I won’t be wrong saying that there aren’t too many Asian homes that don’t have a pressure cooker or two. Quintessential for many dishes, the greatness or usefulness, or even better, the healthfulness of cooking in a pressure cooker cannot be extolled enough.
The first thing I want to say is that pressure cookers are not for mammas and grandmas. No one can benefit from pressure cookers more than the uber busy single people and young couples, who claim to always be in a hurry, desiring quick fixes, want to eat healthy ya da ya da… for them, this would be a life-saver! From being a daily mom cook to making forays into cooking for the public to now having my own products showcased in Whole Foods, a market known and reputed by its promotion of health foods, I guarantee that the pressure cooker has been the most invaluable possession in my kitchen (besides the Vitamix and my wok of course).
When explaining or demonstrating recipes to my Western friends, I often refer to pressure cookers for cooking dals (lentils), potatoes, and more, and most often they do not seem to have one. Indian cooking especially requires a cooker of some sort, and if you are hard pressed for time, the pressure cooker is your best bet.
Here are some benefits of cooking in a pressure cooker:
1. Time saving
Get stainless steel bowls that fit into your pressure cooker. As an example, add your lentils, rice, or quinoa to the bowl. Fill both the cooker and the bowl with the adequate amount of water and in 7-8 minutes flat, you have the two most essential ingredients required for a meal ready to go. In the minutes that the cooker is doing its thing, you can prep your vegetables and ingredients for spicing the dal.
This meal that could take you over an hour, can be made in 30 minutes or under if made with a pressure cooker.
2. Energy efficient
Pressure cookers are naturally “green” since they use less gas or electricity to cook your food (efficiency is everything these days).
3. Retains all nutrition
Since they are so efficient in cooking foods, the do not allow the nutrients to be cooked to nothingness, like they would be if they were cooked on an open saucepan. They also keep the flavors and fragrance of the food intact, again because of the speed with which they get cooked.
4. Taking care
Treated well, pressure cookers can last a lifetime! The less bells and whistles in your pressure cooker the better – simplicity is what you seek in this baby.
The cherry on top of all these benefits is that clean up is a lot easier! You have three utensils: the cooker itself, the vessel you use inside, and a plate to cover the vessel.
All veggies, grains, and lentils can be made in one pot – the proverbial one-pot meal, cooked in a jiffy with zero clean up time. Things can’t get better than this, don’t you think?
To my pressure cooker I wrote this ode… and I am not ashamed to share a picture of it with you.
My precious cooker
You are by no means a looker
All brown and spotty
Blowing up when you’re naughty
You’ve helped me put out food
The feedback usually good
I understand your loud fussy cry
You are on fire, no wonder why
Your bottom is lit up
In your belly a boiling cup!
Quite unlike a diabolic dynamite
Whose single strand of hair stands upright!
When set ablaze
Your fate you embrace
Your reactions more demure
What you cannot cure, you endure
I have no heart to throw you out
Even if you have a broken snout
Please accept my gratitude
And show me no attitude
You were made to rock
So quit the back talk
You are in it for the long haul
I promise to answer your every call
Now get to work, you old grouch
While I key this in, on the couch
– Priya Mahadevan
Featured Image courtesy of Selvin Kurian