Thermos Jar Cooking Part 2

So after I crashed in following a long silence (I’ve been busy doing fuck all! It’s very important) to explain that you can boil an egg in a Thermos Jar, an important discovery for someone who eats as many eggs as I do (did you know you can also wok-steam eggs in the top of a stir-fry or soup? Did you know you can bake eggs in the oven and cook them in a microwave and that I would probably have some weird protein deficiency if I didn’t remember to eat eggs occasionally because I keep forgetting there are food groups which aren’t “vegetable”?), vegan friend and Two-Fisted Librarian Matthew informed me that “couscous is another easy thing you can make”.

Now personally I consider it a crisis situation if I have to eat couscous. It’s not in my top fifty “things I want to eat”. It’s improved by sauces and so on and generally not being presented plain and with herbs on it while so dry that you can feel it forming angry clay in your stomach, which is how I consumed it as a young ‘un, but the association is strong and I’d Prefer Not To. One of the great things about being an adult is that unless there are no other options you can Prefer Not To and not eat something. You don’t have to invent a food intolerance or fake your own death or have an important moral reason not to, you can genuinely just say “nah, not into it”. Amazing!

But I do like other grain-type-things. I mean, I basically live on rice these days.

Previous experiments with microwave-your-own-rice contraptions, which ended in defeat and a very large microwave rice cooker, and then later in just caving in and buying a proper rice cooker in which you can make ALMOST ANYTHING IMAGINABLE (I am still not over this, you can make CAKE and OMELETTE and SOUP, I bet you could bake a fucking potato in one), have taught me that I am still thirsting/hungering for a way to make a small portion of rice without inconveniencing myself.

Which is where Matthew’s comment about the Thermos Jar comes in: the minimum amount of rice you can cook in my blindingly wonderful mini rice cooker is given as “80” on the measuring cup. I assume this means 80ml. It is hard to tell. It is merely “80”. One is advised not to use a smaller amount.

Now I’ve just done an unscientific experiment with the trusty Thermos Jar What I Got From A Charity Shop For A Quid (it rattles) in which I was also boiling an egg, and lobbed in a tablespoon of sushi rice To See What Would Happen, because one of the other things about being a grown-up is that I can decide to do things like that. Sometimes this results in horrifying experiences and sometimes it results in delicious ones. This time, pouring boiling water into a Thermos Jar, sealing it, and then fucking off to watch David Attenborough talking about plants for a longer time than intended resulted in something else, i.e. cooked rice.

I plan to try again and work out which proportion of uncooked rice to hot water is necessary to get just rice and no leftover liquid after expansion and whether stirring dashi in as well gets a good, even distribution, but I have reasonable hopes that you can, in fact, cook rice in a Thermos.

[If this turns out to be the case I’m seeing a certain application for those who want to have a hot lunch at work and don’t have a microwave, or those who, as mentioned before, cannot really afford to have something running on electricity for the time it takes to make a hot meal].

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One more exciting thing you can do with a kettle

It turns out there’s a lot of recipes that require you to boil things in a pan which are, broadly speaking, lying. Lots of instant noodle recipes, for example. A whole swathe of things can be made without a constant source of heat, which means saving money on electricity, something people might be interested in given the cost of UK energy bills, and levels of poverty. So if you’re subsisting on cups of tea and surreptitiously charging your phone at power sockets in Wetherspoons (don’t worry, we’ve all done it), you may be pleased to share in my recent discovery:

You don’t need a constant source of heat to boil eggs.

I found this out because I am weeaboo scum and spend forever on gift sites looking at kitchen gadgets which I then either fail to buy because haha what is money, or do buy and then never use because hahah what is money. In a fair and equitable universe I would be subsisting on cups of tea, not you.

This thing. You put eggs in it and then put hot water in it and then close it and leave it.

Obviously this thing is ludicrously expensive, single-use, and pointless (like all my favourite kitchen shit, before I decide to repurpose it: you can make basically anything in a rice cooker, for example). But when I looked at it and at the instructions it occurred to me that this was, effectively, a Thermos jar.

One of these.

I have one of these, because I bought one in a charity shop for a quid. I am quietly confident that others can be obtained via this route, or acquired from nice people who don’t want theirs, or, frankly, pinched off the back of a lorry. If you have one already, so much the better.

The trick is very simple.

You take an egg.

You put the whole egg in the Thermos jar.

You boil 1 cup of water in the kettle.

You pour the boiling water into the Thermos jar.

You put the lid back on and seal it.

And then you ignore it for however long you like. I left a selection of small (quail) eggs in mine for well over an hour and the water was still toasty and the eggs, when removed, were hard-boiled and hot. The Thermos keeps the eggs warm as well as the water they’re cooking in!

The other thing about this is you can ask for a cup of hot water in a (coffee) shop, and generally get one for free, providing the staff are not arseholes. It may not be boiling, but you can achieve the same effect.