Beautiful tools

Double-lid Donabe rice cooker
Naoko Moore of Echo Park brings in Japanese clay pots from the 180-year-old producer Nagatani-en in Iga, Japan. They're made of heavy clay and have a double lid that captures the steam. Rice cooked in this pot comes out perfect, each grain absolutely distinct, the way it is in a great risotto.
$120 to $325 at Toiro at (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / November 30, 2012)

Where to find rice cookers and donabe pots

Electric rice cookers can be found at most appliance stores. Single-lid donabe rice pots can be purchased at any Japanese market, such as Mitsuwa or Marukai, they cost around $30 and up. For the double-lidded pots, you must go to specialty stores or the Internet. Two sources that I like very much are Tortoise General Store in Venice (1208 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; [310] 314-8448) and the website Toiro ( Both carry kamado-san donabes, which are made in Iga, Japan, famous for ceramics since the 7th century. They cost about $160.

-- Sonoko Sakai