We’ve seen plenty of multi-functional cookers in the last few years, bringing us a single countertop appliance that can cook a whole load of dishes with very little work. They’re downright impressive. And while they’re the first things that came to mind when we first saw the Vermicular Musui-Kamado, this Japanese multi-cooker isn’t quite an exact fit in the same category.
For one, it doesn’t bear the familiar appearance of any of the modern multi-cookers. In fact, it’s marketed in Japan as some sort of rice cooker (complete with different automatic settings for different types of rice and finish), albeit one that can also roast, stew, slow-cook, sear, sauté, braise, and cook all other sorts of dishes. You know, like an Instant Pot. Only different.
Unlike modern multi-cookers, the Vermicular Musui-Kamado is made up of two sections: the Musui, a cast iron pot, and the Kamado, an electric induction cooktop sized to hold the companion pot. The Misui is actually a graphite cast-iron Dutch oven, so it comes with a tight-fitting lid designed to let out as little steam as possible, with nubs on the inner side to ensure it quickly drips back any evaporated water back to the food that’s cooking. This lid design is what makes it very good at the healthy practice of waterless cooking (cooking with as little water as necessary), as it can immediately return any water that’s naturally steamed out of the food. That means, you can use this to cook vegetables on low with a small puddle of oil for 45 minutes and come back to find a veritable veggie stew. It’s awesome.
The Kamado, on the other hand, works much like a regular induction cooker that you can set at any temperature and maintain it precisely within the available range. Unlike them, it doesn’t just heat from the bottom, but also through the surrounding walls of the pot, since the chamber is designed to hold the lower portion of the Musui’s sidewalls.
The Vermicular Musui-Kamado has streamlined heat settings that you can activate at the touch of a button, similar to standard induction cookers, while a built-in sensor automatically monitors and optimizes temperature, so your food will continue cooking at the precise heat levels without you having to stand by and watch. Those four single-touch heat settings are warm, extremely low, low, and medium, each of which sets it at 90, 230, 300, and 445 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. Even better, the temperature is manually adjustable at the warm setting, as you can put it anywhere from 90 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can have the food cooking exactly to your liking.
The Musui, by the way, can actually be used as a standalone Dutch oven, so you take it off the appliance and place it in the oven if you need hotter temperatures to finish off any dish. It has a 3.9-quart capacity, which makes it very usable for everyday cooking, with the entire thing measuring 12.2 x 11.7 x 8.2 inches (width x depth x height).
The Vermicular Musui-Kamado is available now, priced at $670.