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Sous Vide Cooking
What is sous vide?
Sous vide is a method of cooking food in a low temperature water bath while your ingredients are under a vacuum seal in a plastic bag. The phrase itself is French for 'under vacuum'. The basic steps to cooking sous vide are putting your ingredients in an air-tight sealed food-safe plastic bag, heating a water bath, dropping your sealed ingredients in the bath, and waiting for them to cook to perfection.
A common misconception is that sous vide involves boiling your ingredients. That is not true. When you cook sous vide, you never reach boiling point (100C). All sous vide cooking takes place below 100C. Below this temperature, the best and most favorable chemical reactions in your food occur. This means your food will be delicious and perfect each time.
Can I cook my favorite recipe with sous vide?
You don’t need to throw out your Grandma’s favorite recipes to cook with Nomiku. Here’s a foolproof way to convert a traditional cooking approach to a low temperature one:
- Prepare meat before cooking in the same way as traditional recipe. If there is a marinade, do the marinade in the same way. If there is a sear before a long cook, you should do the sear. If onions are caramelized before being used, they should be cooked. If there is a dry rub, apply that to the meat. However, hold off on salt and acid, as that can dry out or cook the food.
- If there is a braising liquid, use about 1/4 cup per 1 quart bag. Use bagsoakeat.com to find the time and temperature for cooking your particular cut of meat.
- Add meat to the bags and cook at the suggested temperature for the suggested time.
- After cooking, remove the meat (carefully, it may be very tender) and reserve any liquids left in the bag.
- Add the bag liquids to a small sauce pot and add any additional seasonings to make the sauce (for example, salt or acid or finishing herbs). Reduce over high heat until the desired sauce consistency is achieved.
- Sear the meat for 30 seconds on each side. Then plate and add sauce.
What can I cook sous vide?
Proteins like beef, fish, and eggs do especially well when cooked sous vide, but most ingredients in your culinary repertoire can be cooked to perfection using sous vide. There are some things to avoid, however, like leafy green vegetables and pastas. Sous vide is also not substitute for baking, so you’re not going to being pulling any perfectly baked cakes or cookies out of your waterbath.
I’m new to sous vide cooking. Where can I go to find recipes?
Glad you asked! We’ve been long-time sous vide fans and have posted our favorite recipes on our site Bag Soak Eat, where you can find other new recipes, share ideas, and see what other sous vide lovers are cooking up!
Is it safe to cook in plastic?
This is a common and understandable concern.
Modern food safe plastic bags are plasticizer-free and will not release harmful chemicals into your food while it is being cooked. Strong vacuum-sealable bags that are often used in the food industry are especially safe for sous vide. When cooking sous vide, the plastic that touches your food is made of polyethylene and has no plasticizers or estrogen-like compounds (another common concern when cooking with plastic) and thereby have no BPAs or phthalates that will leech into your food.
When looking for a bag to use, make sure they are food safe well over 100C (even though in sous vide cooking you will rarely go above 70C) and are NOT organic, plant-based, or reusable–even though we encourage you to do Mother Nature a solid and recycle any food safe bags you do choose to use.
Also make sure your bag does not have the “sliding” closure, instead, opt for the traditional double seal that you can feel and hear the “click-click-click” of. It’ll ensure no water gets into your ingredients. It’s like sous vide music to the ears.
Can I get botulism?
If you heat proteins up to 55C (131F) in four hours, you can avoid botulism dangers.
Botulism can become an issue if you commit some sous vide no-nos. While botulism occurs in an anaerobic environment like in a vacuum seal, pasteurization is a combination of both time AND temperature. If you make sure that you’re cooking at or above the temperature listed above and sous vide for an appropriate amount of time (you’ll be sous viding for at least a few hours on most recipes anyways), those pesky bacteria will not get a chance to grow.
Improper storage can also cause your food to become contaminated, so if you plan on keeping your yummy sous vide treat after you’re done cooking it, make sure you cool it down in ice bath and then either freeze it or store it in the fridge. If you sous vide something, let it cool, and store it at room temperature, you run the risk of contaminating your food with botulism. A good general rule of thumb for storage is to put your food into an ice water bath after it has been cooked, store it in the fridge or freeze, and then reheat it when you’re ready in the recipe dictated temperature waterbath.
Nomiku also comes equipped with warning icons that will light-up on its touch screen. If you are cooking your food within the FDA-assigned danger zone where there may be harmful bacteria growth, the Nomiku display numbers will turn yellow.
Do I need a vacuum sealer?
While it is ideal to use a vacuum sealer with sous vide cooking, it is not your only option. Please see this topic discussed in this Cooking Issues post.
In short, if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can use the barometric pressure from the water to give your food a great seal like in the pictures above. We here at Nomiku use this method regularly.
Check out our video on Water Displacement here.
What kind of vessel should I use for my water bath?
A pot you already own with a height of at least 8” inches can make a perfectly good water bath for your Nomiku. However, if you’re in the market for a dedicated vessel, this container from Cambro is Nom-approved.
In general, we recommend 12 quart containers that are made from polycarbonate, PC and NOT from polypropylene, PP. Containers made from PP are only good for storage and not for hot liquids.
If you’d like to go with a non-plastic vessel, this ceramic crock is a great option.
The first-generation Nomiku (Nomiku Classic) was released in 2012 as the first compact immersion circulator designed with home cooks in mind. The follow-up product, Nomiku WiFi, ships late 2015.
What are the main differences between the first generation Nomiku and the WiFi version?
Glad you asked! The WiFi version of Nomiku, besides the obvious wireless capability, is smaller and more powerful than the first-gen Nom and comes with a larger screen, and a larger more tactile knob. The WiFi Nomiku is also outfitted with a front-facing clip for easier access. Now you don’t need to reach across a steaming waterbath to touch (or just giving a loving caress) to your Nomiku. The new WiFi Nomiku is also just one singular unit. The attached powerbox of the first Nomiku is no more. Just like the first Nomiku, the temperature range will be between 0 and 95C.
How do I know if I need the 120V or the 240V Nomiku?
Great question! In general, the 120V version of Nomiku is compatible with United States and Canadian residents. The 240V version is generally compatible with international residents. Note that this is just a general rule of thumb; be sure to check the voltage system on which you’d be operating your Nomiku to make sure, as some countries outside the US and Canada have regions that operate on a 120V system, such as Japan and areas of Brazil.
You may also find this page to be helpful in figuring out what Nomiku you need.
Please also note that we plan to ship international orders via a UK location to help alleviate tax and custom fees.
What does Nomiku mean?
“Nomiku” is a shortening of the Japanese “Nomikui” (飲み食い) which means “eating and drinking”. Pretty appropriate, no?
How can I cut-down on Nomiku’s energy use?
Nomiku is a powerful appliance, but there are some great ways to decrease how much energy it has to use to heat your water bath.
For example, cut a hole in the lid of a food storage container or cooler that can fit the shaft of Nomiku. You can use the container as the water bath vessel. Close the lid and insert the Nomiku in the hole.
The closed lid allows for better heat retention and stifles evaporation, which can also eat more energy.
How do I clean Nomiku?
The Nomiku Classic is not safe for dishwasher use.
Instead, after you’ve finished using Nomiku, let it cool down (don’t want you to get hurt!). Clip Nomiku onto a pot and fill it with water up to the “Max” level indicated on the device.
Next set the temperature on Nomiku to 65C and add a 1/2 tablespoon of non-foaming dishwashing liquid for every gallon of water used.
After 65C is reached on Nomiku, allow the water to circulate for ten minutes. After the 10 minutes, turn off Nomiku, rinse its bottom with cool water, carefully dry, and store.
If there is some build-up in your Nomiku after repeated use and you need to descale – which may occur in places with hard water – you can follow the directions above, but instead set Nomiku to 80C and use a 1/4 cup citric acid powder for every gallon of water used and allow Nomiku to circulate for 30 minutes after 80C is reached.
How much water can Nomiku heat?
Nomiku can heat up to five gallons of water. We recommend using a container that is 10 inches tall. Stock or soup pots are ideal. Dutch ovens are typically too short.
Can Nomiku heat things besides water?
No. See our Safety Guide.
How accurately does Nomiku heat the water?
Nomiku comes outfitted with a one-of-a-kind heating element and can heat water within 0.2C of the temperature you set it to. For example, if Nomiku is set to 80C, the water will be at 79.8C or 80.2C.
What is Nomiku's maximum temperature?
The maximum temperature for Nomiku devices is 95°C (203°F); however, most recipes will call for temperatures between 50°C and 85°C.
Troubleshooting Nomiku Classic
My Nomiku dial is not turning
To keep Nomiku’s body water resistant, the sensor placed in the green knob that is responsible for temperature change is infrared and will not function correctly in direct light, so if your Nomiku’s dial does not seem to be changing the temperature correctly (or the temperature shifts by itself), try taking it out of direct light. Please note that this also includes any other bright lights that may be directed at your Nomiku’s green knob like the light from your kitchen stove’s hood. If it still doesn’t seem to function properly, please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warning symbols are on the screen and won’t go away!
If you find that the warning symbols on your screen won’t go away no matter how many times you turn your Nomiku on and off, it may be because you had originally shut Nomiku off improperly (like unplugging it from the outlet).
The proper way to shut off Nomiku is to hold the screen for about three seconds until it shuts down, then unplug it from the wall.
To remedy warning icons that won’t disappear, simply shut your Nomiku off properly then plug it back in and turn it on–they should be gone now.
Do I have to be at home to use WiFi?
Nope! You’ll be cooking with the cloud! Any internet connection—your home’s native WiFi or otherwise—can be used to connect to your Nomiku. Any device with a browser is fair game!
What’s the point of having WiFi with my Nomiku?
It’s all about feeling and staying connected to your Nomiku and your kitchen. While your Nomiku is perfectly cooking your food, you can leave the house worry-free. Check up on your cook while you’re at work or on the bus, and make any necessary changes to the time and temp if you need while you’re not there.
Here’s a perfect situation for when WiFi comes in handy:
Say you wake up for work and you have a hankering for a perfectly sous vide steak for when you get home. Simply seal it and drop it in your Nomi-waterbath before you leave. Set your Nomiku to a pasteurizing temp (55C for steak). At this temp, your ingredient will very slightly cook and will hold safely. When you’re about an hour away, just set your water bath to cooking temp, and come home to the perfect steak!
What’s the difference between WiFi and Bluetooth?
Having WiFi establishes a more stable and versatile connection when you’re home and when you’re away from it. Bluetooth is limited to a range of about 40 feet.
What’s the Tender app all about?
The Tender app provides you with a platform to create and share your favorite sous vide recipes. The format is templated so recipes are easy to create, easy to follow, and easy to understand. Now when you see your friend cooking something amazing, you can do it too. Just grab his/her recipe and send it directly to your Nomiku. You just drop in the ingredients and let Nomiku take care of the rest.
Plus, Tender can be used as a remote control for all your wireless sous vide devices.
Will the Nomiku WiFi work without the WiFi connection and/or app?
Yup, of course! Whether or not you want to use the WiFi is up to you-your Nomiku will still sous vide for you either way.
I’m a Kickstarter backer. When will I get my Nomiku WiFi?
Nomiku is projected to ship in December 2015. The 240V (International) version does not have a definite ship date just yet, but we will know more once we submit for safety certification. We’ll of course keep you posted on our progress and next steps (like shipping addresses, etc.) in regular Kickstarter updates. You’re always welcome to email us as well at email@example.com.
I preordered the Nomiku WiFi. When am I going to get it?
You rock—thank you for ordering! The WiFi Nomikus for North American Kickstarter backers are slated to ship in late Q4 2015. For those of you who preordered, they will arrive shortly after. When your Nomiku is on the way, you’ll get an email.
Troubleshooting Nomiku WiFi
Your Nomiku comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, so if your Nomiku is malfunctioning due to a manufacturing error, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know and we will get back to you quickly with how to proceed. We apologize for any trouble it may have caused you and any delays in delicious food reaching your mouth.
Unfortunately, if your Nomiku isn’t working because you dropped it, misused it, or in any way caused damages to it yourself, Nomiku can help you troubleshoot, but cannot replace it or fix it without a fee.