— Around The Home
Codlo turns existing cookers into sous-vide machines
The Codlo is a kitchen device that allows you to use your existing slow cooker or rice cooker to prepare sous-vide cuisine
Sous-vide is a French style of cooking that involves using water to precisely heat food sealed in plastic bags, for long periods of time – the resulting dishes are said to be very tender, not to mention delicious. While it has previously been the exclusive domain of top chefs in restaurant kitchens, recently devices such as the SousVide Supreme Demi and the Nomiku have been developed for home users. The Codlo is another such gadget, although it lets you use your existing water-filled slow cooker or rice cooker.
Developed by London-based entrepreneurs Grace Lee and Xi-Yen Tan, the Codlo unit itself plugs directly into a mains power outlet. The slow (or rice) cooker is in turn plugged into it, receiving its power through the Codlo. The device also features a hard-wired temperature probe, which is run into the water within the cooker.
Utilizing the electronic interface, users then set cooking times and temperatures. As long as the cooker has an analogue, mechanical switch, the Codlo proceeds to let it heat the water to the given temperature, and then maintain that temperature for as long as is required.
Users drop their plastic-bag-encased meat or other food items into the water, then wait for the Codlo to notify them when the time is up – with sous-vide, this could be up to several hours.
Lee, Tan and their team are currently raising production funds for their device, on Kickstarter. A pledge of £89 (US$133) will get you one, with recipes included, when and if they reach production. A “Full Monty” package, which includes a rice cooker, is additionally available for £129 ($193) – which is also the estimated retail price for a stand-alone Codlo.
More information is available in the pitch video below.
Sources: Codlo, Kickstarter
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
I have gone through the process of making a home made sous vide cooker in an Esky, and have now bought a cheap Sous Vide cooker for $160. I think the Codlo option is very good as it is compact and easy to use. I wish it was available earlier but I am sure it will find a good market.
I like this product but it's still pricey. Many people have built their own for under $100, like me. Plans, parts, and plug and plays are readily available. Crock pots work but the stoneware slows down the heat transfer. You can use high to preheat but be sure to use low for your cooking or it will be difficult for the PID controller to maintain constant temp. A better choice is a countertop roaster which has way more room and more direct heat. Use a cheap wire rack inside to keep food off the sides and bottom. Vacuum sealing is not necessary. Submerging your bags will squeeze most of the air out.
Sous vide is awesome for meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Along with perfect doneness from poached to hard boiled, you can pasteurize raw eggs to use in raw recipes like hollandaisse, mayonaisse, and egg nog with out any fear of bacterial contamination. Medium rare burgers too, 135o F, 57o C is the magic number for killing bacteria.
You can also pre-heat the water in a kettle or on the stove top to save time, as long as you stay just under the final desired temperature.
Hi PC - I'm Grace, founder of Codlo.
Thanks, we love sous vide cooking too! However, there needs to be an affordable and approachable device in the market to bring sous-vide mainstream.
Our conscious and thoughtful design approach addresses many of the pain points for new users, so that it's truly plug-and-play. For example, there's no need for manual adjustments of PID due to the algorithm's ability to learn. It's great value to have the convenience and design of such a product just off-the-shelf.
@Cyberon - it's never too late to get one! :)
Does nobody care about the effects of cooking your food in plastic for long periods of time?
I didn't know that plasticizers like phthalates and PVC were an element of fine dining.
I have been involved with sous-vide in the past. I really, I mean REALLY, like this. Way to go Grace!
Bruce H. Anderson
Tom, i believe there is no pvc or phtalates in the plastic type of these bags. The temps used are relatively safer, but i too tend to use plastic minimally in my cooking, just for a safety margin.
Dunno, but it seems to me that $130 for a power supply (a couple bucks), PID temperature controller (single chip, pennies), thermocouple (pennies), and solid state 120V switch is a whole lot of money. But I guess that's what successful device entrepreneurship is all about and I wish them success.
This does interest me as a possible way to give a small convection oven precise low temp control for use speeding up curing of adhesives, softening plastics, dissolving gelatine, and many other useful DIY kinds of things. Probably can't handle the current, though, and the PID may not be able to tune itself to that condition.
why wouldn't a cooktop like the nuwave PIC suffice for this?
if it had a digital readout...they hawk as being accurate...?
@DonGateley, just a quick look at the photos shows that Grace has invested a heap of effort and money in this product, including tooling for 3 styles of mains plugs. Just getting regulatory approvals (EMC and electrical safety) would leave scant change out of $10-15K. The likely sales would be quite uncertain. In that light the price is perfectly reasonable.
Sadly for Grace, she is up against what established appliance manufacturers can make, knowing they will sell thousands just filling their distribution channels. Sunbeam already have a $199 sous vide appliance on sale here in Australia.
@Grace. Good luck!
I have been playing with cooking sous vide in a slow cooker. I regulate the temperature with a digital thermometer and by having the lid on or off. The results have been excellent with salmon, kangaroo, chicken fillets and beef steak. 'roo is particularly temperamental - over-cook it and you have boot leather. Also, you can normally only guarantee the fillet will be tender. What is sold as "steak" can be tough even with careful conventional cooking. Done sous vide the steak is always tender.
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