The sous vide method has proven to be a nifty science trick for modern chefs. Want to make a cheap cut of steak or bunch of carrots melt like butter? Throw them in a thermal immersion circulator for a half-day and revel in the results.
Sous vide cooking using a immersion circulator is essentially like turning on a space-age slow cooker: You vacuum seal whatever you'd like to cook in a plastic bag, then place it in a water bath circulating at a constant temperature for several hours or days at a time until the food item has been slowly poached, without losing any of its essential juices or flavor. Forget those infomercial chicken roasters -- an immersion circulator is the real "set it and forget it."
But although immersion circulators have been a staple of restaurant kitchens (and Top Chef episodes) for the past decade, they haven't been very practical for the home cook. Many commercial models cost more than $1,000 and are fitted with more control knobs and buttons than the Apollo space capsule.
That's where the Nomiku, a hand-held circulator about the size of a bicycle pump, looks to fill a culinary niche. It's a portable immersion circulator that clips onto any pot of water and gives home cooks the ability to sous vide to their heart's content at temperatures up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. There's only one button, too -- tap a touchscreen to turn it on, turn the knob to set the temperature, then tap the screen again to start circulating.
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Nomiku's designer have launched a Kickstarter site to help put the device into full-scale production, raising more than $150,000 in the past week alone. In fact, a $299 pledge to the project will get you a pre-ordered Nomiku of your own, as well as a share in the claim that you helped bring evenly cooked foods to the masses.