Thursday, June 5, 2008

Woks, Induction Cooker and Prawns in Tamarind Soup

Whew! long title? Actually, I was going to write about my new induction cooker (umm... actually, not that new... but story later.) Then, Wandering Chopsticks is inviting everyone to write about their woks. Aside from my old wok, I have a new wok that I bought specially for my induction cooker! So, I have to include my woks in this post too. And of course, I have to share a recipe using my new gadgets... :)

This is my relatively new induction cooker. Last year, when Hubby went to Hong Kong for one of his business conventions, he was able to purchase this induction cooker. Accordingly, this induction cooking is different from what we ordinarily know - gas or electric coils. Ordinarily, the range tops or electric coils becomes hot and this heat is then transferred to our cooking vessels - the pots and pans, in order to cook the food inside. But in induction cooking, the pot or pan itself becomes the generator of heat! The surface of the cooker remains cool to the touch!

How does it work? Through electromagnets that the cooking pots or pans have. Thus, iron skillets and woks are ideal for induction cooking. Stainless and other types of pots are also alright to use, if they are equipped with electromagnets at their base. For a detailed explanation of how induction cooking works, please click here and here.

However, last year, I was too stubborn. I insisted on using my faithful gas stove. I like my gas stove (translated: I like to stay in my comfort zone.) I have always used my gas stove. (translated: I am too lazy to learn new technology.) My gas stove gives me high stable fire and heat I need for my cooking (translated: I am still lazy to learn new technology.) I just set the new induction cooker aside. (translated: I am slow to learn new technology.) Come to think of it, Hubby must have not been happy when I did not use his "gift" :(

This year, the gas prices have been steadily going up and up and up. One day, when I was bemoaning the high prices of everything, Hubby suggested I should use the induction cooker. It will save us money for the cooking gas. Isn't he very patient with me? One year and he still is not insistent I use his "gift."

Finally, I did use it and I am hooked! Wow! It is so easy to use. Things get cooked faster than the regular gas stove. Therefore it is energy-efficient. It is so easy to clean. No more grills and coils to scrub. Plus, the surface is really not hot! There is no steam or fire coming out of the cooker. In this hot country where our everyday temperature hovers around 30C, this matters a lot! I can turn on the electric fan while cooking and there is no fire that will go out. I do not have to sweat while cooking! Yipee!

But lest you accuse me of being biased towards induction cooking, here is the site where it tells you the pros and cons of induction cooking.

Actually, the only "cons" I can think about now is that if you do not have iron skillet or pans, or any pan that can attract magnets, you have to invest in another set of cookware if you are going to use induction cooking.

I already have a non-stick wok which I am using for many many years now (for the gas stove). I would have preferred a cast-iron wok like the one Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok has. But cast iron woks are rare here in this country. My mother-in-law has one but she had to lug it back here all the way from China! (Imagine the excess baggage weight she has to carry!) I do most of my cooking in my wok. (translate: I use my wok everyday.) I cook eggs in it. I do stir-fries, I do deep fry, I steam, I braise and make stews in it. It is an all-in-one versatile pan and pot! Here is an example of a complete meal I cooked using my non-stick wok: Chinese Flavored Rice.

a WOK is definitely indispensable in any serious cooking. However, I believe I do not have to bring my wok to heaven :) I am sure there will even be a better kind of wok in heaven! :)

Since I am still on earth, and since I want to use my induction cooker now, I have to buy a wok that can be used for induction cooking. See my shiny new wok in the second picture above?

I can do a lot of things with it. A wok is not limited to doing stir-fries and deep fries. You can do almost all kinds of cooking in it. I can even cook pasta in it! So, if you want to invest in a cookware, make sure it is a versatile WOK!

Here is a simple soup I made using the new wok and induction cooker. It is a Filipino Dish called Sinigang na Sugpo (Prawns in Sour Soup). Actually, the real dish is a lot more complicated with more veggies like okra, string beans, radishes, etc. I did not have these ingredients on hand, but I made the soup anyway...

400 gms prawns, cleaned
5 slices ginger
1 onion, chopped
400 gms tamarind, cleaned
1 small piece taro root, cleaned, skin removed
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch chinese kang kong (swamp cabbage)
3 pcs finger chillies (jalapeno peppers)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil the tamarind and taro root in a cup or two of water until softened. Mash the tamarind in the same water to extract the sour juices. Mash the taro. Remove the solids through a sieve. Keep the water with the juice extraction.

2. Boil the tamarind extract with 2 more cups of water. Add in the ginger and onion slices. Also add in the tomatoes and the finger chillies. When everything boils, add in the prawns.

3. Prawns are cooked when they turn pink. Add in the kang kong. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Dish up. Serve hot with rice.


EN said...

Wonderful article...
My wife is considering to buy the induction cooker, too. But she is not sure if this can be use for chinese food, where high and evenly-spread temperature is needed. Can you do me a favor? Do you still use the induction for such cooking?

Thanks so much...

Justin said...

I have just bought a brand new gas range cooker and I am so satisfied. My kitchen now is complete. Rangemaster is really fantastic.

Sinigang said...


Your Sinigang looks really delicious!

I'm collecting a list of the best sinigang recipes in my blog, and I included your sinigang recipe (just a link though, hope you don't mind). You can see it at

Keep in touch!

Tanya Regala

magi said...

Well, that is just down right sin in a cup! Holy yumminess.

Wok cooker

Anonymous said...

please come up with more recipes on induction cooker. Heard somewhere that we can cook pizza base and even cakes on induction stove. Dont know if its true..

Gas range cookers said...

Wow, Fantastic article, it’s so helpful to me, and your blog is very good,I’ve learned a lot from your blog here, Keep on going, my friend, I will keep an eye on it,

Ridoy said...

Wow! Great post! Any more updates on how your new gadget works? I'm in need of a new rice Stove/cooker and this would be SOOO wonderful if it could do triple or quadruple duty :) -- thanks for the great recipe!

Sojoni said...

Nice post ! I really like that this nonstick coating is free from harmful chemicals that can harm my family and the environment. I love that the handle has a silicone coating, it is very nice and easy to hold on to.Thanks !

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