LIVEN SK-J3200 Electric Hot Pot with Grill and Non-Stick Coating Review
Hot pot, sometimes called Shabu-shabu, is a very popular Asian style of cooking with roots that run deep in both Japanese and Chinese cultures. In recent years, Western culture, and the United States, in particular, has seen an increase in the popularity of this interesting way of cooking fresh ingredients.
The LIVEN SK-J3200 Electric Hot Pot with Grill tries to answer this niche interest with this 2-in-1 unit. There is a shallow hot pot simmering area meant to hold the broth for the shabu-shabu, as well as an electric grill for searing off vegetables and pieces of meat.
This indoor electric unit has two separate elements. It’s made largely from cast aluminum, 304 commercial grade stainless steel and other food-grade materials. The hot pot area was specifically designed to quickly reach a simmering temperature without using a lid.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
This shabu-shabu hot pot and grill is made from cast aluminum, stainless steel, and other food-grade materials. The two separate electric heating elements run on a total of 1,300 Watts, which might not seem like a big deal at first glance. Yet there are competitor units that have a much higher electric consumption that push the safety limits of a standard household outlet and breaker to accomplish the same heat.
This is thanks in part to the cast aluminum which does a great job of transferring heat energy. There are also three layers of material in the body of the cooking surface which help with heat retention.
The lack of a lid is a little bit of an issue. The manufacturer states that the hot pot section will boil without a lid. While it will indeed come to a “Simmer” in a reasonable amount of time, a lid would speed the process. You can get around this by using a similar size lid from one of your pans.
There’s not a lot in the way of assembly beyond simply unboxing the hot pot grill. This is a good thing because the rest of the instructions are written in poor English. Just take a few extra minutes to wipe the cooking surfaces down with a damp paper towel to clear away any dust or other material.
With this 2-in-2 shabu-shabu hot pot and grill, you will want to prepare your broth on a separate pot. That way it can come up to temp and the flavors can meld without having to wait for the hot pot reservoir to do the work on its own. Having an extra pot of simmering broth off to the side will also let you reload the relatively small shabu-shabu reservoir as it reduces.
The grill section is surprisingly more non-stick than you might think. Just give it a light spray of cooking oil or half a pat of butter when you add lean pieces of meat. This will ensure that things like shelled shrimp and chicken tenderloins fully release with just the perfect level of sear.
Just bear in mind that the searing side is meant for small pieces of meat that cook quickly. This includes things like 35-40 shrimp, small pieces of chicken breast, and thinly sliced beef. It’s not really designed for thicker cuts or anything that’s bone-in. All meats need to be thoroughly defrosted before you add them.
When it comes to skewers or chopsticks, it’s best to use wood. Andy sharp edges or metal could scrape the non-stick coating.
The Shabu-Shabu hot pot reservoir is rated to hold 1.8 liters, but I think you’ll find this is right up to the brim and doesn’t leave a lot of water displacement room for adding food.
The grill area measures in at 156 square inches, but you’ll lose a little bit of that cooking real estate in the contours.
Still, you should feel confident that there’s enough combined cooking area for you to host two or perhaps three diners. Any more than that and you’ll likely find the grill and hot pot are crowded.
The shabu-shabu hot pot reservoir is its own special feature that lets you dip skewers of meat and vegetable to simmer, while you grill meat and seafood in the grated area.
Ease to Clean
Cleaning is one of the frustrating problems with the LIVEN SK-J3200. The cooking surface is not meant to detach from the base. Even if you can pry it loose, it’s not rated to be dishwasher safe.
Your best option is to wait for the hot pot broth to cool down after you’re done cooking. You can then pour it out. At that point, you can use a wet, lightly soapy, non-abrasive sponge to carefully wipe down all the cooking surfaces. At that point, you can wipe it again with a wet tea towel to remove any soapy residue, before thoroughly drying it with a clean paper towel.
The manufacturer offers a basic 1-year warranty. Just bear in mind that it’s an imported product, so there might be some lag time in customer service. There are some online retailers who offer additional protection plans for a very affordable price.
If you want a hot pot device that handles the shabu-shabu broth and a grill surface that you can safely use indoors, then the LIVEN SK-J3200 certainly deserves to be on your radar. Just bear in mind that it’s really meant for two or perhaps three diners. If you are going to be hosting a larger dinner party in your apartment or condo, you might want to double down on a second unit.
You can also hedge your bets by preparing your shabu-shabu broth in advance on the stove. Then you can ladle it in as needed without any excess lag time in heating.
- Dual electric heating elements
- 1,300 Watts
- Shabu-Shabu hot pot reservoir
- Food grade non-stick coating
- Owner’s manual is hard to read
- Minimal warranty
- Doesn’t include a lid
- Cooking surface doesn’t disconnect for cleaning