I grew up eating the simplest food that requires a brisk of time to prepare. I think one of the biggest reason of that was Agriculture is the backbone of Thai life, traditions and cultures. The farmers work hard on the farm, and they eat simple food gathered around the land and put together into the delicious rustic meal. In rare occasions, we prepare elaborate meal that takes hours to cook. Something like steam the whole ducks until the meat falls off the bones only comes alive during the festival or special occasions. I like this time-consuming meal, too, because the depth of flavor layered deep within each bite is wonderful. The problem is… waiting for a meal like that is no fun.
When I first came to India, I found a magical vessel that cooked food in the lightning speed. I knew immediately that this thing is made for me. It’s perfect! It was made for an impatient lazy person like me. I asked Sadik, “What’s that questionable scary-looking cooking machine that hisses the steam noisily over there?” He told me it’s called Pressure Cooker. That moment I felt like a lot of my life problems are solved.
Pressure cooker is quite scary at first. When my mom saw it for the first time when she came to India, she didn’t want to be near it. My pressure cooker is over 10 years old. Sadik and I bought it at the local store, and it was quite an investment for us at that time. But boy, how it’s so useful. I think it’s the most useful kitchenware we have ever owned. Pressure cooker allows us to cut down cooking time and also make big chunks of meat magically soft and moist in minutes. Some people question whether the flavor of the food can develop to its full potential under such instant process. I don’t find a huge difference though, that’s why most of my homemade stocks are prepared in pressure cooker.
Here is another recipe we often make. This rice dish is very comforting and hearty. When you look at a meal like this, you think we spend 2 hours to prepare— for the gorgeous soft fluffy rice and the falling-apart, moist chicken. The truth is: it takes 15 minutes to make with the help of pressure cooker.
Yellow Curry Rice
500 chicken- cut into big chunks
2 cups rice- washed and rinse
4 cups water
2 tsp salt
1 cup coconut cream
50 gm Thai Yellow Curry Paste
1 large tomato- sliced
1 large onion- sliced
½ cup cashew nuts
3 tbsp melted butter
A handful celery leaves- chopped
1 tbsp oil
- Place a pressure cooker over a medium heat stove and start heating it up. Add oil, and when the oil is hot add Thai Yellow Curry Paste. Stir fry the paste until aromatic.
- Add chicken and stir for a minute or so.
- Add coconut milk, tomato and celery leaves. Stir for a minute, then place a lid on the cooker without fitting it tightly. Let the chicken cook for 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in another pan, heat the butter and fry cashew nuts until golden brown. Remove the cashew nuts from the butter and keep aside. In the same pan, add onion and fry until the onion is soft.
- Open the pressure cooker lid, add rice, water, salt to taste, cashew nuts and fried onion. Stir well and cook on high heat until the ingredients started to bubble.
- Fit the pressure cooker lid tightly, and pressure-cook it until the cooker emits the steam twice. Turn off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before opening the cooker and serve.