Hands holding a dark clay pot with rice

The Most Perfect Rice

How to cook rice perfectly — with our favorite Japanese donabe, or simply on your stovetop.

At East Fork, we're huge fans of donabe: traditional Japanese clay pot cookware that is so versatile that even now, centuries after its creation, almost ever Japanese household has at least one of them.

Looking for the best pot for cooking rice? The thick, porous clay walls of the donabe cook rice with a consistent heat and its double lid, which gives it a pressure-cooker effect, conspire to commit acts of true rice perfection.

No donabe? This recipe for a simple bowl of rice works in a heavy, lidded saucepan of your choice.

Step 1: Divy
If using a donabe: 2 ¼ cups of short-grain rice and 2 ½ cups of filtered or low-mineral-content water. Lidded pot: 2 cups rice, 2 cups water.

Step 2: Rinse
Put the rice you just measured in a bowl then cover it with cold water, Swish the rice around with your hand. The water will turn cloudy. Drain in a colander then repeat this process until the water is mostly clear. Drain the rice well.

Step 3: Soak
Place the rice and water in your donabe or pot and let soak for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Position
As you place both lids on your donabe, make sure the holes are perpendicular to each other. Or if using a metal pot, put the lid on it.

Step 5: Cook & Watch
If you’re using a Donabe: Place the donabe over medium-high heat on your gas cooktop. After about 11 minutes you should see steam puff out the little hole. Let it puff steam for about two minutes and then kill the heat, or if you like a chewy crust on the bottom of your rice, make it three more minutes.

If you’re using a lidded metal pot: If you are using a metal pot, place it on medium-high heat. When it starts to boil, stir it, cover it and turn the heat down to low and cook for 20 minutes.

Step 6: Wait
Turn off the heat. Don’t disturb the rice. Really—this part is important! Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then uncover, fluff with a fork, serve how you please. We like to add butter.

Birds-eye-view of a table where a hand is serving rice from a Japanese clay pot donabe with a wooden rice spoon into a stoneware bowl. A soy sauce cruet and bamboo spice container are also on the table.
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