There are some task-specific appliances which, when used frequently, totally make the purchase worth your while (eg. ice-cream maker), and there are other appliances which can offer a myriad of purposes like this portable induction plate which can completely redeem itself in the purchase stakes.
And of course the first thing I thought to try out was a hotpot/steamboat! This was a no-brainer as induction plates are increasingly used in hotpot restaurants across Asia, but also because this portable cooker comes bundled with an induction-compatible, hotpot-esque pot inside. The induction plate beeps if a pot is removed for more than a few seconds from active cooking followed by the power automatically shutting off; likewise if a non-compatible vessel is placed on an active cooktop. Cooking can be preset at a range of wattages or temperatures and, while it does make a slight rattling noise when heating up, it cuts out as soon as your preferred setting is reached. When ingredients are added to the pot and the overall temperature thus lowered, the induction plate will bring the temperature back up to your preset level which negates having to manual bump it up yourself – smart!
So with the temperature being able to be set as low as 60°C it’s really hard to resist the urge of trying a makeshift sous vide, although I did have to set the induction plate to 80°C at first to allow for the water temperature to reach 60-65°C. This is also where a thermometer comes in handy. The meat, protected by a ziplock bag with most of the air expelled, took a leisurely bath for about an hour before being sealed in a hot pan.
That same temperature, after a bit of research on the internets, also happens to be a great temperature for cheese fondue. There’s no catching or burnt bits at the bottom which sadly means you don’t get that lovely crust right at the end, but I wasn’t at all confident it would easily lift off my pot in any case. One word of advice though – use less wine than recipes suggest, because the flavour gets rather concentrated as the liquid is slowly evaporated from the heated mixture.
The logical option for us was to chase the cheese fondue with a chocolate fondue. And, discovered quite by accident, leftover baguette pieces and grissini sticks from the cheese fondue turned out to be great dipped in chocolate with the latter tasting like chocolate Pocky.
Of course the more straightforward uses of this induction plate include it being a back-up cooking device if your stove dies, an extra cooktop to free up stove space, a portable cooker for activities like camping, or just cooking outdoors so that your kitchen and home don’t smell like grilled meat/fish or deep-frying. I imagine with the various temperature settings and a 3-hour timer that it would also be great for slow-cooking – can’t wait to try this out as well!