TV ads have been running for the StoneWave Cooker, a small stoneware dish that’s 5″ in diameter and 2″ high, with a removable conical top that’s 2″ high at the peak. I recently bought two, and here is what one looks like:
The dish and top are dishwasher-safe, but unlike a tajine which can be used on the stovetop, the StoneWave Cooker cannot be used on a stovetop, in the oven, or in the convection setting of a microwave. It’s recommended only for standard microwave use.
What’s a tajine, you ask? It’s a 2-part clay pot without a handle, consisting of a dish with low-rising sides and a conical top. It’s designed so that almost all the steam used to cook the food hangs out at the bottom where the food is, instead of escaping out the top. The tajine is used mostly in Moroccan and North African cooking, and for some Middle Eastern dishes. The term is also used for the food dish prepared in the pot, as well as the pot itself (i.e., lamb tajine). It’s a true one-pot meal…the food is cooked and served in the tajine. Tajines come in many sizes and designs, both plain and elaborate. Simple 10-1/2″ diameter tajines can be purchased on Amazon.com for around $32.99, as well as from other merchants specializing in African cookware. Google images for “tajine” and you’ll find photos of the pots as well as the recipes prepared in them.
So here I was, trying to decide what to prepare in the StoneWave cooker for lunch. I had some fresh shelled peas in the fridge, so I put those into the cooker along with a little butter, garlic, and ground black pepper. I put the top on the cooker and nuked it on high for about a minute and a half. A potholder may be necessary when grabbing the handle to remove the cooker from the microwave, depending on how long you cook the dish. You definitely do need it to remove the top from the pot. “Let stand 1 minute before serving” does NOT work here…you need to leave the top on at least 3 minutes, because the steaming while standing is a crucial element of cooking with one of these things, as it is with a proper tajine. The time needed for leaving the top on depends on what you’re cooking…for vegetables with a skin like peas, you’ll need to leave it on longer unless you like them ‘al dente.’
This cooker comes with a starter booklet for making simple recipes within 5 minutes, from omelettes to desserts. From there, you can create just about any small meal. You can cook without oils or fats, so it’s conducive to preparing healthy meals in reasonable portions.
Because I like to try my hand at exotic dishes, especially curries, meat-and-vegetable dishes, couscous, etc. in one pot if possible, I plan to buy a real tajine sometime soon. And because I have a gas stove, I’ll need to buy a heat diffuser to use with it. A diffuser is not needed for cooking on an electric stove.