Cooking

Pffffffffffft !

12:46 AM

Ahhh! The sound of the pressure cooker! A sound you won't fail to hear in an Indian kitchen. At every breakfast, lunch and dinner you can hear a concert of pfffffffts going all around the neighbourhood.

For India has a thing with pressure cookers. A thing that the Swiss girl that I am learned to appreciate a lot.
Not that pressure cookers are unknown of in Switzerland. It is just that my generation always associated it with steamed vegetables and our grand mothers' stews. Which pretty much translates into an outdated, old fashioned mode of cooking. The pressure cooker itself could have easily be an antique piece of kitchenware I would find in a museum (ahhhh! Sweet youth). Needless to say that was THE one thing I didn't buy when I moved in a flat of my own back in Geneva. I equiped myself with a rice cooker, a bamboo steamer, and found boiling vegetables a time consuming task. Lentils are those things full of protein I would rather buy canned along with backed been because watching over a pan for 2 hours until the thing is soft and cooked was out of question.

When I arrived in india, and had to cook my rice in a normal pan, I complained to a friend about the fact that rice cookers were out of price. He looked at me with round eyes informing me that no one would use such a thing here. Ok! " So what do they use then?" was my reply. He led me to his kitchen to proundly show me a tiny pressure cooker. Ahhhh!!!!! So it was that! That's how they make it steamy and delicious! And,wow! I didn't know pressure cookers came in every sizes too.

Over the months, I learned that pressure cookers in India are used for a whole lot of thing, it cooks lentils in a jiffy without soaking it (exept one or two varieties). It can cook potatoes in 2 minutes, cook beans,  and steam things once a steamer has been put in and the weight has been taken of. Chicken comes out of it soft and delicious, chickpeas are a matter of 15 minutes...
Pressure cooking is also not usually not counted in minutes but in number of whistles over here. Small vegetables require 1 whistle, potato 2-3, rice 3-4, lentils 4-5, pre-soaked kidney beans come out yummy after 6-7 whistles.

The market is loaded with various models in every sizes and capacity. Handy accessories such as inside pans to cook three thing at once, steamers, and idly cups (idlis are steamed rice cakes), which can be bought on the side. They are everywhere, hard to miss and a kitchen without one is not properly equiped.

Once you discovered what a wonder tool it is, you seriously feel disabled without one. And that's what happened to me this weekend. My good old small cooker failed to buil pressure in. I blamed it on the fact I used it to attempt baking pizza (the on thing that shouldn't be done...cooking without water in it even without the weight). So, I had to go and buy a new one, this time I opted for a bigger one, plan to buy idli cups and keep my old tiny one to continue backing pizzas in it.... Pffffft !

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