Originating from the bed of Lake Biwa about 4 million years ago, the clay from the Iga region is highly heat-resistant. The porous nature of this clay offers excellent heat-retention abilities, allowing for a gentle, steady heat that penetrates to the core of each ingredient.
Nagatani-en is the leading producer of Iga-yaki pottery since 1832, crafts each pot by hand, taking around two weeks to produce an individual donabe. Their products are cherished both by professionals and home cooks in Japan.
As you continually use your donabe, it will show signs of wear such as "kannyu" (fine cracks in the glaze) and black spots on the bottom. These markings are natural and do not affect the pot's functionality. In fact, they add character to your pot, making each one unique.
Caring for your Donabe
To ensure longevity, it's crucial to season your donabe. This involves cooking a rice porridge in the pot before its first use. This simple procedure helps to seal the porous clay, preventing leaks and cracks in the future. Check our our Seasoning Guide.
Always use mild dish soap and lukewarm water for cleaning. Make sure to dry the bottom thoroughly before storage to prevent mildew. If the Donabe has a small crack or is leaking, repeat the seasoning process. Never keep leftovers in the donabe overnight.
For lingering odours, simmer water with a small scoop of green tea leaves for about 10 minutes. If mould appears, use a soft sponge and dish soap to clean it. For persistent mouldy smells, simmer water with a few tablespoons of distilled vinegar, then repeat the seasoning process.
If your donabe has cracks that reach the edge or shows any other visible damage, it's best to stop using it immediately.