Gone are the days when people could rely only on LPG stoves for their heating requirements in the kitchen. Taking good precautionary measures and maintaining a pipeline and ensuring pilot lights are running, all seem like an obsolete way and chore-like way to cook food. Especially when you have the option of using induction stoves, for which you need induction cookware.
Apart from it being an environmentally friendlier alternative, it is also cheaper in comparison to conventional “gas stoves”.
Now, an important thing to note is that most conventional cooking utensils would not work on an induction stove, as it works on a different principle of heating (electromagnetic induction), thereby any cookware without a copper coil embedded in it’s base would not be capable of generating ‘induced heat’.
Advantages: It works on the principle of electrical coupling, ie there is no wastage of heat into the environment, the flux generated by the cooktop is only taken in by the coil and it is used to its fullest extent.
Since the stove doesn’t get very hot, you can use it safely and clean it after use as it has a planar smooth surface.
It generally only works on vessels made from ferrous materials (without a coil) but can work otherwise too in case of copper bottom vessels.
However a flat bottom is a must, and most induction compatible vessels have an “induction disk” at its bottom.
Let’s take a dive into the types of available induction cookware:
Based on the material they’re made of:
Stainless Steel- Tough, durable and easy to maintain, they’ve been the go-to choice for cookware ever since they became popularised, gaining the same “ever silver” due to its rust prevention qualities. However, they’re sometimes known for non-uniform heating properties so its advisable to be wary of the same.
Cast Iron- Simple and effective, with capabilities of long term heat retention, cast iron induction cookware is ideal for cooking with less energy consumption. A potential downside could be that worn out utensils have rough surface which might tarnish the cooktop.
Porcelain-Enamel: A more recent type that has currently become a type of novelty, enamel coated porcelain cookware (with a metal base) has found its way into the induction utensil market. It also has the uneven heating issue from time to time, so it’s necessary to ensure the coil is well spread out.
Aluminium: Excellent in its heating and lightweight properties, the primary downside to this material is its prominent discoloration problem which sometimes spreads onto the light colored food that is getting cooked. Again, a magnetic test to see if a coil exists underneath is preferred.
Based on their application:
Induction cookware has a wide-range of applications, starting from saucepans for sauting and reheating, to pressure cookers to cook rice and its related products, to even grills for preparing sandwiches or steaks.
The primary types are:
Roaster: Used for heavy duty cooking containing large volumes of food for a prime roast.
Saute pan(saucepan): Preferred for sauteing, searing, poaching, and stir frying. Its erect, high sides help contain food and provide uniform heating.
Casserole Pan: Ideal for cooking casseroles, stews, soups which even help in reducing the food content.
Frypan: With sloped walls that prevent steam buildup, this type of cookware is preferred for frying, searing or scrambling. The walls also help in easily sliding food out.
Pressure Cooker: Used to slow cook and sometimes even bake, these cookers are recommended to maintain ideal conditions during cooking.
Non-stick crepe pan: Besides the advantage one can figure from the name itself, these pans aren’t necessarily limited to its function of making crepes, they are versatile and can be used elsewhere too, such as for making pancakes or omelettes.
Now that we’ve looked at the two basic parameters to consider while buying any induction cookware, let’s go out there and modernise the kitchen!