Tochinsai is a unique multi-purpose donabe that benefits from the special characteristics of Iga clay. It can be used in microwave, grill or steam-roast over stove top, roast in the oven, or can be used just as a serving bowl. This donabe can also work as a mini fridge to keep the contents cold and fresh for a longer time.
Unlike most kinds of donabe (Japanese clay pot), you don’t need to season Tochinsai, by making the porridge in it before it first use. Once it’s rinsed and dried, your Tochinsai is ready to be used.
To Use Tochinsai HOT (for Gas Range)
You can cook with Tochinsai with or without grate depending on your cooking purposes.
Whether cooking in microwave or stove top, if you soak the lid (and also the skillet for microwave cooking) for a few minutes before cooking, the clay absorbs moisture and will bring better steaming effect during cooking. It’s because Iga’s porous clay is water absorbent and also “breathes” during cooking. For quick-steaming in Microwave, you can use the inner grate to set inside of the skillet.
Because this donabe can be heated with no liquid inside unlike most donabe, you can make stir-fry or roast ingredients in this donabe. By setting the grate inside, you can grill ingredients over stove top or in the oven, too. This is an extra versatile donabe.
When dry-heating with the grate insert for stove top or oven cooking, we suggest you line inside of the skillet with aluminum foil. This will make the clean-up easier.
To Use “Tochinsai” COLD
Tochisai can work as a mini table-top “fridge” with the effect of the heat of vaporization (a little science here…when the moisture in the wet donabe evaporates, the energy spent for the evaporation cools down the donabe as a result). To maximize the effect, soak the lid and skillet of Tochinsai in water (about 3 minutes) beforehand, then make a layer of the ice cubes on the skillet and cover with the lid. It’s ideal for serving the cold food such as sashimi, fruits salad, cold noodles, etc.
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.> Ideal for 3 – 5 people
Size: 9.6” diameter x 4.9” high (24.5 cm diameter x 12.5 cm high) – including lid
Weight: 3.7 lbs (1.7 kg)
Material: Clay Producer: Nagatani-en Origin: Iga, Japan Included in the package: toban (skillet), inner ceramic grate, lid, wood spatula, ceramic trivet, and English instruction sheet.
Usage and Care
Ideal for gas stove top. Not suitable for electric stove (including glass top) 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.
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