Cooking Sous Vide in the home - Why I like Codlo

Monday, December 01, 2014

If you have been following my blog, you will know that for Sous Vide cooking (SV), I like to use those appliances which can be paired with rice cookers. They are often called PID controllers or an enabler device.

I prefer to use SV-enablers because they are compact, mobile and flexible when it comes to different types and sizes of pots. They can work on any analogue appliance with a mechanical switch. As I already have rice cookers in my  kitchen, I now have added use for them.

The rice cooker is very easy to clean as the inner pot can be easily removed. As the heating element is at the base, you don't need a water-stirring mechanism to distribute the heat. This also means that you can pack your food closer together. As the temperature sensor is thin, the cooker's cover closes easily if your SV-cooking requires a covered pot. The rice cooker is insulated and efficient as a a cooker, saving you on some electricity.

The temperature sensor is safe. I use it to cook "double-boiled" soups and braises  (i.e. Bak Kut Teh) and braises/stews (i.e. soy-sauce chicken, braised pork, char siew). As the water level is not an issue, it make sense to use the enabler for better control over your braises. Here is where one can question if this is still "Sous Vide" cooking since it is no longer cooked "under vacuum." Call it whatever you may ( I will call it "Open Sous Vide"), these enabler devices simply allows me to cook this way. I don't need to worry about vacumn-packing my food. It can be used to make beer. Cool.

I have been using Sous Vide Magic (SVM) for more than 2 years now. Reliable and robust, it has been serving me very well. There are some very good Sous Vide gadgets out there (i.e. Annova, Nomiku) and today, we are indeed spoilt for choice. But I have not found a reason to add another SV gadget to SVM as yet.

Until I encountered Codlo. It looked promising on Kickstart and I was all too happy to support it. I have already wrote an earlier article about Codlo here. The people behind it (Grace & XI) are really nice and friendly folks and their service have been superb.

The pretty Codlo is a neat package with the sensor wrapping nicely around it to be tucked away or
used as a decor piece on your balcony table :).
Now that my Codlo has (finally!) arrived, it's time to give you my take on it. And you will be glad to know that it has all the advantages of an enabler device and more.

Codlo is elegant, beautiful and intelligently designed. The interface is intuitive. One switch each for power-on and starting the cooking process; and two sets of arrows for control of temperature and time. The colors of the LED lights and the "traffic light progress" bar indicator also acts as visual hints. It sticks nicely into the wall's power outlet and yes, no foot print is taken up on the kitchen table. The temperature sensor inserts at the bottom of Codlo and parallels the rice cooker power plug.

When not in use, just wrap the sensor around it and store away. Neat. And if you have a spare power outlet, just switch it off and leave it there.

I have been trying to teach my church's Food Ministry ladies how to use Sous Vide Magic and set the temperature and time clock but it has been difficult. Though I personally find SVM easy to use, Codlo is even more intuitive and will be easy to recommend to the average home cook.

As Codlo and SVM has no heating elements, it is a better bet when it comes to being robust, durable and reliable. I won't want to have a 48-hour short rib beef failing half-way through its cooking.

For homes with analogue rice cookers or electrical pots, Codlo or SVM is a great option.

If I can only choose one Sous Vide gadget, it will have to be Codlo for me. It has the widest range of cooking uses. And when you are cooking as regularly as I do, small details like neatness, compactness and ease of cleaning becomes a necessity. At £99, the price is also attractive.

I will still use my old faithful SVM as back up or for days when I need more than one SV gadget. There is enough room in the emerging market for SV appliances and I hope SVM will improve on it's design. Annova will be a nice addition for its versatility in terms of containers for that occasional large party cooking but I need to be sure that it is robust enough.

You can order your Codlo from here. Check for yourself on the details and specs. Do I need to add any disclaimer? I do not get any financial benefit from this (yes, I paid fully for my Codlo!). This post is just good advice to those curious about Sous Vide cooking and wondering about what gadget to go for.

This post does make a push for enabler devices and if the lab-like Sous Vide Magic interface is a turn off for you, here is one which is prettier and more intuitive.

Ed: You can read some of my posts on Sous Vide here.) 

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  1. Hi this post stated in details your preference for Codlo over that of Anova unlike your previous post introducing the gadget with the inventor. If I had read this, I believe I would have ordered the Codlo.
    I am expecting to receive the Anova gadget only somewhere early Jan 2015 instead of Oct 2014, a delay of 3 months. Ordered this over the Codlo as it was supposed to be earlier. Arrrggghh.
    Looking forward to more of your recipes on SV.

  2. Chao - Anova is very good too. I will be ordering that too at some point. It has some advantages like option for timer cut-off and controls from phone. Order the second generation, not the first. I also like their 30day back guarantee

  3. Hi, I just ordered the Codlo after reading your blog, and now waiting for it to arrive. First thing I wish to try is the roast pork belly. Can I ask if i don't have a vaccum sealer, can I put the meat into a ziplock bag to be immerse in the rice cooker? Any advise?


  4. JNM - you can use zip lock but ensure it is of good quality as it has to be SV for a few hours.

  5. Hi, I am back here again. I received the Anova appliances - 3 sets no less. Did try to offer to send you one to test it out but as I received no reply from you.
    Finding the items too big for my need, I sold off all 3 to people who are keen to learn Sou vide cooking.
    Now eyeing the Codlo but when I click on your link, it landed me here.
    Found the codlo website and will be hoping it go on promotion before ordering.