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!
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.