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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Art of Cooking - I

Over the last few years, I've discovered many ways of cooking food that is nutritious, healthy and fast (or easy) to cook.

But please remember "faster, easier, better, choose any two". You can't have your cake and eat it too.

The First Principle of cooking:

"Cook in a pressure cooker wherever possible."

Here's why.

1. It cooks faster.
2. Retains aroma.
3. The food is more nutritious (usually) than its counterpart cooked in open utensils.

The Tao of Pressure Cooking:
1. When trying to cook food, let it heat up till the boiling point without the whistle on the vent. Put the whistle on the vent when the steam just starts to escape. (This creates an environment inside of water vapor, instead of air, and it cooks faster coz water vapor has a greater specific heat)
2. Most food items don't require 3-4 whistles. Heat only upto the point that the whistle might blow up. Switch it off, and let it cool down on its own. The steam trapped inside would cook the food over the next 10-12 minutes.

The Zen of seasoning:
1. Do not prepare seasoning after boiling lentils, and add to it. Do it at the time of boiling. Fry ingredients like jeera, chopped onions and diced tomatoes in the pressure cooker, then add the bulk of lentils, water and bring to boil. Add the spices, stir well, and close the lid.

In the "conventional" cooking, they boil lentils separately, and then add seasoning to it later. They create the seasoning by heating together ingredients like oil, jeera (cumin seeds), chopped onion, some spices and then add this to the boiled lentils later. They love the aroma this generates. However, the aroma in spices comes from "essential oils", which vaporize at relatively lower temperatures. When you expose them to an open environment and heat them, you have effectively vaporized the oils before adding the seasoning to the lentils. The place for the aroma is the food, not the kitchen.

I am going to put in more of my news, views, opinions and prejudices at http colon slash slash arbitrarymusings dot blogspot dot com.


Blogger Somik Raha said...

Kapil Sharma is the only dude I know who cooks the tarka before the food in the pressure cooker, then adds the food and forgets about it.

Surprisingly, it turns out great each time!

11:23 PM  
Blogger waveking said...

Hey great tips man! I am another fan of 'bachelor cooking', and was pleasantly taken by reading your tips on pressure cooker cooking!

I have added a link to your blog from my blog at http://clickafood.blogspot.com/

11:58 PM  
Blogger aquamarine said...

Hi Somik

I personally think men make better cooks than women.:)

If you have time, drop by http://shoumya.blogspot.com


3:47 AM  
Blogger JohnW said...

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5:18 PM  
Blogger rfsbo said...

I've never thought of cooking lentil soup in a pressure cooker. I will definitely check it out as I eat it all the time.

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9:54 AM  

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