Thursday, April 9, 2009

How to cook with a Thermos Flask

We wish we had learnt this method of cooking earlier, but we didn’t until we saw our host in Macau used the thermal cooker to prepare “Bak Kut Teh” (Pork ribs herbal soup) for us during our stay with his family. He explained all he needed was 15 minutes on the stove, leaves for work and he can return home to a ready cooked meal. Basically the thermal cooker consists of two pots. Just cook the food on the stove in the inner pot and bring it to boil for 10 minutes. Place the pot into the outer pot. A convection effect is created whereby the cooking process continues for up to 30 minutes and warms up to 8 hours. The most important part is it’s an energy saving and time saving way to cook your food.

We were so impressed that we couldn’t wait to buy one from 1Utama Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur. We bought a 7-Litre La Gourmet Thermal Wonder Cooker on sales at RM 399. (Malaysian dollar) and hand carried all the way to Sydney.

We thought that was a good investment until I googled to learn more about thermal cooking. I found out that you can use a simple thermos flask to the same effect. The only difference is the quantity. The thermos flask is only good for 1-2 servings whereas my new acquired 7-Litre is great for a gathering 8-10 people. We haven’t organised a big party since our return and our thermal cooker is still in its original packaging. Have I bought a white elephant?

I wish I had thought of this idea myself, but it so simple that I thought it is funny even to post it here. Neverthelees I want to show to Ange of France that it is possible to cook with a thermos flask!
In fact this cooking method is such a practical method that I use it often to cook my morning cereal or bento (packed lunch) for my workplace. My wife has her own thermos flask to cook her own special multi grain recipe. She mixes 8 kinds of grains which are brown rice, sorghum, buckwheat, barley, wheat, oat, millet, and black glutinous rice. She believes her homemade multi grains mixed are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre and much more nutritional than the store bought type. You probably can’t go wrong incorporating such a variety of grains in your diet. You can cook any whole grain in a thermos flask. I used a 1-litre Jackeroo Thermos Flask. It has an unbreakable stainless steel inner liner.

Here’s how I used my thermos flask to cook in three simple steps.
Step 1: Put ½ cup of rolled oat in the thermos flask.
Step2: Fill thermos flask with 3 cups of boiling water.
Step 3: Screw the lid of the flask tight and turn it upside down for a couple of times. Set the flask aside
You have just made your own cereal for tomorrow’s breakfast with minimum of time and fuss.


  1.!..thermal cooking is the in-thing (worth the investment) and better than slow-cooker. I should get tat instead of slow-cooker. not sure if they sold it in oz.

    Time for you to use the 7L soon!! ;)

  2. Hi Danny,
    Is thermal cooking a revival? I was told that it is in the market for more than 10 years. We will find an excuse to have a party and use it. :)

  3. ohhh. can we have some thermal cooking recipie please????????

    next time i can show u our thermal cooker.. very good one!!

  4. Before I left, its gaining in popularity..since the thermal appeared in my home after the slow-cooker.

  5. Thank you so much for the post, Uncle Phil. I am sure many others will benefit from it.

    I thought of getting a thermal cooker when my sister raved about it a couple of years ago, but was afraid it would become another white elephant. Now that I know I can use the thermos flask to the same effect, I am going to ask my mom to give me one of those she has sitting in the kitchen cabinet. I am so pleased to discover a new way to put to good use old items, way to go!


  6. Hi Ange,
    We used to be able to get a thermos container in Singapore, and if you can get one it would much better than a flask. It is easier to clean. Here's the website re simple living you were asking.

  7. Actually the concept is a simple one. Basically heat is retain for a much longer time than if the food were to be left outside through the use of insulator to trap the heat. I saw such a pot which is very light and cheap in China which is actually a moulded styrofoam box that can house a cooking pot. It only cost a few dollars since styrofoam is a cheap material.
    But such thermal cooking methods are not suitable for all kinds of food. For example, I noticed Chinese soups that need to be double boiled do not taste as good when cooked in a thermal pot. Also, when the temperature in the thermal pot is warm for a longer time, food can spoil faster than if it were left at room temperature.
    It is suitable for certain food like Bak Kut Teh though. It does save alot of energy and is environmental friendly in that it saves on energy and reduces wastage.

  8. Hi Anonymous,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.The whole concept of thermal cooking reminds me of the earthern oven (mumu) used in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, when I was living and working there as a forester. A hole is first dug in the ground to create a hot pit.It is prepared by heating stones with burning wood on top of them.Once the stone is heated, meat and root vevetables such as sweet potatoes, yams, taro and bananas are tossed into the pit.It is then completely covered with banana leaves,and dirts so that the heat stays inside.The pit would be left for several hours before the contents were dug up and eaten.I always marvel at such ingenuity and simple way of life. I will write more about this sustainable and energy saving form of cooking when I recreate an earth oven in by backyard.

  9. After seeing your posting on the thermal wonder pot, I also bought a 7L La Gourmet, the same as the one that you got from 1 Utama last year. It is on sale and the price is still at RM399. In using it for the first time I found that the outer surface of the outer pot is warm to the touch. I was told that this shouldn't be because a thermos flask is cool on the outside. If you have used yours, I would appreciate it if you can share whether you have had a similar experience with the outer pot.

  10. Hi Anonymous,
    It is only protocol. If you are who you are I have already reply to your email.
    Here is the reply. "Thanks for visiting my blog. It is not exactly cool to the touch. Did it cook well? What did you cook? We only used it during the cooler months of the year for soups. A Singaporean friend of our now residing in Sydney uses the thermal pot to cook rice everyday. He reckons it is better than the electric rice cooker.
    Keep in touch.
    P/S I think I have just received another email from you and I will reply direct to your email address.

  11. With thermal cookware, cooking is now so easy.

    I cook multi-grain rice on the top shelf and chicken stew on the bottom. An hour later, just add some vege on top of the chicken stew and boil for few minutes, and a wholesome meal is ready.

    It is also suitable to cook:
    yam rice, 8 treasure porridge, black glutinous rice soup, red bean soup etc.

    Mine is from eCosway. Dont remember how much it cost.

    Do check out thermal cookware website for more recipes:

  12. Hi Annonymous,
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Re cooking oats in thermos flask, I cook simple rice congee with it. Just wash & soak rice grains for 10-20 mins; place inside flask and pour in boiling water. Congee is ready after 3 hours.