Induction cooktops have been a huge boon for Indian kitchens. They are quick, easy and though not economical, quite handy when you run out of gas. In fact, after my wedding, for the first few weeks after I shifted to my new place, I exclusively used an induction cooktop for all my meals as we still hadn’t got the gas connection. It was then that it occurred to me that not all utensils can be used on an induction stove. I had a Hawkins aluminium pressure cooker that I wasn’t able to use at all as it wasn’t induction compatible.
Nowadays, other than aluminium pressure cookers, hard-anodized aluminium Tawas from certain brands and copper cookware, most of the new cookware are induction compatible. But if in case, you don’t have any induction compatible cookware and if unfortunately, you have run out of gas, is there a way to use them on the induction cooktop? Let us explore.
Abroad, you get something called an induction interface disk at around $40( Rs.3000). In India, they cost more than double at around Rs. 6500/- It doesn’t make much sense buying it as you can rather buy some induction compatible cookware instead.
So, instead, we thought of trying some jugaad to find a method to use non-induction cookware on an induction cooktop. Basically, in an induction cooktop, electric current directly heats pots and pans through magnetic induction. So, we needed an interface that is flat, magnetic and a good conductor of heat. Fortunately, most kitchens have something that meets all these conditions.
Related reading: 5 Best Induction Cooktops In India
Cast Iron Tawa For Using Non-Induction Cookware On Induction Cooktop
A cast-iron Tawa is flat, magnetic and conducts heat fairly efficiently. So, it gets heated through magnetic induction and thermally induces the heat to the non-induction cookware.
This method would be helpful when you have no other way to cook on an induction cooktop. Otherwise, it isn’t preferred as there would be significant energy loss in the process. To understand further, we tried testing this method to see how long it would take to cook directly on the induction cooktop vs using the cast iron Tawa as an interface.
We filled a pressure cooker with 750 ml water and placed it on an induction stove with the cast iron Tawa acting as an interface. It took a whopping 30 minutes for the first whistle. For comparison, we tried boiling the water directly on the induction cooktop too. And it took just 8 minutes. Using an induction stove interface on the other hand would take just around 20 minutes.
Obviously, using an interface takes a longer time. But when you have no other option, it could be your only choice. To maximize efficiency, try and use Tawa and cookware of similar size.
If you look around in your kitchen, you may see other objects that may seem apt as an interface between non-induction cookware and induction stove. But not all may fit. First of all, they should be thick. That rules out many of the flat stainless steel lids you commonly see in the kitchen. Being flat, there is a high tendency that it could warp. The heat transfer rate could be even slower if the lid is not completely flat.
The method of using cast iron or an interface disk to use non-induction cookware on an induction cooktop works. But, it shouldn’t be used as a last resort, unless you have simply no other option as the energy loss is substantial in the process. You could rather buy a small induction compatible cookware from a nearby store and use it instead.