Cookbook Review: Donabe Japanese Clay Pot Cooking

Thursday, November 26, 2015



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I was really excited to read Donabe by Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton as it’s foreign topic for me. For those who are not familiar, donabe is a cooking method using Japanese clay pots. After a thorough introduction of donabe history, production, seasoning and care of donabe, the authors shared seven chapters full of delicious recipes: Classic Style Donabe, Double Lid Donabe Rice Cooker, Donabe for Soup and Stew, Donabe Steamer, Tagine Style Donabe, Donabe Smoker, and Dashi, Sauces, and Condiments.

I avoid buying a lot of kitchen gadgets but I couldn’t resist trying some of the recipes from this book and had to rush to our nearest Japanese supermarket to buy a donabe. Before committing to one, keep in mind that a donabe is best used with a gas or a portable butane stove but not with an induction or ceramic cooktop. Even though the recipes are meant to be used with a donabe, I couldn’t see why you can’t try them using a Emile Henry clay French oven. So far, we’ve only tried the smoked duck breast, smoked miso tofu, crab rice with charred green onion, and tofu hotpot but they all turned out delicious. One thing that caught me by surprise is the versatility of a donabe--you can use it as a steamer, rice cooker, smoker, hot pot, and so much more. I’m excited to try more recipes and really love that everything is thrown into one pot.

Overall, Donabe is well written with amazing recipes. Granted some of the recipes are fusion but still delicious. The photography by Eric Wolfinger is gorgeous and make you want to run to your nearest Japanese market to buy all the ingredients and bring these dishes to life. Donabe is the perfect cookbook for those who like Japanese comfort food and one pot meals.

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher

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