Panasonic CS-894 steam microwave review:
When I see the words ‘chaos defrost’ I get irrationally excited. The Panasonic CS-894 steam microwave uses chaos theory to work out a random series of a microwave pulses to defrost meat and bread more evenly than normal. In a sense it gives you a flavour of this sexy, hi-tech multi-functional device. It’s big, sleek and wouldn’t look out of place in the mess of the Starship Enterprise.
The CS-894 has a 32 litre capacity which is plenty for family meals and with its three shelf positions and ‘no turntable’ design can take large rectangular dishes and make the most of its space. It comes with a wire oven shelf, glass shelf, enamel shelf and steaming trivet and features 2-Level Convection Cooking and Inverter Technology. Beneath the pull-down door sits a drip tray and a water reservoir for steaming.
The controls are simple for such a sophisticated device as well as being very intuitive. Just touch the appropriate button and then swipe to create the settings and it will steam, bake, grill or microwave your nosh. With its ‘Combi’ function it can combine these features. Now I haven’t used a kitchen gizmo of this complexity before-though I once had a hot and steamy relationship with a steamer oven – but the idea of combining steaming and microwaving was a bit discombobulating. However the machine has an intelligent programme called ‘Autosense’ that for a handy list of basic meals such as pizza, stew or baked potatoes automatically works out the weight, cooking time and process for you.
So for my initial review of the machine I decided to go down the ‘Autosense’ route. I placed six medium potatoes on the rack, each pricked a few times with a fork, pressed two buttons and watched with awe as the machine spent a couple of minutes configuring itself and then embarked on a tantalizing thirty minute countdown. Half an hour later my baked potatoes were ready, perfectly cooked, the skin slightly crispy and hot and fluffy on the inside. In a normal oven it would have taken twice as long to achieve similar results so this was a real win.
Chilled pizza was the next ‘Autosense’ challenge. Combining the grill, oven and microwave it took about nine minutes and delivered a pizza with nicely charred edges but a bottom that could have been crisper-but again this would have taken twice as long in a conventional oven.
With a self-cleaning programme and an easy-to-clean fluoric coating, looking after the CS-894 is a doddle. However I would recommend a good read of the manual as the machine has so many possibilities that you might struggle without doing so. Essentially you need to know which buttons to push. The manual is very thorough and has lots of great ideas for meals.
Over the next few months I’m looking forward to trying out some more complex recipes, blogging about them and sharing them with you. I’m particularly excited about the Turbo Steam option so watch this space!
Panasonic CS-894steam microwave