Self-stirring pot puts Japanese in a spin
There's brisk demand for the Kurukuru Nabe smart pot, which despite appearances, isn't so high-tech.
A watched pot never boils, but some pots can stir themselves.
Kurukuru Nabe, a pot developed in Japan, stirs its own contents, freeing you up to do better things with your time.
You'd think this is high-tech stuff, but no. It's a conventional saucepan with a grooved insert that produces a circular motion resembling a whirlpool in the water.
The design is fairly simple, as seen in this video of an aluminum pot with grooves that induce a spin.
When the water in Kurukuru Nabe gets hot enough, things start to spin counterclockwise. Noodles, vegetables, and whatever else in the pot will go "round and round," as its Japanese name suggests.
Scum from boiling vegetables will accumulate in the center, making it easy to skim off. The water is also less likely to boil over the rim.
Developed by an entrepreneur last year, the Kurukuru Nabe was launched in January and has seen strong demand so far, selling more than 5,000 units.
"I just thought it was a fun idea, and ran with it. I never dreamed of this overwhelming response," inventor Hideki Watanabe, a dentist from Tobe, Ehime Prefecture, told The Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
The pot is 7 inches across and designed for use on a gas stove. It's selling in Japan for 9,800 yen ($104.88), and is also available to customers overseas.
Manufacturer Toyo Rikagaku Kenkyusho, which also produces camera bodies and parts for Apple computers, is turning out 1,000 of the pots a month and plans to sell them in the U.S. and six other countries.
Meanwhile, check out this video of broccoli swirling away in the Kurukuru Nabe. Nifty indeed, but that's one more thing to clean after dinner.