Finding the best cookware is never an easy task because there are so many different brands in the market today that offer almost similar functionalities at possibly the same price range too.
When I finally had my own place after getting married, I stocked up my kitchen with a whole bunch of fanciful kitchen tools and gadgets but paid no attention to the different types of cookware out there. And I bought those run-of-the-mill pots and pans that were relatively inexpensive but I didn’t care so long they served their purpose.
One day as I was frying eggs, I saw and smelled foul fumes coming out from my non-stick frying pan which was bought from a decent home furnishing & appliance store in Singapore. That was kinda scary. I couldn’t imagine what would have happened if that awful and disgusting ‘toxic’ goes into our stomach after eating food that was cooked in that pan. I just had to throw the pan away which was clearly a waste of money because I barely used the pan for more than 5 times!
And on another occasion, I was trying out this Korean brand of cast aluminium cookware with ceramic non-stick coating. First use turned out fine. Subsequent uses were nightmares. Whether it was vegetable or meat, everything stuck to the bottom and got charred easily even with the use of cooking oil. Needless to say, they are now white elephants sitting somewhere in my kitchen cupboards.
After both episodes, I did some research and discovered that those non-stick cookware brands that people had been raving about probably contained chemicals like PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) and/or PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) which could be harmful to health if exposed to in the long run. And whether these chemicals cause cancer is still being debated today.
Why take the risk?
While I don’t think a higher-priced pan would produce a much better-tasting dish, I think it’s worth paying more for cookware that doesn’t contain unnecessary chemicals just for a peace of mind. Moreover, if you manage to get one that also delivers in terms of its quality (like a really durable non-toxic, non-stick surface that can last for years) then your purchase can be a real bang for your buck.
I was really excited when Corningware recently unveiled its new top-of-the-range cookware, Corningware Retroflam, that delivers superior non-stick performance while embracing the whole idea of healthy cooking. The Corningware Retroflam range comes with 4 different designs of cookware (sauce pan, fry pan, casserole & wok) in two colours, Green Emerald and Red Ruby.
What’s so special about this new Corningware Retroflam range?
First, specially designed radiating grooves on the base of the Corningware Retroflam’s cookware ensure complete far-infrared heat dispersion or let’s put it simply: heat is evenly distributed across the base. There will be no hot spots and no sudden temperature discontinuity. This state-of-the-art heat dispersion technology allows food to be evenly cooked, with no surface drying of food, no charring and no pan residue. There is faster and healthier cooking turnaround time which in turn lowers energy consumption.
Second, Corningware Retroflam’s five-layer cookware combines a perfect synergy of quality materials presenting a perfect cookware for versatile, modern cooking. Cast into one entire piece from quality aluminium with no glued edges. The aluminium core offers excellent thermal conductivity, ensuring energy efficiency. Black titanium base coats the interior and exterior of the cookware; titanium is a strong, non-toxic, non-porous, non-reactive, non-allergenic, biocompatible metal good enough for medical purposes. The final layer, a cutting edge sparkling pearl ceramic coating seals the cookware interiors and exteriors, ensuring a perfect non-toxic and non-stick hard surface, which is highly resistant to heat and offering superior non-stick performance.
Finally, Corningware Retroflam’s pearl ceramic coating, is cured on the interior and exterior of each cookware with nano technology. Created from the Earth’s natural sustainable materials, naturally inert and non-reactive to acidic and alkaline food. Free from toxic chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Cadmium and Lead. Even under extreme heat of up to 400 deg C, the ceramic coating will emit no chemical discharge. The pearl ceramic coating is measured at 9H hardness (Mohs scale of mineral hardness) ensuring a highly scratch-resistant and durable coating for healthy cooking with much lesser oil. Pearl ceramic coating extends onto the exterior offering superior non-stick performance and allowing for ease of cleaning and dishwasher-usage.
In conclusion, all these unique features of the Corningware Retroflam cookware are supposed to provide effective, healthy, non-chemical emission and hassle-free non-stick functionalities during cooking.
How true is that?
I put the casserole pot to the test with the following Rice Wine Chicken Recipe and cooked the dish exactly like how my late grandmother used to do it. It would involve sauteing, stir-frying and stewing.
Rice Wine Chicken Recipe
1 kampong chicken approx. 1.1 – 1.2kg with skin & fats trimmed,
chopped into smaller pieces
500ml Shao Hsing Hua Tiao wine
35g ginger, peeled & sliced into thin strips
20g dried black fungus, soaked in hot water & sliced
40g dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water & halved
30g dried lily buds, soaked in hot water, stems trimmed & tied into knots
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
And my verdict?
I’m extremely pleased with the Corningware Retroflam casserole pot. In fact, it’s probably one of the few brands out there in the market that truly delivers what it claims.
During the sauteing of the ginger and the stir frying of the chicken, everything was like swirling and skating in the casserole pot because the pot surface was really smooth and truly non-stick. Even when the chicken started to brown, there wasn’t any pot residue at all. Nothing was stuck to the bottom even though there was very little oil used. Washing up was amazingly a breeze.
It only took seconds for the sesame oil to heat up and sizzle. And it didn’t take long too for the liquid to come to a boil. There was a vent on the lid handle so I could leave the dish to simmer with the lid on without worrying about spills – this in turn made cooking more efficient and time-saving.
I liked that this casserole pot was relatively light in weight and hence much easier to lift up or down as compared to its cast iron counterparts. Despite that, the casserole pot was still solid and sturdy and could very well stay in place even with vigorous strokes of stir frying.
Likewise with all other non-stick cookware, there are some basic rules of care to take note of so as to preserve the life span of such cookware regardless how good you think the product is:
1) Wash the product with hot soapy water (normal dishwashing liquid) and a soft sponge before using it the first time. No harsh cleaners, scouring pads or metal sponges.
2) Never heat an empty pan as that will damage the non-stick coating. There are some recipes that might have something like ‘heat pan until it is smoking before adding…’ or the like. Do note non-stick cookware is not suitable for such recipes.
3) Some brands (especially those that you see on TV shopping channels) claim that there is no need to add oil to their non-stick pan and hence supports healthier cooking. This is absolute RUBBISH. Even if they do not add oil to the pan, they would have rubbed oil onto the meats before placing them onto the pan. A good non-stick pan is able to deliver with just a small amount of oil but it’s not possible with ‘no oil’ because that will damage the coating as highlighted in point 2 above.
4) Never cook on high heat as that can wear down the coating. Anyway, a good non-stick pan that has efficient and even heat dispersion doesn’t even need high heat to quickly heat up so remember to turn down that fire. Saves on gas (and $$$) too.
5) Never store away non-stick cookware by stacking different pots or pans together (my mum loves to do that and her cookware are just in terrible condition!) as that might scratch the coating. A good idea would be to use a wooden pot lid holder (only S$2 from Daiso) to individually space the pans apart or have a wall mounted hanging rack to hang them up which will help save counter space too.
6) Never use any metal cutlery on the cookware even if it means picking up a piece of meat with a fork for tasting while cooking. Same goes for spatulas – use only plastic or wooden ones. I used to take chances in the past and sometimes would accidentally scratch the surface – not good. Now I only use wooden spatulas and chopsticks.
7) Never use your non-stick cookware as a storage vessel. It’s sometimes so convenient to cook in a non-stick pot and when there’s leftovers, you just put on the lid and keep the whole thing in the fridge till tomorrow when you will take it out again and put on the stove to heat up. Some food might contain acids that might wear off the non-stick coating so using such cookware to store food overnight in the fridge is not recommended.
Having said that, it is even more important to own a set of reliable, effective and safe cookware products that can hopefully last for years. I’m completely sold on the Corningware Retroflam cookware and I’m sure all home cooks and domestic goddesses out there would be happy to count on them as your most trusted BFFs in the kitchen.
Corningware Retroflam cookware is now available in all major departmental stores and home appliance stores. Find a store near you
Here’s the price list for your info and do also check out the available promotional bundles to enjoy greater savings. Happy shopping and cheers to healthy cooking!
|Corningware Retroflam Retail Prices (SGD)|
|18cm Saucepan with glass lid||S$109|
|24cm Fry Pan with no lid||S$109|
|24cm Casserole with die-cast aluminium lid||S$189|
|30cm Wok Pan with glass lid||S$169|
|Promotional Bundles (Available from July - September 2016)|
|30cm Wok Pan with glass lid|
FOC 18cm Saucepan with glass lid
|24cm Casserole with die-cast aluminium lid |
FOC 18cm Saucepan with glass lid
|Super Value Full Set (original value >S$630) |
30cm Wok Pan with glass lid
24cm Casserole with die-cast aluminium lid
24cm Fry Pan with no lid
FOC 18cm Saucepan with glass lid
FOC Corningware 1L Casserole - Just White design
*This post is sponsored by World Kitchen (Asia Pacific).
**All opinions expressed on this post are author’s own personal views.