What is Otoshibuta (Drop Lid)?
An otoshibuta (落し蓋), or a drop lid, is essential Japanese kitchen equipment. The round lid is slightly smaller than the diameter of the saucepan you’re using to simmer your meal and floats on top of the simmering foods.
What Does the Otoshibuta Do?
1. Even Distribution of the Simmering Broth/Sauce
The otoshibuta ensures that the broth/sauce is evenly distributed, making sure all the ingredients absorb all the delicious flavors.
The cooking liquid circulates towards the lid and coats the top of the ingredients, without being stirred with a spoon (which could possibly break them apart).
2. Prevents Ingredients from Breaking Apart
The otoshibuta holds the ingredients in place so they don’t’ move around in the liquid and don’t break apart during the simmering process.
3. Prevents Evaporation
Using the otoshibuta prevents evaporation, but if you’re cooking with very minimal cooking liquid, you can place a regular lid as well (with otoshibuta inside) to prevent evaporation 100%.
How to Use the Otoshibuta (Drop Lid)
You put otoshibuta directly on top of the ingredients. You do not need to use a regular lid unless you want to keep the cooking liquid.
Recipes Using the Otoshibuta (Drop Lid)
Here are some delicious simmered foods that you can use your brand new homemade otoshibuta for!
- Simmered Kabocha Squash
- Nikujaga (Stewed Meat and Potatoes)
- Kakuni (Braised Pork Belly)
- Chikuzenni / Nishime (Simmered Chicken and Vegetables)
Where Can I Buy It?
- Wooden otoshibuta (MTC Kitchen)
- Adjustable stainless steel otoshibuta (Amazon, MTC Kitchen)
- Silicone otoshibuta (Amazon)
How to Make Otoshibuta at Home
- 1 sheet aluminum foil
- 1 chopstick
- Cut a sheet of aluminum foil that covers the diameter of your pot.
- Fold the edges up into a circle so that the lid fits inside the pot.
- Make a vent in the middle for a small pot with a chopstick (several vents for a bigger pot). Or make a cross incision in the center with scissors.
- Place it down onto the simmered foods.