Turn Any Recipe Into A Thermal Cooker Recipe In 3 Easy Steps
We often get asked about suitable recipes or recipe books for our Billyboil Thermal Cooker. Unfortunately, there are hardly any (if any) thermal cooker specific recipe books on the market.
Whilst we have put together a short list of example thermal cooker recipes, you can cook just about anything in the Billyboil Thermal Cooker.
Using a thermal cooker is actually very easy. In fact, it is literally impossible to burn food in a thermal cooker, as many of our customers have noted.
Even so, they do take some getting used to. So to save you a little initial hassle and experimentation, if you follow the three steps below, I think you'll soon be a thermal cooker convert.
Originally used for camping and caravanning, thermal cookers can also be used for everyday cooking.
Quick Recap: Thermal Cooker Parts
Here's a quick recap on what a thermal cooker is and how they work.
Our Billyboil Thermal Cooker has two main parts:
- The inner pot – which is fairly similar to a normal stainless steel saucepan. You can use this 'like usual' on your existing stovetop (gas, electric, or induction) for the initial heat-up phase.
- The outer pot - which is a well insulated container for the inner pot. After your food has been heated through, placing the inner pot inside the outer pot and closing the lid will allow your meals to cook using retained heat for up to 8 hours.
This simple process allows you to reduce your cooking energy consumption by around 70%. It also saves time, prevents you from burning or 'boiling over' food, and is a much safer way to cook.
BillyBoil Thermal Cooker Parts.
1. Make sure all ingredients are covered in liquid or sauce for effective heat transfer.
The thermal cooker relies on the 'retained heat' of the food inside the inner pot to do the cooking. As such, it is important that food inside the pot is mostly covered in liquid or sauce to ensure that heat can be transferred or conducted to all the other food.
With this in mind, you may need to adjust your existing recipes slightly to ensure the food will cook well inside the thermal cooker.
Most recipes already have enough liquid in them so no adjustment is required. For anything simple like rice or risotto, just make sure you use the 'absorption' method which will have the right amount of water already specified for this type of cooking.
On the other hand, some recipes which normally require you to 'simmer' for an extended period may need to be adjusted for less liquid. Normally, these recipes would rely on some of the sauce being 'boiled off' during the simmering. This will not happen inside the thermal cooker as it is completely sealed.
2. Make sure all food is fully heated through before placing in the thermal cooker.
This is probably the most important step when using the thermal cooker.
Once you have taken the inner pot off the stove, the food inside can only continue to cook at the average temperature of all of the food inside. So, if the water or sauce is boiling but the food has only just been placed inside, it might still be at a much lower temperature. The lower the temperature, the less likely the food will cook effectively.
A simple rule of thumb is to bring all of the food in the inner pot up to temperature together, and then let it boil for a couple of minutes, before placing it into the outer pot. The main exception to this is when you have very large pieces of meat or vegetables in the recipe, or if some ingredients were frozen to start with. You need to make sure these have been cooking in the inner pot for a longer period to ensure they are completely heated through.
In summary, use some common sense (or a food thermometer) to make sure all food inside the inner pot is heated through before placing inside the outer pot.
The InTolerant Chef used a thermometer to check their sweat and sour pork was properly heated through before placing inside the thermal cooker's outer pot.
3. Leave food inside the thermal cooker for around 1.5 times the normal recipe length.
The food inside the thermal cooker effectively cooks at the average temperature of its insulated contents. This average temperature does drop off over-time. As such, you often need to slightly extend the cooking time of a normal recipe.
The rule of thumb I like to use is one-and-a-half times the normal recipe cooking length. But the real 'magic' of the thermal cooker happens if you leave the food in for even longer. In this way, you can use the thermal cooker as an zero energy slow cooker to cook delicious meals.
The only thing you have to keep in mind is that after about 8 hours, the temperature inside the thermal cooker may drop below 60˚C. For food safety reasons you should keep food above this temperature. So, if you happen to leave food inside the thermal cooker for several hours, just ensure you give it a quick re-heat on the stove before serving.
Want to find out more? See our innovative Billyboil Thermal Cooker.