Donabe is the Japanese version of an earthenware cooking pot. Similarly to the Korean ttukbaegi, the donabe is thick and porous, allowing it to retain heat for a much longer time than a standard cooking pot. It is especially popular for hot pot soup and stew dishes like shabu shabu and other types of nabe.
Along with heat retention, cooking with donabe has many advantages. For one, the dishes that are made in a donabe typically don’t require other pots, pans, plates, or bowls, meaning it’s easy to set up and clean. These dishes are also often eaten by a group of people communally out of a single donabe, so donabe meals have the added benefit of being socially and emotionally enriching. And similar to cast iron, they’re also incredibly durable when taken care of properly; assuming it’s not mishandled, one donabe can last many decades. Some have been known to last more than 100 years.
However, while donabe can live for a very long time, this is only true if they’re taken care of. It’s important to heat gradually and to never heat an empty donabe — neglecting this could crack the donabe. And before using a brand new donabe, be sure to boil water in it, let the water cool, and then dry it out.
We carry a variety of donabes in different sizes and designs in our gift department.