Mar 15, 2013

I sugared the salt...

... and then I salted the tea. True story!
I was making dal for the kid and realized I was running low on salt. Like any normal person I have five different kinds of salts in my pantry but I use a mix of kosher and iodized table salt for day to day cooking. I replenished the salt in the container and went about my business. Read: unloaded the dishwasher, chopped some veggies and washed some dishes. By then the dal was ready except it needed some salt. So I added some and tasted. It tasted the same. So I kept adding the salt by pinches so as not to over salt. I added a pinch and tasted. No difference. I  added some more and tasted. No difference again. This went on for a few minutes and I started doubting my taste buds.
I decided to taste the salt to check if I could taste it in the raw. You get where I am going. I had added sugar to the salt dabba. Now, a sensible person would have chucked the sugar at this time which is what I was about to do. But then, I tasted the sugared salt a bit more and it just tasted sugary to me. I figured it would be ok to add it to the sugar dabba instead of wasting all that sugar.
In the evening, we all sat down around the table for left over pizza and tea. You get where I am going by now, right? The sugar in my tea was heavily salted!
And yes, I chucked the whole mix. That is my mishap in the kitchen for the week. What was your most recent kitchen mishap?

Mar 11, 2013

They all cooked in their Indian pressure cooker and it didn’t blow up their face!

I asked and you delivered. You are the best bunch that a blogger could ask to support an event to refute an opinion stated as a fact by a slow cooker cookbook author (now say that fast!). You cooked in your Indian pressure cookers, clicked pictures of them and narrated stories and adventures you have had with them. Thank you for validating and proving that Indian pressure cookers are indeed safe and easy to use. Here is the roundup in the order I received them. If I missed any of your entrees, do let me know and I will add you promptly with my sincerest apologies.

When Soma moved to America with her husband, she couldn’t bring her pressure cooker with her. It was fortuitous too because she made friends with another girl and borrowed her pressure cooker whenever she needed to use. The lending and borrowing of pressure cooker blossomed into a lifelong friendship. And yes, she did eventually buy her own pressure cooker and recently, a spanking new Futura in which she cooked this delicious lahsuni dal.

During her courting days, Anita would visit her in-laws and help out with the Sunday morning ritual of cleaning the weekly vegetables and preparing a simple lunch that included sada varan bhaat. After marriage, she learnt that overcooking toor dal to make sada varan bhaat wasn’t frowned on South of the Vindhyas. The girl from North of the Vindhyas now overcooks her toor dal without any qualms and feeds her family this comforting meal every Sunday.

 After getting hitched, Priya’s techie man brought a 3 ltr Contura based on her specifications and she has never needed another cooker since. She says it “serves all her purposes”. She makes this Kerala potato curry in her pressure cooker all the time and so far the cooker hasn’t blown up in her face.

Siri grew up watching her mom cook in not one but sometimes two pressure cookers simultaneously. It is now an integral part of her household as well. So much so that she “literally wakes up every single morning with the sound of the whistle whooshing across the kitchen till our bedroom”. In case you are wondering, it is her mother-in-law who is using the pressure cooker in the mornings. She made a filling one-pot achari chana pulao in her 3 ltr pressure cooker.

Princy calls her prized Hawkins pressure cooker her “best pal” in the kitchen. She uses it every day, sometimes twice a day. She cooks this scrumptious and filling egg biryani when she is feeling lazy but still wants to eat something spicy and yummy.

Lata remembers her mother and grandmother using the pressure cooker since the appliance was first introduced in the market. She remembers them cooking dal for rassam and sambhar and steaming idlis and vegetables in it. She made a delicious dhal kalbeliya, a blend of three lentils pressure cooked and then sautéed with tempered onions, garlic and tomatoes.

Preeti talks about her first taste of momos (steamed dumplings) she had in Bhutan as an air force base kid. She hadn’t liked the look of them but when she tried one she couldn’t have enough. She decided to relive that memorable trip with her friends and family by steaming some momos of her own in her pressure cooker.

Growing up, Sandeepa never cared for her grandma’s famous and much in demand Gota Sheddho. A traditional meal in Bengali families the day after Saraswati Pujo, she usually swallowed a morsel of the cold dish and called it a day. Now all grown up with kids of her own, she revived the tradition with a few changes of her own. A one pot dish, she cooked the Sheddho in her pressure cooker and ate it hot with a squeeze of lime.

Manisha learnt to use the pressure cooker when she was 9 years old. She now lives in a high altitude area of 5320ft and values her two pressure cookers ever more. They are indispensable tools in her kitchen. She not only cooked a delicious whole red lentil curry (massorichiamti) in her pressure cooker but wrote an excellent post to demystify urban legends about pressure cookers not blowing up in people’s faces.

Pavani owns half a dozen pressure cookers that serve different purposes in her kitchen. She uses them to cook rice, lentils, veggies and curries. She showed her love and appreciation for her pressure cookers by making this tasty Goan Mixed Vegetable curry and jeera rice in her two Prestiges.

Shri wrote an almost poetic odeto the workhorse of the Indian kitchen and wrote down detailed directions on how to cook chickpeas and lentils using the separator pans in the pressure cookers. Check out her beautiful photographs and her post here.

Mandira owns three pressure cooker and all of them are put to good use including the small Hawkins which she uses to cook lunch for her kids. She made a nutritious moong dal with peas and carrots in her pressure cooker.

The girl who hosts A Mad Tea Party recently posted her dad's tomato-beetroot soup recipe that is strikingly similar to my mom's tomato-beetroot soup recipe. As if that was not enough, both of them pressure cook the vegetables and then puree them to make an amazingly delicious, nutritious soup that is ready with the rest of the meal. The next time you are craving some soup, make this in your pressure cooker and you will be glad you did.

This brings us to the end of the roundup which was a little shorter than I expected. My contribution in defense of the Indian pressure cooker is here and here.
I had a lot of fun visiting your blogs and reading about your experiences with the Indian pressure cooker. It is heartening to know that they are such an integral part of your kitchens. Pressure cook on.

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