Iga-yaki Toban (Donabe Skillet)
Sizzling steak, stir-fry, quick suki-yaki, or oven-baking, Iga-yaki Toban (donabe skillet) is a unique cookware as well as a serving dish at the same time.
Toban (literally translates into “ceramic skillet”), is one of traditional-style Japanese cookware which can work as skillet or shallow pot. Once the ingredients are cooked in Toban, you can serve it directly at the table. With the remarkable heat retention ability, Toban lets the hot food stay hot longer at the table.
Why Iga-yaki toban is loved by both professional chefs and serious home cooks
Outstanding heat durability
Iga-yaki toban is made from the special type of Iga-clay, which is extremely durable with heat. So, this donabe skillet can be put over direct heat even when the skillet is empty.
No seasoning necessary
Unlike classic donabe pots, this Iga-yaki toban doesn’t need to be seasoned by making porridge in it. Once it’s rinsed, your toban is ready to go. (*Make sure the bottom is dry before being heated.)
Handy and effective cooking
From the stove-top to the table, Iga-yaki toban works as a cookware as well as a serving dish. Also, because the glaze of the skillet promotes far-infrared ray (FIR– the same effect as how the glowing charcoal cook ingredients without direct flame), the steady heat reaches to the core of each ingredient faster than simple heating. (*Toban should never be used for deep-frying, or be heated only with oil for a long time.)
Remarkable heat retention ability
Just like other Iga-yaki donabe, because of the special porous Iga clay, the skillet has the remarkable heat retention ability and hot food stays hot longer at the table.
True “Terroir” of Iga
Iga region, where this donabe is made, used to be the bed of Lake Biwa about 4 million years ago. The clay from this region is naturally highly heat-resistant and has been used for open-flame cooking for many hundreds of years. This clay consists of a high level of pre-historic fossilized microorganisms that leave the clay porous when fired. The porous body gives the donabe remarkable heat-retention ability. The donabe gradually builds the heat when it’s heated, then it cools down very slowly after the heat is turned off. This, along with the glaze that promotes the far infrared rays (FIR – the same effect as how the glowing charcoal cook ingredients without direct flame) when it’s heated, allow the donabe to produce a gentle, steady heat that penetrates to the core of each ingredient. The effect is ingredients are cooked evenly with all the flavors sealed inside.
Authentic Iga-yaki pottery by Nagatani-en
Iga-yaki (Iga-style) pottery is one of Japan’s most highly-regarded traditional ceramics and is said to have originated in Iga, Mie-Prefecture in late 7th Century. This donabe is made by Nagatani-en, a leading producer of authentic Iga-yaki pottery since 1832. At Nagatani-en, each donabe is made by hand with care and it takes about 2 weeks to produce an individual donabe. Nagatani-en’s Iga-yaki products have been loved by both professionals and home cooks in Japan.
Your donabe develops its character as it ages
As you use your donabe over and over, it develops character and that’s something to be welcomed.
- The very thin cracks could appear on the surface (glaze) of the donabe. It’s called “kannyu” in Japanese and the cracks run like veins. They are the naturally developed cracks on the glaze and won’t affect the function of the donabe.
- Once you start using the donabe, the bottom part starts to change its color and black spots (like burned spots) could appear. It’s also the part of developing the character and the donabe is safe to use. However, if the bottom part seems to get too black too quickly, the heat you use might be too high. In this case, we suggest that you use the donabe over lower heat level.
All the donabe and Iga-yaki products made by Nagatani-en are hand-crafted with care, so every piece is unique and no two pieces are identical. There are slight variations within the color/ shade, shape/ curve, and patterns, among pieces, and that makes each piece so special. Also under different lighting and angle, the actual color shade and nuance may also appear slightly different from the photos in the product page.
- Size: 9.4” x 8.3” x 2” high (24 cm x 21 cm x 5 cm high)
- Weight: 1.8 lbs (0.8 kg)
Origin: Iga, Japan
Included in the package: toban (skillet), and English instruction sheet.
Usage and Care
- Ideal for gas stove top use. This donabe is not suitable for electric or induction cooktop.
- This donabe can be heated while it’s empty.
- Oven-safe (up to 500℉/ 250℃). This donabe is microwave safe.
- Hand wash only.
- This donabe doesn’t need to be seasoned before its first use.