The Art of Clay Pot Cooking

It takes about two weeks for artisans to make a Kamado-san, a fitting beginning for heirloom quality earthenware that can last for decades. A Kamado-san is a Donabe rice cooker that’s meticulously crafted from the clay of Japan’s Iga region. This porous clay is known for its high absorbency and heat retention properties. The heavy clay pots are treated with a special glaze and finished with a double lid, which circulates steam and has the effect of pressure cooking. The result is shiny, fluffy, gently heated rice that cooks evenly without compromising the moisture of the rice, explains Naoko Moore, founder of Toiro. A native of Tokyo now living in Los Angeles, Naoko is on a mission to introduce Kamado-san to the U.S. and share the Japanese method for superior rice. She’s also introducing a classic-style Donabe, called Hakeme, which is ideal for making soups and stews; braising; or cooking tabletop dishes such as shabu shabu and sukiyaki. The high heat resistance of Iga clay lets you cook with Donabe directly over the flame of a gas cooktop or in the oven. The name of Naoko’s company, Toiro, means “ten colors” in Japanese and is often used in the phrase “junin toiro” (“ten people, ten colors”). Loosely translated, it’s similar to the American expression “different strokes for different folks” and reflects Naoko’s goal to have many people enjoy Japan’s traditional Donabe cooking in many different ways.

Toiro

Donabe Cookware

The Art of Clay Pot Cooking

It takes about two weeks for artisans to make a Kamado-san, a fitting beginning for heirloom quality earthenware that can last for decades. A Kamado-san is a Donabe rice cooker that’s meticulously crafted from the clay of Japan’s Iga region. This porous clay is known for its high absorbency and heat retention properties. The heavy clay pots are treated with a special glaze and finished with a double lid, which circulates steam and has the effect of pressure cooking. The result is shiny, fluffy, gently heated rice that cooks evenly without compromising the moisture of the rice, explains Naoko Moore, founder of Toiro. A native of Tokyo now living in Los Angeles, Naoko is on a mission to introduce Kamado-san to the U.S. and share the Japanese method for superior rice. She’s also introducing a classic-style Donabe, called Hakeme, which is ideal for making soups and stews; braising; or cooking tabletop dishes such as shabu shabu and sukiyaki. The high heat resistance of Iga clay lets you cook with Donabe directly over the flame of a gas cooktop or in the oven. The name of Naoko’s company, Toiro, means “ten colors” in Japanese and is often used in the phrase “junin toiro” (“ten people, ten colors”). Loosely translated, it’s similar to the American expression “different strokes for different folks” and reflects Naoko’s goal to have many people enjoy Japan’s traditional Donabe cooking in many different ways.

Grommet Launch Conversation

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Naoko
    Naoko

    Hello everyone. I am thrilled that our authentic Donabe (clay pot) from Iga, Japan is discovered by The Grommet. These artisan Donabe are crafted by Nagatani-en, which is a family producer of 8 generations from Iga, Japan. Each piece is handmade from 100% Iga clay and takes two weeks to produce. Because Iga region used to be the bed of Lake Biwa about 4 million years ago, this clay contains fossilized micro-organisms and creates extremely porous body. That's why, Iga Donabe is known for its remarkable heat-retention ability and even heat distribution, and it shows the true wabi sabi beauty of the historic pottery style. In Japan, Donabe is so close to people's hearts and almost every household owns at least one Donabe for regular use. This time, we would like to introduce our most popular Donabe rice cooker and classic all-purpose Donabe. With a Donabe, you can create easily one pot dishes and enjoy a communal dining experience with family and friends. From earth to table, I hope these Donabe made of ancient clay will bring you happy Donabe life.

  • Shirley
    Shirley
    4/30/2013 12:16 PM

    Naoko: I am very interested in this beautiful and functional pottery. Do you have any recipes you can share?

    Shirley

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    4/30/2013 12:25 PM

    @Shirley Hi Shirley. Please check out my donabe blog for donabe recipes.

    http://naokomoore.com

    The most recent pot is a chicken wing hot pot with Hakeme!

  • Amy
    Amy – Grommet Team
    4/30/2013 12:22 PM

    Hi everyone,

    The Grommet team came across a really great recipe to bake bread in the Donabe. You can view the recipe here.

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    4/30/2013 12:39 PM

    @Amy I tasted her donabe-baked bread, and it was incredible! It was one of the best breads I've tasted in my life.

  • Amy
    Amy – Grommet Team
    4/30/2013 1:06 PM

    @Naoko Oh that's great to hear, Naoko.

    We also came across another recipe that may appear a bit easier. It's from the NYT and can be viewed here.

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    4/30/2013 2:30 PM

    @Amy We make that NYT bread at home a lot and the Donabe cooker is perfect for it.

  • Krieger
    Krieger
    4/30/2013 2:33 PM

    Love the looks and the possibilities! I am looking for ideas (size wise) for a family of 5.

    What you would recommend for kamado or hakeme...if we should get both, or if you can cook all sorts of dishes with either.

    Thanks!

    Trevor

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    4/30/2013 3:30 PM

    @Krieger Hi Krieger. Kamado-san 3 rice-cup size and Hakeme medium-size are normally perfect for 4-5 people. You can also use Kamado-san for hot pot, etc. For me, I need both, because I normally make a main dish with Hakeme and rice dish with Kamado-san in one meal:-)

  • Elisabeth
    Elisabeth
    4/30/2013 3:33 PM

    These are beautiful! Up to how many people does the Hakeme Medium and Small serve?

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    4/30/2013 3:44 PM

    @Elisabeth Hi Elizabeth. It depends on what you make with it, but for a stew-type dish as a main course, Hakeme medium-size is normally good for 4-5 people. Small size is for 1-2 people. Hakeme small size is also good for making a small side dish (like "izakaya" or Japanese pub style) to share among a small group. When I make a udon noodle dish, it becomes a single-serving one pot meal with a small size Hakeme. So, they are extremely versatile!

  • Ariza
    Ariza
    4/30/2013 5:54 PM

    Is this cookware compliant with CA Prop 65, especially re: lead?

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    4/30/2013 6:41 PM

    @Ariza Hi Ariza. Nagatani-en's donabe products are proven to be lead-free and cadmium-free. Each of Nagatani-en’s donabe products are made with care by skilled craftsmen. Nagatani-en is one of the leading and most trusted donabe producers in Japan.

  • Rebekah
    Rebekah
    5/2/2013 4:17 AM

    I see in the product specifications that these are used with gas ranges/ovens and that they cannot be used with an electric range. But can they be used in an electric oven?

    Rebekah

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    5/2/2013 1:53 PM

    @Rebekah Hi Rebekah. Yes, these can be used in electric oven. I sometimes make a big vegetable gratin with creamy soy milk sauce in Hakeme and bake in the oven. It makes a nice presentation for a dinner party, too:-)

  • karen
    karen
    5/31/2013 2:23 PM

    Is there a difference in how each pot is used? Can I use the kamadosan to make dishes that I would make in the donabe? Or is it advisable to use the kamadosan only for rice? Thank you!

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

 

Toiro

Donabe Cookware

The Art of Clay Pot Cooking

It takes about two weeks for artisans to make a Kamado-san, a fitting beginning for heirloom quality earthenware that can last for decades.

A Kamado-san is a Donabe rice cooker that’s meticulously crafted from the clay of Japan’s Iga region. This porous clay is known for its high absorbency and heat retention properties. The
heavy clay pots are treated with a special glaze and finished with a double lid, which circulates steam and has the effect of pressure cooking. The result is shiny, fluffy, gently heated rice that cooks evenly without compromising the moisture of the rice, explains Naoko Moore, founder of Toiro.

A native of Tokyo now living in Los Angeles, Naoko is on a mission to introduce Kamado-san to the U.S. and share the Japanese method for superior rice. She’s also introducing a classic-style Donabe, called Hakeme, which is ideal for making soups and stews; braising; or cooking tabletop dishes such as shabu shabu and sukiyaki. The high heat resistance of Iga clay lets you cook with Donabe directly over the flame of a gas cooktop or in the oven.

The name of Naoko’s company, Toiro, means “ten colors” in Japanese and is often used in the phrase “junin toiro” (“ten people, ten colors”). Loosely translated, it’s similar to the American expression “different strokes for different folks” and reflects Naoko’s goal to have many people enjoy Japan’s traditional Donabe cooking in many different ways.
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Toiro - Donabe Ceramics
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Naoko
    Naoko

    Hello everyone. I am thrilled that our authentic Donabe (clay pot) from Iga, Japan is discovered by The Grommet. These artisan Donabe are crafted by Nagatani-en, which is a family producer of 8 generations from Iga, Japan. Each piece is handmade from 100% Iga clay and takes two weeks to produce. Because Iga region used to be the bed of Lake Biwa about 4 million years ago, this clay contains fossilized micro-organisms and creates extremely porous body. That's why, Iga Donabe is known for its remarkable heat-retention ability and even heat distribution, and it shows the true wabi sabi beauty of the historic pottery style. In Japan, Donabe is so close to people's hearts and almost every household owns at least one Donabe for regular use. This time, we would like to introduce our most popular Donabe rice cooker and classic all-purpose Donabe. With a Donabe, you can create easily one pot dishes and enjoy a communal dining experience with family and friends. From earth to table, I hope these Donabe made of ancient clay will bring you happy Donabe life.

  • Shirley
    Shirley
    4/30/2013 12:16 PM

    Naoko: I am very interested in this beautiful and functional pottery. Do you have any recipes you can share?

    Shirley

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    4/30/2013 12:25 PM

    @Shirley Hi Shirley. Please check out my donabe blog for donabe recipes.

    http://naokomoore.com

    The most recent pot is a chicken wing hot pot with Hakeme!

  • Amy
    Amy – Grommet Team
    4/30/2013 12:22 PM

    Hi everyone,

    The Grommet team came across a really great recipe to bake bread in the Donabe. You can view the recipe here.

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    4/30/2013 12:39 PM

    @Amy I tasted her donabe-baked bread, and it was incredible! It was one of the best breads I've tasted in my life.

  • Amy
    Amy – Grommet Team
    4/30/2013 1:06 PM

    @Naoko Oh that's great to hear, Naoko.

    We also came across another recipe that may appear a bit easier. It's from the NYT and can be viewed here.

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    4/30/2013 2:30 PM

    @Amy We make that NYT bread at home a lot and the Donabe cooker is perfect for it.

  • Krieger
    Krieger
    4/30/2013 2:33 PM

    Love the looks and the possibilities! I am looking for ideas (size wise) for a family of 5.

    What you would recommend for kamado or hakeme...if we should get both, or if you can cook all sorts of dishes with either.

    Thanks!

    Trevor

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    4/30/2013 3:30 PM

    @Krieger Hi Krieger. Kamado-san 3 rice-cup size and Hakeme medium-size are normally perfect for 4-5 people. You can also use Kamado-san for hot pot, etc. For me, I need both, because I normally make a main dish with Hakeme and rice dish with Kamado-san in one meal:-)

  • Elisabeth
    Elisabeth
    4/30/2013 3:33 PM

    These are beautiful! Up to how many people does the Hakeme Medium and Small serve?

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    4/30/2013 3:44 PM

    @Elisabeth Hi Elizabeth. It depends on what you make with it, but for a stew-type dish as a main course, Hakeme medium-size is normally good for 4-5 people. Small size is for 1-2 people. Hakeme small size is also good for making a small side dish (like "izakaya" or Japanese pub style) to share among a small group. When I make a udon noodle dish, it becomes a single-serving one pot meal with a small size Hakeme. So, they are extremely versatile!

  • Ariza
    Ariza
    4/30/2013 5:54 PM

    Is this cookware compliant with CA Prop 65, especially re: lead?

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    4/30/2013 6:41 PM

    @Ariza Hi Ariza. Nagatani-en's donabe products are proven to be lead-free and cadmium-free. Each of Nagatani-en’s donabe products are made with care by skilled craftsmen. Nagatani-en is one of the leading and most trusted donabe producers in Japan.

  • Rebekah
    Rebekah
    5/2/2013 4:17 AM

    I see in the product specifications that these are used with gas ranges/ovens and that they cannot be used with an electric range. But can they be used in an electric oven?

    Rebekah

  • Naoko
    Naoko – Special Guest
    5/2/2013 1:53 PM

    @Rebekah Hi Rebekah. Yes, these can be used in electric oven. I sometimes make a big vegetable gratin with creamy soy milk sauce in Hakeme and bake in the oven. It makes a nice presentation for a dinner party, too:-)

  • karen
    karen
    5/31/2013 2:23 PM

    Is there a difference in how each pot is used? Can I use the kamadosan to make dishes that I would make in the donabe? Or is it advisable to use the kamadosan only for rice? Thank you!

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.