How to Season Donabe / Clay pot
It's getting colder.
How about Donabe hot pot for dinner? You can cook hot pot on the table top, make everybody feel nice and warm.
When you purchase a brand new donabe you might want to season it before using. We call this process Medome (目止め) in Japanese. Why does it need seasoning? Because the pot is made from clay, the materially is naturally porous.
The starch from rice or flour will fill microscopic pores in the pot and it helps prevent breakage by heat, as well as preventing smell and stain from cooking food. This medome process helps keeping your donabe life longer.
Here is the tip for first time using donabe pot.
How to season Donabe
- Make sure the outer bottom of the donabe is dry before starting the process.
- Pour the water to about 70% of the donabe, and add cooked rice. The cooked rice must be at least 1/5 of the volume of the water. If you are using the frozen left-over rice, make sure the rice is defrosted (by microwave is okay). Stir the water and rice thoroughly.
- Cover the donabe with lid and cook the rice over low to medium-low heat. Once the mixture starts to simmer (approximately after 20-30 minutes for a medium-size donabe), uncover and keep the heat at low (the mixture should simmer, not boil). Continue to cook until the mixture becomes almost like paste. Stir occasionally to make sure the bottom is not burned. *Make sure not to let the mixture boil. If you boil, the hot mixture can splash out of the pot and it’s dangerous. *Use the proper protection (such as pot holders or oven mitten) when handling the pot (including the lid) when it’s heated, as the donabe can get very hot.
- Turn off the heat and let it cool down for about 1 hour.
- Remove the rice mixture from the donabe. Rinse the donabe thoroughly and let it dry completely before using it for the first time.