This is a very classic-style donabe which you can use for a wide variety of dishes. In Japan, almost every household has at least one classic-style donabe and most commonly use it to cook hot pot (“nabe”) dishes including shabu shabu and yosenabe on tabletop to enjoy with family and friends. The classic-style donabe is also ideal for stewing or braising. You can use it over gas stove top or in the oven. Iga-yaki donabe is known for its durability and perfect for everyday cooking.
Hakeme means “brush stroke” in Japanese. The brushed glaze on the surface has the classic rustic Iga-yaki look. The bumps and spots which sometimes look like unfinished or small cracks are what we appreciate as wabi sabi, esthetic of incomplete or non-perfect character.
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 the 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.
Large Ideal for 4 – 6 people
Size: 12” diameter x 8” high (30.5 cm diameter x 20 cm high) – including lid
Capacity: 3.5 qt (3,500 ml)
Weight: 8.8 lbs (4 kg)
Medium Ideal for 3 – 4 people
Size: 10.6” diameter x 7.1” high (27 cm diameter x 18 cm high) – including lid
Capacity: 2.5 qt (2,500 ml)
Weight: 6.6 lbs (3 kg)
Medium-Small Ideal for 2 – 3 people
Size: 9” diameter x 5.5” high (22.5 cm diameter x 14 cm high) – including lid
Capacity: 1.2 qt (1,200 ml)
Weight: 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg)
Small Ideal for 1 – 2 people
Size: 8.1” diameter x 5.1” high (20.5 cm diameter x 13 cm high) – including lid
Capacity: 0.75 qt (750 ml)
Weight: 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Material: Clay Producer: Nagatani-en Origin: Iga, Japan Included in the package: Donabe (bowl and lid) and English instruction sheet.
Usage and Care
Ideal for gas stove top use. This donabe is not suitable for electric or induction cooktop.
Oven-safe (up to 500℉/ 250℃). This donabe is not suitable for microwave.
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