Having grown up in a large farmhouse with a huge oven, I have always wanted to have a similar oven in my urban home. As luck would have it though, our budget was tight and our kitchen space tiny. Further, as my partner argued, a bulky oven could not be carried around, since we had to travel quite often. This would only reinforce the cycle of junk food consumption and rising obesity which we wanted to escape from by purchasing an oven which cooked well in less time and with less oil.
Following extensive survey of big ovens with even bigger claims to efficiency and healthiness, we chanced upon the NuWave 20102 Oven at one of my colleagues’ homes during an informal visit. This infrared oven looked nothing like the metallic Goliaths I had held ovens to be until that moment. Even as I took in its compactness and light weight, my colleague gave me a long lecture about the benefits to be hand, while assuring me that the infrared oven was one of the easiest machines to operate.
We corroborated her information with reviews on the internet (more on this later), and decided to buy the NuWave 20102 Oven. Two months later, I have realized that all of what my colleague said was true. With a small structure made up of a base, cooking pan, Power Dome and Power Head, this oven can cook food in half the time required by a conventional oven. Furthermore, the NuWave 20102 Oven cooks food more evenly than any conventional oven I know of. From the health angle, this oven demands little oil for efficient cooking, thus helping me and my partner cut down on our calories. Needless to add, we are more than satisfied with our purchase. Having decided to share my insights with the world by means of a review, I will now proceed to explain in detail how this oven works, and why I am so satisfied with it.
- Compact and lightweight design ensures saving of kitchen space and portability
- No need to defrost or preheat the oven
- Cooks using hot air, thus eliminating the need for excessive use of oil
- Fat drippings from fatty foods removed using special removal method
- Digital controls with LCD display in Power Head
- Sturdy design for longevity, efficiency
- Parts (barring Power Head) are dishwasher safe
How To Prepare The NuWave 20102 Oven For Operation
Now that you know the main features and characteristics of this infrared oven, I will guide you quickly through the first time preparation of the oven for cooking. As I mentioned above, the NuWave 20102 Oven has just a few major components – Power Head, Power Dome, cooking pan and the base. In addition, you get a cooking rack and liner pan as well.
From personal experience, I have seen many sites list these parts as simply “NuWave oven parts” without specifying whether they are for the other NuWave models or for the NuWave Mini. Matters are made worse by the fact that the parts of the NuWave 20102 Oven correspond exactly to those of other NuWave models.As the name suggests however, the Mini has a different size and it is therefore necessary to find parts that are specific to this model and not generic to the other models. In the procedure given below, I will be assuming that you are using NuWave Mini parts at all times.
- To begin the preparation for use, you need to place the plastic base on a perfectly horizontal surface. Taking the liner pan, place it carefully inside the base. I would strongly advise against use of this liner pan anywhere except in the NuWave 20102 Oven since it is not meant for being placed under direct heat.
- This done, take the cooking rack and place it carefully on the pan, making sure that the fit is as perfect as between the liner pan and the base.
- Place the Power Dome over the base of the infrared oven. It should fit into the base without any distortion. This step is especially important because a bad fit may result in heat escaping the dome, thereby causing inefficient cooking.
- Now place the Power Head carefully onto the upper rim of the dome. Since the Power Dome of the Mini has a handle for carrying it around, you can lower the dome onto the rim using it.
- Carefully rotate the Power Head till the locks are engaged. Make sure the fit is just right, since a bad fit may lead to loss of heat and can cause burns as well.
Note : When raising the Power Head, make sure that it is held only by the handle provided, since holding the lower parts may cause burns to you and/or breakage of the the Power Head/Power Dome.
Cooking With The NuWave 20102 Oven
- Once the oven is assembled, you can begin cooking right away. Unlike other infrared ovens, there is no preheating required with the Mini. Instead, you can proceed with removal of the Power Head and Power Dome.
- To do this, hold the handle of the Power Head and remove it first. Thereafter, you can raise the Power Dome from the power base. Alternatively, you can use the dome holder, which is a nifty little piece of metal that you can use to support the dome and Power Head. To use the dome holder, simply place its two “legs” inside the handle of the base, and then raise the Power Dome as you normally would before allowing it to rest against the dome holder. In this position, you can move the dome holder away without causing the dome to fall off. Though you can do this for the dome alone, it makes sense to lower the dome with Power Head attached, so as to save the time needed for removing the Power Head.
- If the cooking rack is already placed inside, you can simply place the food (see notes on cooking below) onto the cooking rack. This will be the rule of thumb for virtually every dish out there, since it allows the fat and grease from the food to percolate in the pan below. This percolation saves you from consuming harmful fats and grease, thus reducing your cholesterol intake substantially.
- Replace the dome on the base and ensure that it is properly inserted. Plug in the power adapter and turn it on.
- Select the timing from the control panel on the Power Head (see Notes on Cooking, Power Controls below), and choose the timing. Press start to begin cooking.
- Once the time is up, NuWave 20102 Oven will beep a few times. Remove the Power Head and Power Dome carefully. While you are free to hold the handle on the Power Head or the base, avoid touching the Power Dome as it will be very hot.
- If you need to flip the foods and cook again, then replace the Power Dome after flipping and set the timer again. Repeat the procedure until cooking is complete.
Notes On Cooking
- Though you do not need to oil the food, it is advisable to apply a minimal amount of olive oil or water to the surface of meats and fishes. This helps the seasoning stick to the food you are cooking, thus improving the taste.
- When cooking foods that give out fats and grease, it is advisable to place a tinfoil over the liner pan, so as to avoid having to clean the pan again and again.
- Unless otherwise specified, you should add vegetables to meat dishes after you have flipped the food the first time. This is also a good time to apply seasonings which have a strong flavor.
- The cooking time varies with the size and weight of the food cooked, and you should check the exact cooking time. Also, cooking time is often given in terms the time taken to cook one side. In most cases, total cooking times should be exactly double that.
- The NuWave 20102 Oven cooks food much faster than conventional ovens, with cooking times (in my personal experience) usually being half that of conventional ovens. Hence, you should halve the time given in a recipe for conventional ovens when using this infrared oven. The best option, however, would be to experiment with simpler recipes (a simple salmon dish for instance takes 20 minutes) before taking on complex ones.
The NuWave oven comes with a LCD display and a number of buttons on either side and below it. Though the LCD display is slightly smaller than that on other digital NuWave ovens, it is sufficient to see the time, etc. clearly. Operating the control panel is also quite simple.
- Press the Clear Button on the right of the display to return the settings to default.
- Press the timer button on the left, and decide the time using the number keys that are placed below the LCD display.
- The default temperature is set to High. This can be changed by pressing the upper button on the left of the LCD display.
- Once the time and temperature are set, press the Start button to begin cooking.
Maintenance For Your NuWave Mini
In my opinion, there is little point in having a portable oven if it takes hours to clean it up. Thankfully, cleaning up the NuWave 20102 Oven is a relatively simple task. As I mentioned in the features, all parts except the Power Head are dishwasher proof. Once the oven has cooled down sufficiently, you can carefully raise the cooking rack and thereafter the liner pan. These can be placed in the dishwasher and washed with any detergents that you would normally use in the kitchen. The oven head can also be placed in the dishwasher without any issues.
However, since the Power Head is not dishwasher friendly, other parts of the NuWave 20102 Oven should not be brought into contact with it unless they are completely dry. Otherwise, water can seep into the Power Head and cause the Power Head to malfunction. To clean the Power Head, gently wipe with a clean cloth, taking due care to ensure there is no excess liquid left on it.
To give you an idea of just how portable the NuWave 20102 Oven is, I have listed the major statistics of the appliance below: Dimensions – 13.8 x 10.5 x 10.8 inches Product Weight – 6 pounds
The NuWave 20102 Oven is made by Hearthware, which offers its standard 1-year warranty for the appliance. This warranty covers all aspects of the oven, but may be voided if you operate the oven in an improper way or try to add/remove internal components on your own.
- Extremely light and portable
- Does not demand excessive use of oil
- Cooks food much faster than average ovens
- Removes fat/grease from food, thus reducing calorie intake
- Control panel is very simple
- Reasonably priced
- LCD panel is slightly smaller than on other NuWave ovens
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I had purchased the NuWave 20102 Oven after substantial research, and while writing this review I ran another quick check of customer opinions. Most of the reviews, now as before, commend the quality of the food cooked in the Mini. They also praised the build quality of the device, especially the dome of the appliance. A few users complained that without the cooking time chart at hand, one could end up overcooking the food. This advice holds true, but I see it as more of a complement than a critique of the oven’s capabilities.
It is difficult to find ovens that are light, and though I would not advise putting the NuWave 20102 Oven through too much rough treatment, it is indeed portable. At the same time, the Mini possesses substantial advantages over conventional ovens, including even cooking, no need for oil and much faster cooking times. Together, they tend to make this oven the perfect appliance for fast, efficient and healthy cooking. All of these features combine to make it the ideal oven for those who want a good healthy meal without compromising on kitchen space or their busy schedules.