Best to cook as normal & put in thermos (pre-heated with hot water). If you don’t want to cook first, put all ingredients (veggies & grain) in thermos & add corresponding boiling water so that they cook in the thermos. The exact amount of water needed will vary depending on how much grain you use (see packet) & how good your thermos is. At first, err on the side of extra water and reduce to suit. Use fresh herbs & add salt etc at time of eating.
For Rice & Dhal
Quantities based on 700ml Thermos Flask
- 2 heaped tablespoons yellow mung dhal (wash well)
- 2 heaped tablespoons white rice (wash well)
- 11/2 cup fresh vegetables – cut to a size that will fit into the thermos
- * Spices to taste – e.g. mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, asafetida (hing), turmeric
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
- 2 cups water
In a pot gently fry spices in about 1 tablespoon of oil/ghee for a few seconds, add water, mung dhal and rice. Cook for 10 mins. It is not necessary for the grains to be fully cooked, they will cook in thermos. Stir in chopped raw vegetables. Bring everything to a boil. Without wasting time spoon mixture into a pre-heated thermos flask. Screw lid on quickly, and leave thermos flask closed for approximately 4 hours. The meal will cook and be ready to eat in approximately 4 hours.
You may need to experiment with quantities and cooking times. If the time between cooking and eating is 5-6 hours then a shorter cooking time would be adequate. Heavier lentils and beans may need more than 10 minutes of cooking time. They should be cooked first after frying the spices: then add rice, and then vegetables etc.
Always remember that the mung dhal and rice swell up substantially so that you need a generous amount of water for a nice consistency. Experiment using stock water, coconut milk.
Re; spices: Begin with whole spices such as fresh ginger, whole black pepper, mustard seeds, cumin seeds. Fry them one by one until they turn a light brown and their aroma is brought out. Then add the ground spices such as ginger, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, pepper. (Note: a spice is generally used either whole or ground in one dish; not both ways).
The following sequence and combination is common.
1. Mustard seeds until they pop.
2. Cumin seeds until flavour is brought out and light brown.
3. Fresh chopped ginger until it is light brown.
4. Ground turmeric, other spices to taste