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Doors to a smokeless kitchen

Chimneys are back in vogue but in more sophisticated versions. A look at the various models.

Photo: H. Vibhu

TRENDY ONES: There is a whole new range of chimneys to choose from.

IT GOES without saying that Indian cooking produces exotic aroma. Think of frying fish. The whiff spreads in the kitchen and to the neighbouring rooms and into the living room, where guests or members of the house who loathe the smell happen to be. Then there could be a simple spluttering of mustard seeds and red chillies in hot oil making everyone inside the house sneeze, rub eyes or choking. A regular feature in most houses.

Cooking can be a relishing experience, but in the most hygienic of conditions. There was a time when every house had a chimney. But they gave way to exhaust fans.

The chimneys of the past were 10-feet towers with an outlet in the kitchen. Exhaust fans came into vogue and found a place in the upper portion of the wall.

Still in use in most households, exhaust fans are not really sufficient when it comes to India cooking. Points out Noor Mohammed Sait, properitor of Faber Galleria: "Exhaust fan sucks out only a percentage of the smoke. When oil and vapour mix, they spread across the room and only a part of it reaches near the exhaust fan and this is what gets sucked out of the room."

Motor-powered

Then came electric chimneys. The surfacing of electric chimneys has had a profound impact on the hygiene of the kitchen. They suck the aroma, oil, smoke and vapour without giving it ample time to spread across the room.

Earlier, these chimneys used polyurethane filters, similar to those found in air-conditioners. It was found suitable for other countries, where less amount of spices and oil are used for cooking.

However, when the product came to India, the users here did not find it effective.

Soon came the aluminium mesh filters, also known as aluminium cassette filters. It comprises five to seven layers sandwiched as one. This too suited more to the European cooking. Says Mr. Mohammed: "The aluminium mesh filters contains very small holes. Small particles such as masalas and oil clings on to form a coating thereby blocking the filters and impeding suction."

Faber Heatkraft, set up a factory in India in 1997 as a joint venture with Faber SpA, Italy, the first company in the world to come out with motor-powered electric chimney in 1963.

Baffle filters

Faber arrived on the scene with a powerful substitute for aluminium filters, the baffle filters, suitable for Indian cooking.

Explains Mr. Mohammed: "Baffle filters use the cut-and-chop technology, to separate oil molecules and spices from smoke. If the oil is stored in the lower layer too, it does not affect even 1 per cent of the suction power of the chimney. To top it all, Baffle filters are 30 per cent more effective than mesh filters." Moreover, cleaning baffle filter chimneys is quite easy.

Prices and warranty

Faber has 42 models to choose from - be it the variation in the technology used, price range, models or colour. The conical shaped chimneys, are known as decorative chimneys, available at a price of Rs.9,990 and upwards. The traditional chimneys - flat shaped chimneys - are available in both mesh and baffle filters at a cost of Rs.3,990 and upwards. The design mainly categorise the chimneys amongst themselves and determine their cost. The costliest product range of Faber is Rs. 69,990. The designer series fall in the range of Rs.25,000 and more.

Chimneys are becoming more of a necessary item in middle-class houses too.

Most chimneys have one-year warranty. However, certain models of Faber chimneys are available on life-long warranty - except bulb and glass, warranty of all other parts are covered. In spite of the difference between the warranty criteria, there is a variation of a mere Rs.1,000 to Rs.1,500 between the one-year warranty and lifetime warranty models.

Electric chimneys of Siemens are available at Alappatt Super Shoppe, located on Broadway for around Rs.6,900. The aluminium mesh filter chimneys of Glen starts at a cost of Rs.7,200 and baffle filters at Rs.15,900. The costliest of the Glen chimney is at priced at Rs. 43,000.

Size factor

Choosing the right size of chimney is an essential factor. "Chimneys size should be chosen depending on the cooking range or stove or hob," adds Mr. Mohammed.

If the size of the stove is 60 cm, opt for a 60 cm or 90 cm chimney. Never opt for a chimney smaller in size than the stove.

RESMI JAIMON

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