September 7, 2008

Features of a Portable Convention Oven (a.k.a. Turbo Broiler)

(This entry is specially for JQ and any others who might be interested to find out the great use of this cooking gadget)

11 months ago, I bought a turbo broiler. My mum in Singapore has been using one like this to cook and roast and grill meats. Her specialty is roast pork (a.k.a. siow bak or 烧肉), the chinese way. Ask any one of my family and rellies, they will vouch for it and drool at the mention of it.

Roast pork or siow bak or 烧肉: Photo was taken during CNY 2007

When I moved to Brisbane in August last year, I was contemplating buying a broiler from Singapore to bring over because I heard that it is not readily available for sale. Once while visiting a friend in Brisbane, I saw that they own a unit and they bought it from Big W for about A$78. A similar unit in Singapore (different brand) retails for about S$99. I was delighted when hubby saw it on sale on catch of the day. With shipping cost included (delivery to doorsteps), it cost just under A$65 and it is exactly the model as that sold in Big W. There are much pricer versions at David Jones and Myers (at least A$200... and I wonder who buys them!)

Since then, I have seen it in a couple more Asian homes. Essentially the broiler is a convention oven but it has a few advantages over an oven: its portability, self-cleaning option, see-through glass container base, application of hot air directly onto the food. My mum claims that using this to roast pork produces a better result than the normal oven.
Brand - "Cooking Essentials". Timer dial and temperature dial. There is a 'temperature' for thaw or wash on the right. I have never used it for thawing. To wash, simply add water into the glass bowl, add a bit of dishwashing soap and 'cook' it for 10 mins. Pour the water away and wipe dry.

Underside of the lid. This is where the hot air is blown out and onto the food. I should have been more conscientious with cleaning the oil stains away after I used it each time. Now it seems those brown oil stains cannot be removed :(
Standard inclusion in the turbo broiler - a tall rack, a shorter rack, a pair of holder tongs and a recipe book (not in photo)
My mum uses the short rack on a metal plate and place it in the broiler. This makes it easier to clean up. Mum brought the plate from SG as I could not find suitable ones from Brissy. Add a piece of baking paper (my mum used aluminium foil) in between as above, and you may just throw it away (with all the oil and grease). If you cannot find a metal plate, you may put the baking paper at the bottom of the cooker and then place the rack on top of it.
The cooker will start when you put the handle down. If it is up (in right picture), the cooker will stop
Definitely a good buy - perfect for all meats and fish to grill and roast instead of deep frying. It is big enough to fit in a large size chicken. But I am not sure if it will fit a turkey... perhaps a small one. I have tried baking a cake with it a long time ago but it created a crater in my cake. That's because the hot air is blowing from the top of the cooker. I may attempt this again but by using a lower temperature setting.

13 other thoughts:

Anonymous said...

wow, nifty! and fun too - you can sit there for hours and watch it cook! ky

zunev said...

Hi! This is venus.
i have a turbo broiler or turbo oven (whichever), i need to bake and i don't know how, i tried baking a brownie cake but took me almost 2hrs and yet, it was unevenly baked. :(

some parts are still moist while some are really dry and as hard as cookies!

do you have any baking instructions or recipes using turbo ovens?

thank you.:)

island said...

hi venus, sorry to reply so late. the only time i used this broiler to bake cake turned out bad too. i mostly use this to cook meats.

when you buy the broiler, it should come with an instruction/recipe book? i've not tried any in mine. if you want some recipes, drop me an email at

belinda-tang said...

Oh what excellent suggestions! I love the brains behind using the rack, parchment paper and metal plate to minimise the staining when roasting chicken.

I am so glad I saw this. Today we dug up the turbo broiler my mum bought in the 80s and used just once. Ours is all metallic, so gosh can't see it cooking. Shall be trying it out next week!!

Rather discouraging that cakes don't seem to do well in this gadget. I am going to try out a dessert that may work, and if successful will come back and post again ^-^

island said...

have fun, belinda! i hope that it will work out well :)

huan said...

hi... are u still using this? Is it useful cos they r have sales at carrefour now.. Considering if I should buy it....

island said...

hi huan,i am not using it as much because i have a normal oven now. but yes, if you can get it cheap, should really consider getting it. very useful :)

Anonymous said...

Nice article.what soup do you use for cleaning? Or can plain water do? And up to what level do you fill d broiler? Up to brim? Or half-way? Quarter? Thanks.

island said...

hi anonymous, i think my instruction manual tells me to fill it with about 2-3cm of water. to that, i add 1-2 squeeze of dishwashing detergent. i will then turn on to the "wash" mode and leave it to do its job for about 15 mins. empty the water, wipe dry to clean.

silachart lau said...

Hi, can u use it to fry fries?

island said...

hi silachart, not quite. you can use it to cook frozen fries, just like you would use an oven. for this is really quite like a normal fan forced oven :)

Margaux said...

The sales clerk said that you should not put water in the bowl. She even said that you can’t heat soup because it can cause malfunction

island said...

hi margaux, washing the bowl with water in the bowl is as per instruction manual.

i don't think you are supposed to put soup straight into the bowl itself. i wouldn't. (sorry, i had a typo earlier. it was meant to be "soap" in the water)

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