¼ cup yellow mung dahl (wash well)
¼ cup basmati rice (wash well)
1 1/4 cup fresh vegetables (small enough to fit in to a thermos)
Spices to taste (e.g. salt, a little pepper, cumin, ginger, turmeric, coriander, fennel seeds, etc.)
1 tablespoon ghee
2 cups of water
Using a pot, gently fry the spices in about 1 tablespoon of ghee for a few seconds (ground spices.) Add mung dahl, rice, and chopped vegetables. Cover well with 2 cups of water, and boil for two minutes. Immediately pour the mixture into a one quart thermos (you may need to use a spoon to help pour it more easily.) Screw the lid on quickly and leave the thermos closed for approximately four hours. The meal will cook while you go about your day, and will be freshly cooked and ready to eat in four hours.
Tips for cooking:
You may wish to experiment with the quantities and cooking times. Always remember that the mung dahl and rice swell up substantially so you will need plenty of water for proper consistency and easy serving.
Heavier lentils and beans will need more than 2 minutes of cooking time. They should be cooked first after frying the spices. Add the rice next and then add the vegetables later.
Heavier vegetables like carrots, etc., need 1-2 minutes of cooking along with the rice and dahl. Spinach and other leafy vegetables can be added just a few seconds before pouring the whole dish into the thermos. If time between cooking and eating is 5-6 hours, then less than 2 minutes cooking time is needed. If the time is only 2-3 hours, then a little more cooking time is required. The exact amount of time will also depend on how well your thermos retains heat.
Frying spices correctly to bring out their full flavor and value without burning them is quite an art. Do not heat the ghee or oil to a temperature that creates smoke in the kitchen. Begin with whole spices such as fresh chopped ginger, whole black pepper, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds. Fry them one by one until they turn a light brown and their flavor is brought out. Then add the ground spices such as ginger, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, and pepper.
The following is a common combination of spices found in thermos lunch.
1.Mustard seeds (until they pop)
2.Cumin deeds (until flavor is brought out and turn light brown)
3.Fresh, chopped ginger (until light brown)
4.Ground black pepper (3-5 seconds)
Then add the water. Follow the basic recipe given above to begin with. Skill and repertoire will grow naturally and rapidly with your daily cooking experience.