If you love set-it-and-forget-it one-pot meals (let’s face it, don’t we all?), then allow us to introduce you to your kitchen’s new BFF: the donabe – “do” meaning earth or clay, “nabe” meaning pot. It is minimal, simplistic, beautifully crafted, and allows you to celebrate seasonal ingredients. Best of all, it does all the work for you.
STEEPED IN HISTORY
Cookware trends come and go, but donabes have long been a centrepiece of Japanese home cooking. In fact, prehistoric clay donabes dating back to 16,500 years ago have been unearthed by archeologists. Even to this day, you can still find at least one donabe in every Japanese household.
WHAT MAKES THEM SPECIAL?
Donabes lend themselves to gentle, slow cooking, trapping the aromas inside the clay pot and coaxing out the natural flavours of simple ingredients. The clay is super porous, which allows it to breathe during cooking and keeps an even heat once it has reached its peak temperature.
Because the donabe is a one-pot dish, it is an incredibly easy way to cook complete meals quickly on busy weeknights or weekends where you’d prefer to be socialising with guests rather than slaving away over a hot stove.
WHAT TO COOK IN YOUR DONABE
The classic style donabe typically resembles a casserole dish with a lid and works wonders for rich hot pots, soups, casseroles, stews, curries, and other family-style or group dinners. It is also well-loved for cooking some of the best glossy white rice you will ever taste! The finish comes out shinier, the grain is more structured, and it’s much sweeter because the heat travels through a donabe to bring out its natural sweetness.
Another reason we love the donabe is that it gives you the freedom to be creative on those nights where you don’t know what to cook. Simply use the stock of your choice, throw in some basic ingredients you have in your fridge like mushrooms, cabbage, tofu or chicken pieces, and voila – a nutritious, easy meal that you can serve right out of the pot at the table.
In need of some cooking inspiration? Check out the delicious “Anything Goes Donabe” - it’s one of our personal favourites!
CHOOSING A DONABE
When it comes to choosing a donabe, you are spoilt for choice with Setamono’s range of high quality casserole pots and rice cookers crafted by one of the world’s leading Japanese cookware brands, GINPO.
Choose from a casserole pot that serves from 2–3 to 5–6, which is available in two different designs – the classic white Sumikannyu with a crackled glazed lid, or the Kikka, a next-generation earthenware pot in three bold colours (blue, green, white) that is guaranteed to brighten up any table.
GINPO Sumikannyu Donabe Casserole Serves 3–4 – R1,300.00
GINPO Kikka Donabe Casserole (Green) Serves 4–5 – R1,300.00
For rice lovers, the Kikka Ricer Cooker is an absolute must-have that’ll take your rice to the next level. Available in two different colours, and designed small enough to fit into a household microwave oven.
GINPO Kikka Donabe Rice Cooker (Blue) Serves 2–3 – R1,200.00
At the end of the day, the donabe is a wonderfully versatile addition that is not only an aesthetically pleasing piece to add to your kitchenware collection, but it’s highly functional too. Most of all, we think its true value lies in the communal dining aspect of it, and how it ties into the spirit of sharing a meal, something that we should all aim to do more of in today’s busy world.
Setamono - Shop 5a, The Courtyard,
Old Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village,
De Waterkant, Cape Town
Monday to Friday: 9:30am – 5pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9:30 – 2pm