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Wonderchef Nutri-Pot: High-pressure job

The press release called it “your personal robot,” so naturally EveryWoman is drawn to it. I had visions of this humanoid cutting up onions, washing the rice, deboning fish, and cleaning up the kitchen, as I threw up my feet up on the coffee table and sipped a G&T. The Wonderchef Nutri-Pot sadly does not do any of this. It doesn’t even vaguely look ‘robotic’. It’s a lesson in over-promising that brands should learn.

To be fair though, that isn’t the first thing the user manual says. At the start, it simply states what the 6-litre Nutri-Pot is: “It is a combination of 7 kitchen appliances in 1 — pressure cooker, steamer, yoghurt maker, sauté, rice cooker, warmer and slow cooker.” It’s true. It really is all of these things.

It goes on to tell you that the device uses microcomputer tech that controls humidity, pressure, time, depending on the 18 preset functions (including baby food). So if you put in dal and push the ‘Mutton Curry’ option, it’s not going to self-detect dal. The manual claims that said microchip also saves up to 40% electricity, as compared to a traditional rice cooker. Besides the preset dishes (rajma/chole, veg curry, soup, dal, cake (!), yoghurt, chicken and mutton curry, and more), there’s also a manual setting for when you’ve got the hang of using it.

The gadget looks and feels like a larger, heavier rice cooker, with a lot more buttons, but a nice dull steel, chunky plastic rimming, and a silicone gas kit. It’ll remind you of a solid German car that’s stodgy but perfect.

Then, you’ll have to read the manual — life is always harder before it becomes easier. You can ask your mum to cut the veggies, and dad to assemble the hardware (I did). What else are parents for (rhetorical question)? Any other family members around, and you can also ask them to figure out the device.

The step-by-step cookbook, with nutrition input, is the lifesaver, even though you may have to put up with Sanjeev Kapoor’s introductory note: “For years I have done shows and written my books with just one thought in mind — empower women by enabling them to cook better.” He’ll soon be doing Rosie the Riveter posters with himself on it.

Wonderchef Nutri-Pot Specs
  • Power: 1000 watts
  • Operating Voltage: 230 - 230 volts
  • Product Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 38 cm
  • Weight: 2.29 kg
  • Capacity: 6 litres
  • Includes: Nutri-Pot, spoon and measuring cup

The literature claims that the pot gives you healthier-than-fire-top food, but there’s no study quoted to back that claim. There’s also a nutritionist, Nahid Khilji, whose name is on the cover along with Sanjeev Kapoor’s picture, and they’ve apparently both put together the recipes. The cookbook itself, with a lot of the food in scary extreme close-up, looks like it’s trying too hard, with no serving sizes in the recipe and a nutrition count for the entire dish, so you’re never too sure how much you should consume. But let’s focus on the pot itself.

Here’s how it works: Say you’re making that mutton curry. You cut up the ingredients, fry them in the pot (they don’t burn easily, and you use the ‘Saute’ function). Then simply follow the instructions of putting in meat, adding water, clicking the lid into place. The problem for me was that the turning of the whistle — to either release or seal in the steam — seemed like just one more thing to do. It took me a couple of times and some burnt offerings to figure it out.

The thing is: the Nutri-Pot works — there are no over-promises there. The Delay Time function is handy. So if I want khichri about three hours from now and am stepping out to do some chores, I can simply pre-programme it to start cooking a little later. It also keeps food warm, so it’s handy for a person rushing home with a very hungry child or a very good metabolism.

Do I want it in my kitchen? Not particularly. Especially because when I have to make soup, I must still put it through the mixie. So I’d rather do a soup-maker. Also, my microwave has a yoghurt-making option, and I am way past the baby-food stage. So I’m an old cook you can’t teach new tricks to. Also, confession: I have a cook who does the rice-dal-veg thing. I suppose I escaped Sanjeev’s empowerment process. But that doesn’t mean the gadget doesn’t work for anyone.

It will work for those who are just picking up the basics of cooking because it’s really a different style of cooking from kadhai and frying pan. It’s the difference the gas stove made when people transitioned from open-fire cooking to it. The food probably didn’t taste the same, but it was just too convenient to ignore.

The Nutri-Pot makes a great gift for a wedding, a house-warming for a young couple, new parents, or a child going away to live alone in a place far from you. The unit retails for ₹6,999 in retail outlets and on

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2021 5:34:07 PM |

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