Thursday, August 28, 2008

Soto Ayam by Energy-saving Thermal Cooker

Soto Ayam
Ta da! Homemade soto ayam - chicken soup Malay-style, with ketupat (steamed pressed rice) and shredded chicken, topped with two begedil (potato cutlets), beansprouts, coriander, fried shallots and a dollop of wicked red chili paste. OK, we cheated with ready-made rempah (spices) - some days we all need a shortcut.

For our energy shortcut, we used a thermal magic cooker.

This totally non-electric thermal cooker works by retaining heat like a thermos flask. All you need to do is boil stuff using the inner metal pot for a few minutes, put that pot into its thermal case and let the food cook in their own heat. Even chicken bones can turn soft after a few hours. Best thing is, you don't have to keep an eye on the fire, unlike with regular boiling. No spilling, burning or drying out.

It's even got an upper tray which we found just nifty for warming up the ketupat (steamed rice patties/cakes) for the soto ayam. Good for heating up a second dish too.

I first saw this pot in a blog called Youcookieat (which I incidentally wish was more active cos it's got great step-by-step photos). Then keropokman and southernoise extolled the pot's energy-saving virtues and versatility. I was sold! I got this in mid-June and have since experimented with pork rib soup, beef stew, chicken rendang, sweet barley with winter melon strips, kachang puteh (chickpeas/garbanzos), and now ayam soto.

Works like a charm and food stays piping hot. Great when members of the family eat at different times. I wish there was an oven-like equivalent for dry-type dishes!


  1. The convenience of it saves the day! Not easy to think of new ways to cook old favourites. Every cook a superhero, really. :D

  2. hello,

    just curious. may i know where u bought the thermo pot from? and how much is it?

  3. Agree that the thermal cooker is a good buy! I always have a hard time convincing others that it can continue cooking after the food has been transferred into the cooker. ;P

  4. Ah Kenny, indeed. Cooking on a daily basis needs resolution as much as inspiration. Better ways to cook old dishes always help! :)

    独孤求胜: I bought the pot from Carrefour. There are different sizes - mine's a 6L one for S$59.90. It's a cheap OEM brand. You can get Tiger or Zojirushi ones too, but at S$200 or more.

    Food Lover: ah, most people don't realise how much heat is dissipated and wasted during regular cooking. The thermal pot is a wonderfully efficient way to conserve energy!

  5. looks YUMMY! camemberu can has chiken soto!

  6. Very interesting. Good for one pot-type dishes.

    But can it make char koay teow?

  7. i am quite sold on this cooker after reading ur blog and the youcookieat blog..

    how long can the heat be retained?

    what else have u cooked with this, other than soups and soto ayam?

  8. I am keen on getting one. But hubby says the food 'cooked' using thermal pot doesn't taste as nice. I love mee soto, but it's hard to find a good one around. The one I like at eunos hawker centre was gone. :(

  9. Cool! S$59.90 for the thermal pot fit my pocket:p Wouldn't burn a big hole though.

  10. the 5 tips for a flat stomach advertisement on the top is kind of annoying. lol

  11. No, no, no, this is not a one-in-all wonder pot. It cannot make char kway teow. It cannot make fried chicken. It cannot make Hillary Clinton re-gain the Democrat nomination for president.

    But it is good for any dish with moisture that requires low simmering or cooking for extended periods over low heat. Soups, stews, porridge, congee, gravies, boiling of beans/nuts are great.

    Heat retention up to 6 hours.

    Apologies: I may have gotten the price wrong - S$59.90 could be for the 5L one, and S$69.90 for the 6L one. Ah, my memory is shot to bits.

    Annoying ad for flat stomach? lol
    Just refresh the page and get another ad!

  12. Hi Camemberu,

    I notice that soups from thermal cooking tend to look rather 'clear'. Am I right to assume that there is no convectional heat in thermal cooking, ie, no 'bubbling' action? I just wonder if the lack of convectional heat creates soups which look & taste less full-bodied? I would love to get a thermal cooker if taste is not compromised, cos MIL is very very particular about soups! Hence my very very high gas bills!

  13. hi can you post the recipe pls? looks yummy!

  14. Woohoo! You have one too! It's great, isn't it?

  15. Ju: Hmm, I'm not very fussy about my soups, so I may not be the best judge. But you are right in saying there is no "bubbling" action beyond the first few minutes of boiling. So the temperature is just shy of boiling point when the liquid is steeping in the thermal pot. I think southernoise tried to boil tonkotsu soup.

    One thing to note is that you need to use less water. Cos you don't lose water by evaporation using this closed pot. Some people who follow recipes exactly may find their soups tasting more bland. Maybe that's why didally's hubby finds them "not as tasty".

    Anon: recipe? Hmm, given that we used ready-made spices from the market, there really isn't any. Boil chicken with spices in water, prepare potato cutlets (begedil), grind some chili paste, blanch beansprouts, chop cilantro and fry shallots. Oh yes, and steam some ketupat (which we also bought ready-made from the market). That's it. :)

    SIG: haha yeah!

  16. Interesting pot! but i was actually looking for a mee soto thanks...enjoyed ur blogs too.

  17. I think this pot is a good buy. Saves electricity, gas, water. My mom has 1. She's completely sold on it. The soup taste better I thought.

  18. My mom have been using this for maybe 1 year or so, all of us love this piece of equipment.

    All she has to do is prepare the stew/soup in the morning and by lunch it'll be ready to eat.

    we also have a smaller pot, enough for 1 or 2 serving.

    saves a lot of time ^^

  19. May i know if the inner pot can be use for induction cooker ?

  20. Thanks for all the comments. Yes, you can use it on the induction cooker. But I'm not sure for other brands.

  21. Great idea, can see these becoming more common if gas prices keep going up.


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