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May 26, 2010 05:51 AM

Retained heat cooking - thermal cookware (haybox method)

Ever since I heard of it, I have been in love with the concept of thermal cooking (also known as haybox cooking, among other things). Not only because of how energy efficient and environmentally friendly it is, but also because of its portability and convenience. Great for road trips, camping and pot lucks!

Here is a good introduction if you wanted to know more:

Trouble is, it seems like hardly anyone knows about them. I think they are pretty popular in some Asian cultures, but not in the western world.

So I'm starting this topic in the hope that there are some chowhounders out there who would like to share ideas and recipes for this wonderful way of cooking :)

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  1. I guess I have used this method of cooking without even knowing it. If I have leftovers I'm going to take for lunch, anything I worry about getting mushy in my thermos I undercook and than pour the heated hot components on top, seal and everything is perfect a few hours later for lunch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: corneygirl

      Yep, that's it! It's pretty cool that you can get all shapes and sizes of thermoses nowadays. I'm going to have to get organised and do this myself since the food options at my workplace are sadly lacking (great soup and stew weather right now here in Australia).

    2. Is this different from solar cooking? I've not heard of this, and I'm interested.

      2 Replies
      1. re: helenkosings

        If you click on the link provided in the OP, all your questions will be answered ... thre is even a photo. Here's a small excerpt

        "A thermal cooker (also called a thermal cooking pot) works much like a crock pot. It is made up of two pots:

        •Insulated outer pot

        •Stainless Steel inner pot

        The food is put to the boil on the stove in the inner pot before being placed in the outer pot. The heat (from the boiling process) is retained inside the pot, allowing the food to continue cooking slowly."

        It seems you could do this without buying special equipment. Just boild something on the stove and put it in a thermos ... a good quality thermos ... and a small quatity.

        Interesting that you can make bread it it.

        The other link has Alton Brown's yogurt recipe in a thermal cooker (scroll way down)

        Interesting recipe for Yunan steam pot chicken

        Thinking about it, this method of cooking is the modern version of digging a pit, lining it with hot rocks, placing the food on the rocks and covering everything up with dirt until the meat is cooked

        1. re: rworange

          That steam pot chicken looks really really good. I must give it a try someday.