, referring to a lidded clay pot. Donabe became an integral part of Japanese cuisine, especially in courtly and aristocratic households, where elaborate and refined cooking techniques were practiced.

traditional oden cooked in a donabe

Traditional Japanese Cuisine

Donabe’s popularity continued to grow, and it became closely associated with traditional Japanese cooking. As Japanese culinary traditions evolved, donabe played a crucial role in preparing various dishes. Its ability to retain heat and distribute it evenly made it an ideal tool for simmering, stewing, and creating delicate flavors.

Modern Revival and Appreciation

While donabe’s popularity endured through the centuries, it experienced a revival in recent years. As the appreciation for traditional cooking methods and the desire for healthy, flavorful meals grew, donabe gained renewed recognition both in Japan and internationally. Its unique properties, such as high infrared heating and moisture retention, have made it a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike.

The history of Japanese donabe is a testament to the enduring legacy of this remarkable clay pot. From its humble beginnings in ancient times to its elevated status in Japanese cuisine, donabe has played an integral role in cooking traditions and cultural experiences. As it continues to capture the hearts and palates of people around the world, the donabe remains an iconic symbol of warmth, flavor, and the time-honored traditions of Japanese culinary heritage.

Why is food cooked in a donabe healthy? Why is it delicious?

Donabe are well known for their infrared heating properties, which keep the nutrients and flavors in the foods you cook, also known as “umami” flavors. It also keeps in the moisture, preventing the food from becoming dried out. You use less salt, less cooking oils and butters.

Heat Retention:

One of the remarkable benefits of donabe is its exceptional heat retention properties. The porous clay material produces far infrared rays which absorb and distribute heat evenly, resulting in gentle and uniform cooking. The donabe will remain warm for long periods.

Enhanced Flavors:

stew cooked in a donabe

The donabe’s porous nature allows for subtle absorption of flavors, infusing dishes with a unique and rich taste. The clay pot helps ingredients retain moisture and intensifies the natural flavors, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Healthier Cooking:

Donabe is revered for its ability to cook nutritious and wholesome meals. The slow and steady cooking process preserves nutrients while minimizing the need for excessive fats or oils.

Versatile Cooking Methods:

New York Cheesecake cooked in a donabe

From steaming and boiling to simmering and roasting, donabe accommodates various cooking techniques. It is equally adept at preparing rice, stews, hot pots, and even baking bread.

Popular Uses of Donabe:

hot pot meal cooked in a donabe

Hot Pot (Nabe); Donabe is synonymous with hot pot dishes in Japan. Gathering around a simmering donabe filled with a flavorful broth and an assortment of fresh ingredients is a beloved communal dining experience.

donabe for cooking perfect rice

Rice Cooker: Cooking rice in a donabe yields exceptional results. The clay pot ensures fluffy, evenly cooked rice with a delightful texture and aroma.

slow cooked foods cooked in a donabe

Slow Simmering: Donabe’s ability to maintain a steady temperature makes it ideal for slow-cooked dishes like braised meats or vegetables, allowing flavors to meld together harmoniously.

Enjoy the benefits of slow cooking, but without using any gas or electric! Flavors seep into the food and create the “umami” (Umami or savoriness, is one of the five basic tastes. It has been described as savory and is characteristic of broths and cooked meats) for which donabe are so loved the world over.

Steaming: Donabe’s steaming capabilities make it perfect for preparing delicate dishes such as fish, dumplings, and vegetables, retaining their natural textures and nutrients.

beef stew cooked in a donabe

Donabe are perfect for almost any dish – beef stew slow cooked in a donabe will produce tender beef, throughly cooked vegetables and you won’t believe the flavor! You can prepare this dish without using butter, oil or even adding liquids, as the steaming slow cooking effect of the donabe will do it all for you.

Not to mention the donabe is a beautiful serving dish too. Just place on a hot pad or trivet to keep the dish warmer longer than conventional metal pots will. The ingredients will cook in their own juices multiplying the flavors for true “umami” flavor only a donabe will produce.

The donabe is also energy saving, as it heats up quickly, and even off the direct heat it will continue to slow cook for you.

Truly a wonderful new addition to your cooking arsenal.

The Japanese donabe holds a rich history and continues to be cherished for its unique benefits and versatile uses. Whether you’re seeking an immersive culinary experience or a vessel that enhances the flavors of your favorite dishes, donabe is a remarkable addition to any kitchen.

Embrace the tradition and savor the delights of this timeless clay pot.

Microwave Donabe
Thermatec Donabe
Direct Flame Donabe

The Microwave Donabe

Thermatec Donabe

Direct Flame Donabe

The only donabe in the world designed and crafted to cook in a microwave oven while taking advantage of the super infrared heating of this special clay pot. For beginners.

As functional as it is elegant, the Thermatec Donabe comes in 3 beautiful colors. Enjoy authentic “umami” flavors without worrying about previous foods’ odors or coloration.

All areas of the base pot are glazed, so it won’t scratch your stovetop or counters. No need to pre-condition or season this pot.

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