I have been lusting after a Wonderbag for ages. This year one arrived under our Christmas tree. Hurrah!
With this new piece of equipment I thought it was about time my I posted a recipe as I haven’t done one for ages, having got really engrossed in reducing our household waste and otherwise reducing our environmental impact. Which is where this fits in quite neatly. The Wonderbag, if you are not familiar with the concept, does not require electricity. You do still need a heat source to start off the cooking process, but once it is piping hot through you pop it into the Wonderbag which is so well insulated that it keeps in enough heat to continue the cooking process for around 4-5 hours ( maybe longer depending what you are cooking).
This suits us well as we have solar panels producing electricity in the middle of the day but we don’t get a chance to eat until quite late. As I work part time I am able to get the dinner going when the sun is out on those days I am home, and still have it hot when we are ready to eat .
For our first go at this I thought I would play it safe with a vegetable curry. The recipe is approximate – feel free to substitute in whatever spare veg you happen to have and vary the spices and quantities to taste, but this is (roughly) what I did. This is enough to serve 4 – as there were only 2 of us eating I just froze half and reheated in the microwave another day.
Start by getting your Wonderbag ready in the place you want to leave it cooking – the instructions suggest you place a trivet or pot stand inside to put your casserole on but you can also line with tea towels – actually I did both this time.
- Sweet potato – diced ( I used half of one as that was what we had)
- Cauliflower – broken into florets ( depending on size half to one)
- Broccoli – broken into florets ( again I used about half)
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 onion
- Approx 2cm cubed ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 green chilli, sliced
- Handful of green beans
- 400g tin of chick peas, drained and rinsed
- A few mushrooms
- A couple of tomatoes, chopped
- Coconut milk ( either 1 can or the powdered sort diluted in hot water)
- Vegetable stock ( if you like – I think I actually forgot this and just added water)
Additional spices to taste:
- Chilli flakes or powder ( 1tsp)
- Turmeric ( 1 tsp)
- Cumin ( 1 tsp)
- Ground Coriander ( 1tsp)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a tight lidded casserole safe for using on the hob, heat a little oil and fry the onion for a few mins till it is starting to soften.
- Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and continue stirring for a minute, then add the other spices and stir in to release the flavour.
- Next add the rest of the vegetables, coconut milk and stock – you want enough liquid to just cover all the vegetables ( not too much as the liquid doesn’t thicken/reduce in the Wonderbag).
- Stir well and bring to the boil, cover tightly with the lid.
- Boil for around 10 mins to make sure it is really hot.
- Transfer carefully to the Wonderbag and seal it up tightly with the drawstring.
- Get on with something else and come back to it up to 4 hours later ( but as it is all vegetables 1-2 may suffice). Open it carefully – remember it will still be hot.
- Serve with rice or Naan bread.
And sorry I forgot to take a photo of it before we ate it
If you like it spicier you can add any additional spices you like or some curry powder. You could cook the rice in the bag too to save even more energy – you’ll need to add it at least 5 mins before you transfer to the Wonderbag and it will absorb some of the sauce.
Notes on sourcing ingredients with minimal packaging:
If you are a more expert food grower that myself you may well have some of the ingredients straight from your garden or allotment – in which case I am in awe. At this time of year we only had homegrown garlic and windowsill chilli and I had to go out to buy the rest.
I generally find the local market to be the easiest way to get unpackaged veg – so I went off with my trusty shopping trolley and filled up with most of the required veg either straight into my trolley or my own cloth bag. The ginger was unpackaged from supermarket.
The only veg I can’t find package free are the green beans – we have decided the best way to get these out of season is frozen so we can buy a larger amount ( less packaging pro rata) and my thinking is that it might also be more local than the out of season fresh ones shipped from Kenya – although I have yet to check this out ( note to self to do this soon). Sometimes we do have luck growing these so would have our own in the freezer, but sadly not this year.
Rice – I buy bulk 5 or 10kg bags of basmati rice which last us ages – they are still in plastic but again, relatively less than buying the small bags.
Spices – I didn’t buy any especially this time but they are either in glass jars or again bought in bulk size bags.
Chick peas – I tend to buy in tins rather than dried for convenience – at least the tins are recyclable.
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