I have always been wary of pressure cookers, possibly the fear of explosion, possibly various complexities. I have to admit I am hopeless when it comes to reading instruction manuals. I also have a rather alarming childhood experience of pressure cookers. My mother had purchased an Easicook pressure cooker from a house auction. It looked like a bomb. If you saw it protruding from the sand on a beach you would call the coastguard or the army.
Scary isn’t it. The reason for my wariness is that Mum somehow contrived to explode the contents of the thing all over the kitchen ceiling, not pleasant. I don’t know how she managed this unpleasant feat, I don’t think she wanted to admit that she might have acted in a foolhardy way by opening it when the pressure was still in it.
I purchased a Prestige six litre stainless steel pressure cooker, this was an induction capable model as nearly all my hob top cooking is done on an eight year old Stellar two ring induction cooker, noisy but effective. The initial heating up to full pressure is done on max, #8 then when pressure is reached I knock the heat down to #2 or #3.
Harmless looking isn’t it. I bought it because I had suggested to my local pub, The Borough Arms in Lymington run by friends Terry Smith and Sarah Murphy, that another friend Sue Price and I do a curry night. Having researched the internet a bit I discovered that many Indian people swear by their pressure cookers. I was to make a tarka dhal and rogan josh. I also made a fruit chaat masala, see earlier blog, this didn’t require cooking. I was to be cooking for twenty so I thought I would risk trying to do it all in a pressure cooker. All went well apart from some sticking of the rogan josh to the bottom of the pan. The meat certainly tenderised excellently.
Today I am doing some Northern Soul cooking. I am making pease pudding in ham hock stock. The yellow split peas have soaked over night an I have given them 5 minutes on 12psi. That didn’t quite soften them enough so they are getting another 5 minutes, this time with the shredded ham hock on the top.
Just opened it up and I see that it could do with another 5 minutes. Each of these 5 minute sessions has been 5 minutes after full pressure has built up. Then I set the induction cooker for 5 minutes and let the pressure drop naturally. I am hoping that these three sessions will have done the job. Next time I shall start with 10 minutes. I hope that the bottom doesn’t burn again.
All seems well. It looks like pease pudding for lunch or supper, I might top it with a poached or fried egg. I have yet to find or try making a stottie cake which is the traditional Geordie accompaniment.