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Donabe Recipes

Best Living Japan held a Donabe cooking (earth pot cooking) class earlier this month which 15 people attended. It was great fun, and we hope to offer additional classes in the future. Thank you or all who attended and our sensei from Igamono in Ebisu. Igamono is a great place to buy donabe (see store info below). We are sharing the recipes that were taught, prepared and eaten on the class day. All of these recipes are great for family eating – delicious, nutritious, economical and easy! Try some Donabe recipes at home.

Stemmed Broccoli, Potato and Tomato Donabe 

  • a clay nabe (pot) is needed for this recipe with a steaming plate and lid.


  • 3-4 new potatoes
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 renkon (lotus root) about 5 inches
  • 12 mini tomatoes
  • 1 med size tomato
  • 15 grams of fine shredded or powder Parmesan cheese (about 1/6 – 1/8 cup)
  • 15 ml of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 grams of salt (about 1/3 teaspoon)
  • a touch of tabasco sauce


Leave skins on potatoes and cut into mouth size pieces. Cut broccoli heads and stem into mouth size pieces. Peel the renkon and cut into mouth size pieces (you can leave root base on and eat). Remove heads from mini tomatoes. Put all chopped vegetables aside. To make sauce blanch the tomato to remove skin, and then dice into small pieces (will become a mush for sauces), Add cheese, olive oil, salt, and Tabasco into mushed tomato to create the sauce. Add water to the nabe and place steaming plate on top of the nabe. Close lip and start a high flame. Once steam is coming out of the lid hole, place the potatoes on the steam plate and steam for about 8-10 mins. Remove lid and eat potatoes with salt, or other garnish. Replace lid on empty nabe and get steaming again. Once steam is coming out of lid hole add other veggies – broccoli, reckon and tomatoes will take 3-5 mins to steam. To warm up the sauce place it in any ceramic vessel and position the vessel amongst the vegetables on the steam plate.  Any vegetables work in this steaming method. You can also make a sauce using grated carrots, garlic, onion, olive oil and white vinegar.

Donabe RecipesChicken and Daikon Donabe

  • a clay nabe (pot) is needed for this recipe with lid.


  • 350 grams of chicken breast  (1 breast) cut in mouth size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of salt fermented sauce (shokoji – see package photo below)
  • 300 grams of thinly sliced Japanese radish (daikon) (about six inches of daikon)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sake

Donabe recipesPeel the daikon and slice into 1/2 thick slices. Cut chicken breast into mouth size pieces. Mix cut chicken breast pieces with Donabe recipes2 tablespoon of the shokoji mix and let marinate for 20 mins. Place sliced daikon into the bottom of the nabe (no water or oil is necessary). Then layer chicken and marinade mixture on top of the daikon base. Then on top of the chicken mixture drizzle on sesame oil and sake – do not mix. Place lid on nabe and cook on medium-high heat for about 15 mins. You can remove the lid and look at the chicken. As long as the chicken is no longer pink you can eat. To the right is a photo of the SHOKOJI I found at Seijoishi Supermarket – next to the miso.


Donabe Recipes

Sweet Potato Rice

  • a clay rice cooking nabe (pot) should be used, however a standard nabe can also be used


  • 900 ml of white rice
  • 500 gram sweet potato (about 6 inches)
  • 10 cm piece of dashi kombu (kelp)
  • 1,000 ml of water
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • sprinkle as desired black sesame seeds and salt


Chop sweet potatoes into small mouth size piece (leave the skin on). Place chopped potatoes in med temp water for about ten mins to remove starch. Wash the rice with tap water and then drain. Place washed rice into the nabe. Add the 1,000 ml of water. Add salt and stir mixture lightly. Place one piece of kelp on the top of the rice do not stir, leave kelp on top. Then place all cut sweet potatoes on top of rice and kelp (again do not mix).

If you have a Donabe rice pot – Place steam lid on and top lid. Make sure the vent holes on the two lids are not aligned which will result in lost pressure. Cook on high flame for about 10-15 mins (until steam is constantly releasing). Once steam is constant keep on high flame for 1-2 mins more. If you want a burned base of your rice leave for an extra 1-2 mins. Turn off the flame and let rice sit for 20 mins. (Remember do not remove lid until 20 mins have passed). After waiting 20 mins remove the lid, remove the piece of kelp and gently mix potatoes into the rice. Serve in bowls and allow people to sprinkle black sesame and salt mixture as they desire.

If you have a regular nabe (not a rice pot) – Place lid on nabe. Cook on med-high flame for about ten mins (or until steam is constantly releasing). Once steam is releasing constantly, keep on the low flame for 7-8 mins more. Turn off the flame and let the rice sit for 20 mins. (Remember do not remove the lid until 20 mins have passed). After waiting 20 mins remove the lid, remove the piece of kelp and gently mix potatoes into the rice. Serve in bowls and allow people to sprinkle black sesame and salt mixture as they desire.

***************************************************************************************************************Apple dessert DonabeApple Cinnamon Donabe

  • a clay nabe (pot) with no steam hole is best for this recipe


  • 2 large apples (Ideally Kougyoku apples (red and high acidity – in America called Jonathan apples). You can use Fuji which are most common in Japan.
  • enough granular sugar to cover base of nabe – push down to create a thin but complete base layer
  • 1 lemon
  • a little bit of cinnamon
  • 50 grams of butter
  • walnuts lightly chopped


Slice and core non-peeled apples and set aside.  Coat base of nabe with a thin layer of granulated sugar. Push the sugar down to make sure the layer is the same depth around the base. Turn on medium flame. Cut butter into small pieces and place on top of sugar base. As the butter and sugar start to melt place sliced apples on top of sugar and butter base. Layout he apples so not to have them on top of each other. Take the lemon and squeeze over the apples. Place lid on and cook about 3-5 mins (or until you see liquid bubble around an edge of the lid. Open lid flip apples over to get caramel liquid to coat apples (keep flame ion medium. Sprinkle cinnamon and walnuts over cooking apples. Continue to cook for about three mins while moving apples and walnuts though the caramel mixture.

***************************************************************************************************************Great Cookbook in English – Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking, by Naoko Moore

Book on Amazon.co.jp click here. 

The class will be taught by an expert from Igamono Donabe store in Ebisu. Igamono has a beautiful selection of donabe pots and earthenware cups and plates. One of my favourite places to buy items for our dining table and gifts.

Address: 1-22-27 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, TOkyo 150-0013
Phone: 03-3440-7071
Business Hours: 11:00〜20:00, closed Tuesdays

Igamono, Best Living Japan Igamono igamono igamono


Donabe Recipes


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