How to prepare a donabe / hot pot / clay pot:
Please go through the following instructions when using the donabe (earthen clay pot) for the very first time:
1. Soak the pot in tap water for about 2-3 hours.
2. When using the pot for the first time, please cook rice or porridge before cooking anything else.
Wash a cup of UNCOOKED rice inside the donabe, then remove the rice but keep the rice water in the donabe for 2 days.
Do not heat the pot without water
Do not cook the pot without water
Do not deep fry with the pot
Pottery is made of clay or rough soil so it absorbs the smell of food (especially fish). It should be soaked in water between 1-2 minutes before using to prevent the smell transferred from food.
Porcelain is made of powder from minerals; such as feldspar and quartz, it has tight bonding and doesn't have absorb-ability.
Donabe is semi-porcelain which has both porcelain and pottery features so it can resist to high-heat (porcelain) and it can keep the heat for a while (pottery).
Therefore, as pottery has, Donabe has tiny holes on its surface which we need to fill them in with rice or porridge to coat a layer of carbohydrate.
That is also why we don't recommend soaking your donabe in detergent nor using heavy detergent when washing your donabe. (Detergent will stay in the holes and it will be hard to wash it out.) If you want to clean your donabe with detergent, please rinse it well right after using detergent.