This week, after many months of researching and searching, I have finally, finally found a small slow cooker. Up until now the smallest I’ve found is a 3.2 litre capacity. I’ve asked large retailers all to no avail, but this week heard from a friend of a friend that the Target store in Hobart stocks a 1.5 litre model.
I immediately raced into Hobart to purchase one. When I found that they cost a mere $13.30 per slow cooker with this week’s 30% discount, I bought two (as you would).
I am currently writing a second slow cooker book, and have had many requests for smaller amounts for smaller families. Even 3.2 litre capacity results in way too much for couples or singles. I have had here an old Monier 1 litre capacity slow cooker, the crock pot produced en masse in the 1970s. It only cooks on Low, as it was designed to do. It had been wonderful for cooking things very slowly, but if you wanted to cook a casserole on the High setting, say within 4 to 5 hours, it was not possible. The model I purchased a couple of days ago has settings for High, Low and Keep Warm. Perfect. I’ve spent the last few days inventing recipes for it (it doesn’t come with an actual recipe book).
I think that the 1.5 litre slow cooker will be a great asset for small families. It would even be possible to cook a small roast or piece of silverside. You would just need to ask your butcher to cut a small piece for you, much as you would purchase a half leg of lamb for instance.
One of the best uses for this small cooker is to cook porridge overnight. I never seem to be organised to cook it in the morning and don’t really like the flavoured or plain instant sachets. Oats are a particularly healthy breakfast option so I tried for quite a while to cook porridge in a slow cooker but seemed to end up with a stodgy, gloopy mass that was unpalatable and frankly plain inedible. The secret I have now found is to use steel cut oats, not rolled oats which you can purchase steel from health food stores.
All you need to do before you go to bed is place ½ cup of these oats in the small slow cooker and add 2½ cups water and a tiny pinch of salt. Stir to combine and place the lid on the cooker. Cook overnight on Low. All you need to do next morning is give it a bit of a stir and serve with whatever you like – honey, fruit, milk, yoghurt and so on.
Of course, if you have a larger family, use a 3.2 to 3.5 litre capacity slow cooker and increase the amounts to 1 cup steel cut oats and 5 cups of water.
Here is one of those recipes I’ve put together for my beloved small slow cooker – it’s a Vegetable Korma – really tasty. It can be used as a side dish or a main meal for a vegetarian, served with couscous, naan breads, pappadums or rice.
50g kumara (sweet potato)
1 small onion, diced finely
1 ½ teaspoons grated green ginger root
1 clove garlic, crushed
165ml coconut milk
3 teaspoons sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon mustard powder
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons tomato paste
Peel the potatoes, pumpkin and parsnip and cut into 1cm cubes. Place in slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Place lid on cooker and cook for 3 hours on High or 5 to 6 hours on Low.