Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton explore recipes using a Japanese clay pot in Donabe.
These heart dumplings look like shiny snowballs, and they make me feel festive every time I make them. Pork meatballs are covered in sweet rice and steamed until the rice is perfectly sticky and the meat is fluffy. I like it with a tiny dab of yuzu-kosho for accent. Or you can serve them the more classic way, with soy sauce mixed with karashi (Japanese mustard) or ponzu. – Naoko
- In a medium bowl, soak the sweet rice with enough water to cover the rice completely for 2 hours. Drain well and transfer it back to the bowl. Add the sake and salt and mix thoroughly.
- To make the pork meatballs: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Knead by hand until the mixture is shiny and smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Divide the pork mixture into 16 portions and shape them into balls (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) by hand. Dip each ball into the sweet rice and, using your hands, coat it completely with rice. Press down lightly on the rice so that it sticks.
- Prepare the donabe according to the basic steaming instructions below, lining the steam grate with one of the suggested liners. Arrange the dumplings on the lining. Cover and steam over upper medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, or until the meat and rice are cooked through. Serve with yuzu-kosho at the table.
- Fill about 70 percent of the donabe body with water.
- Set the steam grate in place and cover with the lid. Bring to a boil over medium-high to high heat.
- Once the donabe steamer is ready, simply place the ingredients either directly atop the grate or on a plate or a bed of napa cabbage, green leaf lettuce, green cabbage, or bean sprouts. (This will help prevent the ingredients from sticking to the grate without clogging the holes, thus easier cleaning after use, and you can eat the bed, too!) Cover and cook until done. Other options for holding the ingredients are a bowl, a sheet of parchment paper punched with holes, or a mat of bamboo leaves.
Reprinted with permission from Donabe, copyright © 2015 Naoko Takei Moore and Kylie Connaughton. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.