Thursday, April 2, 2015

Induction cookers - Yes or No?

Wow, it's been a long time since I did a proper blog, so I think I owe it to myself to brush off the dust and flesh out some of the ideas I've been sitting on. So here goes guys... Today, I'm talking induction cookers.

I've always had a phobia for gas stoves, so after experiencing a gas scare years ago, and hearing one too many stories about gas explosions, I decided to start using induction cookers as they're safer and take up very little space. Since then, I must have gone through 3 already, as induction cookers tend to last for about 2 years max (with frequent use). The first one, a Phillips model, kind of had a small explosion and died out. The next one was a Hanabishi model, and its plastic top eventually cracked. And most recently, our second Hanabishi had its on/off button suddenly freeze. So, we had to go out and get a new one.

We decided to get this one, the Phillips HD4921 at Tesco. It's usual retail price is around RM259, but they had an offer so we got it for around RM170 (with GST). It came with a 2-year warranty and a stainless steel pot.

  My new induction cooker

Now, this isn't going to be a review about this particular induction cooker, as I haven't started using it yet, but this post will recap my experience in using these cookers and why I continue to use them.
I plan to review the cooker I just bought a few months down the line, so stay tuned for that :) 

The Pros
Here are a few reasons why I like using induction cookers:

1. They're compact: I mentioned my phobia of gas leaks/explosions :P But I suppose my other main reason for loving induction cookers, is their size and portability. As you can see below, they don't take up much counter space, and I can just put it away if I need the counter space.

My new induction cooker

2. They cook fast: Induction cookers cook much faster than gas tops, but this needs some getting used to (see The Quirks). 

3. There's many to choose from - If you go online and check out Lazada or go to a hypermarket like Tesco, you'll find quite a few models on offer. The price range is usually from RM100 to RM350 for single burners. They come with a number of features too. I usually opt for a model that allows me to adjust the heat accordingly. Before making your purchase, do check out several stores if you can. They may be offering the same model at different prices, or there may be an offer going on. 

4. They're quite versatile: People often wonder, if they'll still be able to cook a decent Malaysian meal on an induction cooker. My answer would be - Yes you can! Of course, you can forget about cooking rendang and ketupat on it, as induction cookers are better for fast cooking like stir frying etc. But, you can cook a variety of meals. I've made asam pedas, nasi lemak, curries, mee laksa, fried fish and all sorts of things on my induction cookers.

Here are some of the dishes I've made with induction cookers:

Nasi lemak lunch
Nasi lemak with sambal tumis, fried chicken and hard-boiled eggs.

  Ikan selar masak taucu
Ikan selar in taucu sauce.

Sambal udang petai
Prawn sambal tumis with petai.

As you can see, after you get the hang of using an induction cooker, you can cook all sorts of dishes on them. But there are some other quirks that you'll have to get used to, like:

The Quirks

1. They need rest: Yes, induction cookers needs to rest and cool down in between cooking different dishes. So after you cook one dish, you'll need to turn off the cooker and wait until the internal fan turns off. I usually try to wait a little bit longer, before I start the cooker up again. I think the reason that my first induction cooker sort of blew up was because I didn't wait for the cooker to cool down properly. I would turn it on and cook the next dish soon after finishing the first one. Bad idea. So practice some patience.

2. They can only cook small meals: My family now consists of 5 people, inclusive of my mother and my 11-month old baby. And so far, induction cookers are fine for preparing daily meals for our family. At the most, I've cooked for perhaps 6 to 8 people. I'm not sure how these would fare if you have a really large family or are planning to cook for lots of people.

3. They get hot very fast: In the early days, I used to struggle with the heat these cookers produce, because the pan gets hot very fast as compared to gas cookers. This also means that food could be cooked on the outside, but not on the inside. So yes, if you're switching from gas to induction, you'll need time to adjust.

4. You can't leave something on them: Here's another thing you'll need to adjust to. Usually, when you turn off a gas stove, the food will stop cooking. But if you leave a pan or pot on an induction cooker, it will continue to cook even after you turn the thing off. In some cases, this can cause your dish to burn or dry out. But you can use this to your advantage. I usually turn off my induction cooker a few minutes before the dish is completely done, this allows the residual heat to finish the cooking process. Again, you need to develop this ability to know when to turn off the induction cooker. 

SummaryAs I've mentioned before, at the most these induction cookers would last you about 2 years if you use them frequently like I do. So usually, I would buy one in advance and have it on standby. I try to buy reputable brands that are under RM300. But I've been toying with the idea of getting a no-brand one to have on standby and to see how well they work.

Is it a hassle to have to replace my cooker every so often? Yes, I suppose it is. But then electrical goods tend to need replacing anyway. Case in point, I've had to replace my smart phone more often than I've had to replace my induction cookers, not because I've been keeping up with the Joneses, but because the darn phones keep finding a way of going kaput. 

So yes or no?
My personal view is - Yes. I like using induction cookers and they suit my lifestyle and they offer me peace of mind. My mum uses them too at my elder brother's place. 

I hope you found this post useful if you're thinking of buying an induction cooker!


Unknown said...

Hi Adline, nice and informative thread you have here..Just want to know would you recommend the philips induction cooker.Im finding one now and really need opinions on this.

Adline Writes said...

Hi Wan Elmo, I have tried I think 3 different induction cooker brands and so far I like the Philips one the best. But I find induction cookers don't last very long, max is two years if you're lucky. I suppose it depends on the frequency of usage too.

David Law said...

Hi Adkine, I plan to get the philips one but can it cook on stainless steel cookware ? I bought a few and it cannot heat up the Stainless steel wok. Please advise.

Thank you

Adline Writes said...

Hi David, thanks for dropping by! You need to test your cookware with a magnet, if the magnet sticks to the bottom of your pan, then it can be used on an induction cooker. If it does not, then it will not conduct the heat. There are stainless steel woks, pots and pans specially made for induction cookers, you need to use those.

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