Lorna Sass’s Thai Chickpeas: my first adventure with pressure cooking

On the weekend EPC and I made the journey to the biggest mall in the world to pick up a pressure cooker from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  At $89.00 plus tax the Fagor Rapid Express 6 quart pressure cooker offered the best price for a stainless steel 15 psi cooker.  The price gets better if you sign up for Bed, Bath, and Beyond’s email listing which will provide you with a  coupon entitling you to 20% off your purchase.  I plan to head back in a week or so, coupon and receipt in hand, to get my rebate!

As I mentioned in a earlier post, this month is dedicated to Lorna Sass.  For the entire month of March I will be jumping back and forth between her vegetarian pressure cooker and quick vegan cookbooks.

If you do want some information about pressure cookers I recommend visiting Lorna’s blog or website.  Of course if you pick up one of her pressure cooking cookbooks you will find a wealth of information there as well.  In any case, I will mention a couple of things.  First of all, the pressure cooker that I bought is not one of the old school aluminum jiggle-top specimens.  Instead, it is heavy-duty stainless steel lock top cooker that is sturdy, streamlined and easy to use.  It even comes with an instructional DVD and recipe book!  In addition it is able to reach 15 psi when operating under high pressure.  This is the default pressure that cooker recipes are based on, so it will give you less headaches down the road and more pressure means faster cooking.  I had looked around at a few department stores and found a T-fal pressure cooker for over $200.00 that only reaches 11 psi.  So, more money does not necessarily mean more pressure.

Enough about pressure cookers for the time being.  I am sure I will have more to say about them in the next week or two as I try my hand at this new approach to cooking.

On to more important things, such as the recipe at hand!

Since EPC and I love chickpeas and Thai food, it was no surprise that I selected Thai Chickpeas from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure as my first foray into the world of high pressure delights.  I noticed that Lorna had adapted the recipe from Thai Vegetarian Cooking by Vatcharin Bhumichitr.  Interestingly enough, I too own this cookbook and make this unique chickpea dish all the time!  What a bonus!

It was easy to make.  I chopped up the yams, garlic, tomato, and cilantro.  Whipped up the homemade coconut milk in the blender. Threw everything into the pot, sealed the lid and waited for the burner to heat up.

The steady release of steam throughout the cooking process filled the kitchen with the wonderful fragrance of our evening meal and had EPC hovering around the kitchen wondering when the “experiment” would be ready to eat.

After 18 minutes, I removed the cooker from the heat and used the steam release valve to quickly release the pressure, so I could open the cooker.  What a great way to increase the humidity in the dry winter months!

I cautiously speared a chickpea and the texture was perfect.

After it cooled for a few minutes, I tried a bite.  Delicious!  In fact, using dried chickpeas instead of canned makes huge difference in taste and texture.  If all I do is soak and cook chickpeas, the pressure cooker will be worth it.

After the first few bites, EPC says “is this something I can make?”

I guess Thai Chickpeas are so easy to make and so delicious that my husband wants to take all the credit next time we have them for dinner!

Thai Chickpeas

1 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas, rinsed and soaked overnight
3 cups of homemade coconut milk (3 cups of boiling water and 1 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut) instructions below*
1 teaspoon of garlic, minced
3/4 of a pound (1 large) of yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1 cup of coarsely chopped fresh or canned and drained plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup of fresh basil
2 tablespoon of soy sauce

  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
  • Add the chickpeas, yams, coconut milk, garlic, tomatoes, curry powder, and cilantro
  • Lock the lid and bring the cooker to high pressure over high heat.  Reduce the heat, maintaining high pressure and let cook for 18 minutes.
  • Release the pressure (using quick release or natural release)
  • Remove the lid, tilting it away from you.
  • Add the basil and the soya sauce and stir to break up the yams to make a thick sauce.

*Put the coconut in the blender.  Add the water and let sit for 2-3 minutes.  Then blend for 1 minute.  Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and blend for 30 seconds.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.

Click to print


19 responses to “Lorna Sass’s Thai Chickpeas: my first adventure with pressure cooking

  1. What a great blog!! This chickpea recipe looks so good that I’m tempted to go out and buy a pressure cooker.

  2. Stayed tuned Jo, I will be cooking a few more of Lorna’s pressure cookies recipes from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure over the next month.
    I am sure they will help push you into the pressure cooker camp 🙂
    Besides recipes, the speed at which they cook dried beans is wonderful!

  3. I am lurking all the Edmonton food blogs from Walsh Cooks! I’m so glad she posted up a bunch of links to everyone who went to the meet up (I definitely don’t want to miss the next one)! P.S. I like ya already with your Rebar cookbook tucked in your banner! I’m originally from Victoria but still go back all the time to visit family – and Rebar!


  4. There must be more of us than we think! The get together and all the links to local blogs that I have come across after last night have been very eye opening.

    I am delighted that are so many Edmontonians who LOVE food/cooking and blog about it!

    I am sure I will see you at the next meet up

  5. HI! I’m thrilled that you’ve discovered me and my cookbooks. Pls be sure to credit the source of each recipe and keep my publisher happy by not using more than 3 recipes from each book. Thanks and happy cooking! Lorna

    • What a gracious author! I just ordered the book yesterday and am so excited to be getting it tomorrow! My question is in the recipe above, are we genuinely supposed to use yams? My understanding is that yams are a specialty item from Africa and not the sweet potatoes we typically see in the grocery? If yams are truly the desired ingredient would it be best to use a Japanese sweet potato (which are less sweet and starchier) to mimic the yams? My local co-op actually has these Japanese sweet potatoes but I have never seen a yam around here, even in our local international foods market.
      Thanks Lorna!

  6. No problem Lorna!!
    Thanks for your great cookbooks!

  7. SO it was delicious… after all the information about how to make it – which I appreciate = I just want to be sure it would be worth the effort. So how good was it?
    (Great to meet you the other night… I think I probably already said that – but it was!)

  8. Valerie,
    Great to meet you too!!

    I think it is worth effort, since this recipe really does not take any effort at all! It is super easy 🙂
    (I even ran out curry powder and had to be satisfied with the half the amount that the recipe called for – and it was still delish)

    If you prefer a richer dish, I think you could even use a couple of cans of coconut milk and top it up with water to reach the 3 cup liquid volume. That would make it even easier and you wouldn’t have to wash out the blender.

    We served it over brown rice and we both loved it. One of us will certainly be making it again.

  9. I’ve been a fan of Lorna Sass pressure cooker cookbooks for a while. I recently discovered her blog website (http://pressurecookingwithlornasass.wordpress.com/), and on it I found a recipe for a 1 minute pressure cooked Frugal Apple Compote. I had some apples that needed to be used, and some raisins that were hard as a rock. Using this recipe, I threw it all in the pressure cooker and it made a delicious fruit compote!

  10. Thanks Judy
    I noticed the apple compote recipe on her site last week. I love applesauce, so I think I will be trying this one out!

  11. Pingback: A month of recipes from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure « Cookbook Cooks


  13. Pingback: Thai Chickpea Curry « Cookbook Cooks

  14. FYI: I just posted this comment over on Lorna’s blog. I have also made this recipe for years, after your vegetarian book first came out. Lately though, I’ve taken to adjusting the recipe a bit. In fact, I’ve wanted to write you about them for some time now.

    Instead of chickpeas, I now often used red lentils. I also soak them for a little while first, mainly to reduce cooking time. I overcook the lentils with the coconut, onions, garlic, with added with fresh ginger, galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves, and also some Thai curry paste. Once cooked, I release the pressure and scoop out the galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime, and then puree the lentils with a blender stick. I’ve also taken to adding silken tofu at this stage, and the tomatoes. Once blended, I add the Thai basil and cilantro, and adjust seasonings to taste.

    This approach forms a luscious, thick, creamy base for a more traditional Thai curry with fresh green beans, peppers, and then either fried tofu or a quorn roast cut up into cubes added in, with more fresh herbs over top.

    After thinking and experimenting with the recipe even further, I realized that sweet potatoes and red lentils make a great base for other dishes, but using different spice profiles. I make an Indian “mulligatawny” curried soup that uses this bases, with the coconut, but I start off by toasting whole Indian spices (ginger, fenugreek, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, coriander, turmeric, Madras curry powder, a touch of cardamon, clove) in oil, or a little ghee. I cook the base (not overcooked though), release pressure, but don’t puree it, and then add in some celery, fresh cilantro, basil, chopped fresh fenugreek, red and green peppers. It’s great paired with Chana Saag (Chickpea with greens), to which I sometimes add fried paneer cheese.

    Another variation is similar to Turkish Mericemek Çorbası. Again, red lentils and sweet potato (which is not really a Turkish ingredient, but after making it, I find that it’s just TOO YUMMY, not to mention nutritious to ever leave out!!), but no coconut, and I use European spices like Bay leaves during cooking, and after releasing the pressure add fresh or good canned tomatoes, Italian Basil, oregano, a little rosemary, cilantro, even mint.

    Bon Appetite!

  15. Pingback: Thai Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry | Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.

  16. Great blog! I really love how it is simple to read.
    I’m curious how I might be notified when a new post has been made. I’ve registered to your RSS feed which should
    do! Have a great day and please excuse my poor english!

  17. Pingback: Meal Plan Week 8 | Sappari SolutionsSappari Solutions

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