Sous-vide (/suːˈviːd/; French for “under vacuum”) is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for an extended period of time (up to 72 hours). The intention? To cook food evenly, leaving the dish juicier and more flavorful. The theory – first described by Sir Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) in 1799 – was re-discovered by American and French engineers in the mid-1960s.
According to Wikipedia, the method was subsequently adopted by Georges Pralus in 1974 for the Restaurant Troisgros (of Pierre and Michel Troisgros) in Roanne, France. The sous-vide method has since been used in numerous high-end gourmet restaurants by chefs, while gradually moving into the realm of home cooking.
Recently, an inexpensive, yet effective Arduino-powered Sous Vide cooker surfaced on Instructables. Designed by Etienne Giust, the Sous Vide cooker is built around a standard rice cooker, an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and a sketch (software) that adapts itself to the particular characteristics of a specific cooker.
Additional key components include:
- Integrated 8 digits led display with MAX7219 control module (3 wire interface) – 5$
- Pushbutton x 2
- Piezo buzzer – 3$ (optional)
- Waterproof DS18B20 Digital temperature sensor – 10$
- 4.7K ohm resistor
- 5V Relay module for Arduino, capable of driving AC125/250V at 10A – 4$
- A wood board, plastic box and silicone sealant
Total cost? $40, not including the rice cooker.
“Use the two pushbuttons to set the target temperature (acceptable temperatures are within the 50°C to 90°C range). The actual temperature can be monitored on the LED display,” Giust explained in his Instructables post.
“It is advisable not to open the lid during the initial heating phase, where the characteristics of the rice cooker are monitored. When the buzzer sounds, you can open the lid and put your bagged food in the water. If you connect the Arduino to your PC, data is sent to the serial port. Once stripped, this data can be used to plot the temperature over time.”
Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here.