By Anna Valmero
PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA—With the rising prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), more Filipinos should consider using charcoal stoves to cook meals, especially those that require slow cooking such as bulalo or nilaga.
The Joy charcoal stove was fabricated by Filipino inventor Rizal Obligar, who founded G.O. Unique Products Inc. in 1978.
Back then the charcoal stove sold for 500 pesos only. It was made from scrap aluminum parts from aircraft, mugweels and cylinder heads. It was then billed as a cheaper alternative since acquiring a gas range was quite expensive those days, said Joseph Sincero, grandson of the inventor.
Obligar named the stove after his first daughter Joy, Sincero added.
“Our grandfather said that the stove allows for 70 percent savings in energy consumption. You can cook rice in ten to fifteen minutes and for slow cooking like boiling bulalo for six hours, you only have to pay P30 for the charcoal,” said Sincero, who joined the the recent World Food Expo and Home-based Business Expo.
Sincero added that the stove is meant to last for decades because it is made of pure aluminum; the prototype made by Oligar is still used by the family to cook their food .
Like the prototype, the newer models have a circular body with four holes around the charcoal grate or holder. The holes are used to regulate the flow of oxygen into the body, through the use of a knob.
The annular ring holds the pots in place and put on top of the body to conduct heat from the layer of burning charcoal. The rings are at least three inches above the charcoal to pass US standards for importation. This produces steady heat, which is ideal for cooking and grilling meat.
“Unlike traditional charcoal that emits smoke during cooking, the charcoal stove does not emit black smoke and it does not darken the pots because of its ingenius design based on the optimal combustion principle,” said Sincero.
To provide ease in adding charcoal, there are two openings on the body placed above the charcoal grate where you can insert pieces of charcoal using tongs (to prevent burns since the stove is hot).
It is best to soak a piece of charcoal into kerosene before putting it on the charcoal grater to start fire. This way, there is less kerosene used.
Aside from home use, the new models are now made more compact and portable (weighing from three to 37.6 kilos) for use in campings and picnics, added Sincero.
The large stove (P2,400), which measures 12 inches in diameter and weighs six kilos, is ideal for families and can hold up to 65 kilograms of weight. Other models include the small version (P1,000), which has a diameter of 7.75-inches, the medium (P1,800) with 9-inch diameter and jumbo (P3,500)
“My grandfather's hope is to give Filipinos an economical means to cook food and we hope that more Filipinos will recognize and patronize Filipino inventions because these are really useful in daily life,” said Sincero.
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