Sous vide cooking, once the preserve of restaurants and chefs with exorbitantly expensive equipment, has been in the reach of the keen home cook for a few years now with a number of companies producing sous vide water ovens for a few hundred pounds. For those with shallower pockets, and some knowledge of electronics, it is perfectly possible to use a temperature probe and thermostat to turn a slow cooker into a sous vide. I asked Ed to Macgyver me one – Maplin and Screwfix would have provided all the bits but we never got round to it.
A more elegant solution comes in the form of the Codlo, which converts your analogue slow or rice cooker into a sous vide. You simply dunk the temperature probe into a slow cooker full of water, plug the cooker into the Codlo, then the Codlo into an electric socket. Set the temperature and cooking time and away you go. The Codlo turns the power on and off to keep the water at a set temperature. The device costs £119, so considerably cheaper than a traditional sous vide, and importantly for us is considerably smaller, fitting into the slow cooker when not in use, effectively not taking up any space, as well as being British made. The Codlo is a winner on all accounts.
The Codlo is both attractive (available in red, green and black) and easy and intuitive to use, simply plug in and go. The display works on a traffic light system – red for stop (whilst heating), yellow for cooking, and green once done. I usually fill the slow cooker with tap hot water, pour in half a kettle of boiling water and swish it around, then leave it to come to temperature which takes about 15 – 30 minutes.
A slow cooker is smaller then the average sous vide machine so there is usually a 5C drop in temperature when you add the food, but the water soon comes back to temperature – although speeds will depend on the power of the slow cooker – ours is about 10 years old and fairly low wattage and is admittedly quite slow.
Codlo Technical Specs
- 2.4″ tri-colour wide-angled LCD display
- Enhanced temperature stability with the adaptive algorithm
- Traffic light progress bar indicator
- Compatible with manual/analogue switch cookers up to 1kW for all regions
- Available in 110V-120V and 220V-240V versions for UK, European, Australian, New Zealand and US-style plugs
- Temperature resolution: 0.1°C / 0.1°F
- Temperature setting range: 20°C-90°C / 68°F-194°F
- Temperature stability (once settled): ±0.2°C / ±0.4°F
- Timer setting range: 1 min to 99 hours
- Timer resolution: 1 min
I am very impressed with the device and the ease and accessibility of use – it has a far smaller footprint then a sous vide, and is considerably lighter (I can’t lift a full sous vide). This means I use it on a regular basis and sous vide has become a regular way of cooking. the only disadvantage is you cannot cook as much food as you would in a regular sous vide (although as Kavey suggests you could wire it up to a tea urn) but that is not a problem for most people.
If you are interesting in sous vide cooking, have a cheap and cheerful low cooker then the Codlo does everything it promises and is a great entry into the market. Get one here.
Recipe: Sous Vide Chicken Thighs in Sticky BBQ Sauce
For the Chicken
- 4 chicken thighs - boned and skinless
- 2 tsb Old Bay or a BBQ spice rub
For the BBQ Sauce
- 4 tsp Soft brown sugar
- 2 tbs Soy sauce or tamari
- dash liquid smoke
- dash Tabasco or other hot sauce
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tbs tomato sauce or relish
- Set your sous vide to 66C/ 151F and allow to come to temperature
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with kitchen paper then evenly sprinkle the Old Bay on them. Seal into a Sous Vide pouch, or food safe thick plastic bag using the water displacement method.
- Cook in the sous vide for 90 minutes.
- Place all the ingredients for the BBQ sauce into a bowl and mix.
- Once the chicken thighs are cooked, remove from the sous vide and plastic pouch, reserving any juices.
- Fry the chicken in a little oil over a high heat for 30 seconds each side to brown it, add the cooking juices and the BBQ sauce, stir well and allow to reduce to a shiny glaze coating the chicken.
We received a Codlo sous vide to review. All opinions our own.