I have mentioned about my love for kitchen gadgets on this blog many times, and I am repeating the same now :-). Peeling and chopping vegetables are one among the most common task in the culinary world. Some vegetables are easy to handle, but some are not. Even with easy veggies, we need to be careful while chopping and peeling. Then imagine the veggies like raw banana which is sticky and ridge gourd which has a rough skin. We need to be extra careful with those veggies. I firmly believe that safety should be the priority in the kitchen. With that said I always look for kitchen gadgets that ensure safety and at the same time that saves time in the prep work.
Disclaimer: My self interest in learning about basics and traditions of Thai cuisine motivated me to explore these ingredients. I relied a lot upon on internet and wiki and I have provided all the references here and do not claim these are 100% correct. I would love to get your feedback and if you have any book references please let me know.
One of the kitchen gadget, rather I should say vessel that I can not live without is pressure cooker and its separators. When I first came to US, I didn’t bring any pressure cooker. My husband said that rice cooker and microwave are sufficient, and we don’t need pressure cooker. So as a obedient wife (??), I didn’t bring my pressure cooker. We both had lot of space in our baggages. Both of us could carry 64 kgs each, but can you believe we together bought 60kgs. Within a month, I realized I need pressure cooker. Me and my hubby would have fought about that for zillion times. Every time when I need to pull his legs, I bring up this topic.
So next time when I went to India, I came back with 2 pressure cookers. One 3 litre and one 7 litres with its separators. These separators are really really helpful, especially for south Indian cooking where rice is the staple.
What are these separators? Vessels, like tiffin carrier(either 2 piece or 3 piece) which can be kept inside the pressure cooker and used to cook multiple food together. Both Hawkins and prestige brand has these separators. The one I have is prestige brand.
I usually keep rice in the bottom vessel, dhal and veggies in the other two. If your rice, dhal and veggies are done, then your cooking is half done. During winter, I pressure cook my rice, dhal and veggies in the night and leave the food inside the pressure cooker itself. Morning, I just need to do the real cooking, either sambhar or rasam and curry. I don’t need to wait for dhal to be cooked or veggies to be cooked. It saves a whole lot of time.
If I have leftovers from the previous day, I cook rice and dhal in the morning before going to work and do the remaining cooking in the evening.
Here is a small non-recipe post about seasoning or tempering or tadka (Hindi) or thalipu (Tamil). Pretty much all the recipes require tempering and without that the dish is not complete at all. When I started cooking, this is what my mom taught me and I am sharing the same here. Basically this post is all about what kind of tempering/tadka/thalipu I use for each and every recipe.