Lifestyle

Published on June 3rd, 2021 | by Mahbub Hasan

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I live in a place were electricity is way efficient than gas – This is how I utilized alternative cooking methods

Where I live is a weird location. Now, I have access to almost anything including electricity, public transports, roads, communication, internet and more. But it is still a remote place in fact, it takes up to two weeks to deliver any ecommerce delivery. The only reason I live in this place is because of peace of mind. Away from traffic, loud city crowds, pollution, I have access to cleanest water in the country. This is a great place but one problem. I don’t have access to unlimited gas supply.

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In fact, nobody has a new line for unlimited gas supply because we are running out of natural gas. This is bad news not only for us but for everyone. There is not much gas and fossil fuel left on this planet. This is why you see people using bottled gas or cylinder gas. New gas lines are rare. Those who have had it for five or six years, only have the permission to continue using supplied gas. For the rest of us, cylinder or propane are some of the choices.

Why cylinder sucks

Cylinder gas costs three times more than supplied gas and this cost isn’t even regulated. One time you see a twelve kg cylinder costing you less than ten dollars and sometime you see a jump toward fifteen. And then there is the problem of keeping track of when the gas will burn out. Then I have to go out and fetch another cylinder by returning the empty bottle. The amount of physical torture it give is not worth the result. And then there are problems with cooking itself. Cooking with cylinder gas is super slow. It takes 10 – 12 minutes to boil water, more than 15 minutes to boil an egg. You literally have to mod your burner to increase gas flow. All that does is just waste more of your gas. So one day I said “FamilyFriendly it”, I will not use gas any more.

Choosing the right kind of cooker

There are a confusing amount of options out there. Most of them are a sort of rubbish and increase your utility bills. There are tons of options like

  • Propane and butane
  • Electric cooktop
  • Infrared cooktop
  • Induction cooktop

It is time to choose the best one. Propane and butane are sort of rare and expensive here. It is not even the best option as a gas alternative. Propane is slower, and it is only good for barbeque. Electric cooktop is good, but expensive and very wasteful. Direct conduction is itself very inefficient and I always refrain myself from using wireless charging for this. It just bugs me how much electricity gets wasted on the way. So electric cooktops aren’t much great, except for electric roti makers, those are small.

Now, two best options that are left are infrared cooktops and induction cooktops. These are generally more energy efficient than electric cooktops and also very smart with automatic functions and timers. They also look futuristic. But, future is future, and I need to get my cooking done, so I need one of the options.

Infrared vs Induction

AMZCHEF Induction Hob, Double Induction Cooker with Ultra-thin Body,  Independent Control,10 Temperature Levels, Multiple Power Levels, 2800W,  3-hour Timer,Safety Lock,Fashion Design: Amazon.co.uk: Large Appliances
Induction cooker

The Internet is full of biases. When I first searched for this subject to see what would be best for me, I stumbled upon a website with all the differences. But it suggested infrared, and I was convinced. But, I looked at the website’s name and I got to know which source I am reading from. It is a website that promotes infrared cooktops from their business. So it is normal that they would pursue me to go buy an infrared without thinking. But, I quickly got back on track and researched a bit more. And then I asked some of my European friends, and they suggested to me what many Europeans use, Induction cooktops.

There are few reasons I chose Induction over Infrared cooktops. One major factor was speed. Infrared, while fast enough, cannot come close to how fast induction cooktops are. It takes 6.60 minutes to boil water on infrared, and 4.30 minutes on an induction cooktop. This is because infrared uses a traditional method of beaming heat toward the pot. It heats the pot and starts cooking. But with induction cooktops, no heat comes from the cooktop itself. It creates a ferromagnetic zone where you put your induction bottom pans or pots, and the pot starts heating itself. With infrared, your cooktop heats the pot, and with induction, the pot generates heat by induction. It is super quick, and the pot heats instantly. This is why companies warn people to not let empty pots sit idle on the cooktop.

Problems of Induction cooking

I found tons of benefits of using induction cooktops instead of other options. But I also found a few problems. First of all, it does not support any kind of pots. Pots that have an induction bottom or are made with stainless steel, or that stick to a magnet, will work with induction cooktops. Copper, silver or aluminium don’t work. If you already don’t have induction pots at home, you have to buy a full set of new induction cookwares. And these things are a bit expensive, not all companies make induction bottom cookwares here in my country, because of low usage of induction cookers. But, you can use induction cookwares with gas too, so at least that checks out.

Another issue is the learning curve. Generic stoves have one control. A dial for turning heat up or down. I can operate induction cooktops well, but my parents won’t be able to because of weird controls. Majority of the cooktops have touch controls and a wattage meter display instead of Celsius. These also have tons of buttons for different options, which takes trial and error if you don’t read the manual for an hour.

It also cooks way faster. Even with low wattage, frying an egg is tedious. Cooking is way better but frying eggs is the real challenge. I either end up burning my egg or burning my hand while trying to flip the egg. On high heat, the egg only cooks from the outside. The solution is to heat the oil with high wattage and then lower the wattage to 800 and then pour the egg. Use a small pan so it is easy to flip.

Conclusion

I have used induction for 2 months now. It is fast and efficient and it bills me less than gas at the end of the month. We have cheaper electricity which with induction saves me 50% on cooking. For other stuff I still have gas and propane as backups. If you are also looking for an alternative to gas, you should also use induction or infrared cooktops. It may save you from physical labour and frustration. I would suggest induction over anything, but if you don’t want to buy a new set of cookwares, then you can opt for an infrared cooktop. Just read the manual first.

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About the Author

Mahbub Hasan is a creative professional from Bangladesh. In Technofaq, Mahbub writes articles about design, privacy, technology and life surrounding them.



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