How to season your donabe
Iga pottery is made of porous clay so seasoning your donabe before first use is necessary to prevent cracks/leaks. It is a simple one-time step by making porridge in it. Once seasoned, your donabe will last many years.
Water / 70% volume of donabe
- Check the capacity of your donabe and measure accordingly
Cooked rice / 20% volume of water
Before you start, ensure that the outer bottom of your donabe is completely dry.
Fill the donabe with water according to the requirement.
Add cooked rice. If cooked rice is frozen, defrost first.
Stir water and rice thoroughly until rice grains break apart.
Cover the donabe with the lid and cook over medium heat.
Bring the rice mixture to a simmer—around 20-30 minutes.
Uncover the donabe and continue cooking over low heat until the mixture becomes like paste. Stir occasionally so the inner bottom is not burned.
Turn off heat and let it cool down—around 1 hour.
Remove the porridge from the donabe.
Rinse the donabe thoroughly and let it dry completely before using the first time.
- There are kinds of donabe that do not need seasoning before first use—like the Ibushi Gin and Fukkura-san. These use a special kind of Iga clay and glaze designed for extra high-heat dry cooking.
- When cooking the rice mixture, keep it simmered. Do not allow it to boil to prevent splashes.
- Use pot holders when handling the donabe and lid. When heated, it can get very hot.