Towel Box cooking

Towel box cooking. Wrapped in a series of old towels, the hot pot is insulated and continues cooking and hot until lunchtime. Towel box cooking continues to make meals without further input of energy after first bringing the food to the boil. With only a few minutes cooking on the stove, lunch will be hot and ready waiting for you at the end of the morning. Today I cooked some brown Jasmine rice. Other times I have cooked one pot meals of rice and lentils and vegetables.

The towel box, saucepan with a lid that fits well, and ingredients including boiling water.

The best pot has a heavy base and a snug fitting lid. The water gets fully absorbed by the rice, and it is ready to eat when opened.
The enamel pot I used today was not the best pot for the job, it has not got a heavy base to stay hot. Also the lid just sat on, and steam escaped and was absorbed by the towels. Some water remained sitting in the bottom of the pot, unabsorbed 🙁. Oh well, another 5 minutes boiling just before serving fixed the problem!

The box seems full of old towels, they will wrap the pot and fill the box.
Any box or basket that’s a bit bigger than the pot in all dimensions would do. This is a plastic toy crate about 35cm cube. One folded towel goes in the bottom of the box as a base.
Now I lay the towels one at a time draping them centrally across the box.
Lay the towel across the last so their tails alternately cover the north-south and then east-west sides of the box, their rectangles overlap forming a cross.
I use 7 old towels in this box.
Now that the box is prepared, I prepare the food. Light the fire or start the heat on the stove top and put a little olive oil in the pot…
Add the rice (I used 2 cups)
Heat and allow the rice to be coated by the oil. Toasting it just a little gives a flavour, which I enjoy. At this stage you could also add seeds or spices or vegetables as you chose.
Now add boiling water from the kettle. For 2 cups of this kind of rice I use about 4 cups of boiling water. Different grains will need different amounts because they all have different absorbency.
Bring back to the boil and stir…
Put the lid on and turn off the stove. A total of 5 minutes of cooking fuel input was needed. The rest of the cooking will passively use the energy you already put in!
Now place your hot pot gently in the centre of the prepared towel bed. Don’t push it down yet. It will settle as you fold each towel around the pot.
Wrap the sides…
Tuck in the ends.
Wrap the next layer, sides and ends…
And so on until…
you notice the bundle beginning to slide down in the box. Carefully continue to wrap but be sure the pot doesn’t tip sideways!
Wrap the last towel, sides and ends.
I make sure to use the largest towel for this outer layer to be certain that it wraps neatly with no gaps or draughts.
All tucked in ready to quietly cook until lunch time.
I find it most comfortable to work with the box on a chair rather than on the table, so it is all lower for me to reach easily.
The outside of the top of the wrapped towel package does not feel warm. It is very well insulated and holds the heat in the multiple layers very well as long as the towels are dry.
The towel box sits in the pantry out of the way for the morning until we are ready to unwrap it and eat lunch.

Hay boxes, wonderpots, towel boxes…they all use insulation to continue cooking the food using the energy put in at the start of the cooking time.
We can be creative in how we prepare our food. We can achieve the same outcome of well cooked tasty food, and use a lot less energy.

Leave a Reply