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.