Sunday, September 20, 2015

Electrolux Portable Induction Cooktop: No Gas, No Problem

A picture of a picture of the Electrolux Portable Induction Cooktop on its box.
There was an explosion. A small one. There was no fire. Everyone was OK.

The Cause of the Explosion
Actually, what happened was our gas cooktop simply exploded; not the whole thing though just one of the burners, but it could be worse. What we found out later was our cooktop was too old and getting complications that usually come with old age.

But it was enough for me to look for other options, namely, electric cooktops. To the Internet I went and back ever so slightly wiser.

No More Gas
After a ton of digging and a few hundreds of cat photos later, I found out that electric cooktops have come a long way from the electric coil system, to ceramic infrared heating system, to electromagnetic induction system. The cat photos had nothing to do with cooktops; it was just me sidetracking, in case you're wondering.

Despite all that, since my mom does most of the cooking [OK, OK, all of the heavy cooking], and she insisted on another gas cooktop, we had to replace our old gas cooktop with another... you've guessed it, gas cooktop.
My cooking expertise is boiling water.

Still, I thought it was time to try something new. The induction system appealed to me, so we bought a single portable induction cooktop by Electrolux.

But Wait! What is an Induction Cooktop?
I don't want to bore you with technical details, but if it's your thing, I won't judge you. offers a simple explanation on induction cookers and How Stuff Works gives a bit more in-depth look on How Induction Cooktops Work.

The Experience
Like most induction cooktops, the one we bought has a flat ceramic top, so a wok is a no go; you will have to use cookware with a flat bottom. Speaking of cookware, one caveat with induction cooking is that you will have to make sure you have ferromagnetic or magnetised pots and pans - the easiest to check if you already have them is by placing a magnet at the bottom of your cookware and see if it sticks.

Ours comes with a pot ready for use, so we wasted no time testing the cooktop. Cooking is easy enough if you know what you're doing; I mean technically there's no learning curve - you simply plug it in, turn the knob to the heating level of your choice and you're cooking. Heat control is almost instantaneous. There is a touchscreen timer you can utilise in case you want to leave your cooking unattended but still prefer it to stop at a preset time. I prefer to have my cooking attended by my mom.

Boiling water takes seconds especially if you have about a cup or so in the pot. Cooking something with oil or frying is something you will have to get used to - at least I did. The first time I tried frying some fish crackers, I waited for the oil to heat up and waited and waited, till I remembered something I read [I can't remember where] and put in the crackers anyway and there it was frying like nobody's business. The problem might be that the heat was too low and/or not continuous; the sound it made sort of gave me the idea.

Since induction cooking directly heats the pot, the surrounding cooking area is pretty cool to touch including the [uninsulated] handles of the pot. I'm not sure if this is heat-dependent [I think it is], since I rarely go the highest setting which is nine, so I'll say do it with precaution.

If you think this particular model that we have is not up to your design palate, there are other variations available either from Electrolux or other brands; some with more control options, some with more than one cooking surfaces and a lot of built-in model options.

As mentioned above, the flat cooking top is the widely available option. But there's also a curved top designed for a wok like The Grand Cuisine Surround Induction Zone, also by Electrolux from their professional line. You know what that means, it means everything from that line is going to be more expensive than the non-professional line. But at least you'll get to use your wok if that's your thing.

Professional line or not, I don't think I can make a gourmet meal any time soon with or without this or any other induction cooktops. But I like the one we have for the light cooking that I do and I absolutely like the fact that I don't need one of those cooking gas tanks in my home [even if I still do right now - I will have to convince my mom to change].

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