How to use a Pressure Cooker?

After the required number of whistles, the stove should be turned off. Once the heat is off, all the steam releases naturally in 5-10 minutes. This is the best way of cooking as it retains all flavours and nutrients. However, steam can also be quick released by using the steam release valve or by gently lifting the whistle (depends on the model of cooker and instructions that came with it). Check out my video to see how steam can be released early before its usual time.

In general, perform these safety checks and you will be good to go:
1. Check to make sure there are no dents or cracks in your pressure cooker or the rubber gasket before using it.
2. There must always be some sort of liquid in your pressure cooker before you close the lid.
3. The pressure cooker should never be more than ⅔ full as there needs to be room for the steam to accumulate.
4. Never try to force open the lid of the pressure cooker when there is steam inside. You can get seriously burnt.
5. Even when it is safe to open the lid, lift the lid away from your face, as the contents will be steaming hot.
6. All pressure cookers have a quick release valve/system. Follow the instructions to make sure you are doing it correctly.

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Which Pressure Cooker to buy?

A few quick buying tips:

  1. Go with a spring valve for quieter more efficient operation or finger-tip pressure release that prevents clogging of the steam vent.
  2. You can also go for one with two pressure levels (High and Low) to keep you from pulverizing fish and veggies while you’re infusing them with great flavour
  3. I prefer the black hard anodized stovetop model over the electric one. Particularly because it makes the pressure cooker absorb heat faster making it more energy-efficient. And the pressure cooker stays looking new for years.
  4. Start with a 5-6L (that is the most versatile size) but if you can afford it get a set that uses the same pressure cooking top with a smaller 3-4L pan (for making side dishes, rice for one, pasta sauces, etc).

Are high-end pressure cookers worth the money?

Yes, and no. You get what you pay for and if you pay a lot you get a lot of hard anodized metal, stainless steel, bells & whistles and accessories. This extra metal retains heat like you wouldn’t believe and needs less energy to operate and makes things stick a little less.

No, in the sense that all that extra metal takes a few minutes less to reach pressure. And, as for extra accessories for extra money like a steaming pan,  you might already have it in your kitchen. The end the result is the same: pressure cooked food. Do not let budget get in the way of getting your first pressure cooker!

Colourful Beet Dip-दही गुलाबो चटनी

Calorie wise nutritious home made spread 
Gluten Free, quick to make 
Packed with Minerals, Vitamins and Antioxidants
Ingredients:
500 grams greek yogurt
One small beet root
1 teaspoon salt
1spring onion chopped small
2 inch frozen crushed green chilli (optional)
2 cloves of crushed garlic fresh or frozen
Preparation:
If you do not use greek yogurt, you will need to extract water from regular yogurt.For this put yogurt in a muslin cloth and hang it for 1-2 hours for the water to drain out.
STEPS:
Step 1. Chop beetroot very small by hand or in a chopper and cook in microwave for 1 minute to make it tender.
Step 2. Add salt, beetroot, spring onion, frozen chopped garlic, and frozen crushed green chilli  to greek yogurt or block of yogurt.
Step 3. Mix everything thoroughly and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Handy Tips:IMG_2163

1. Beetroot yogurt dip can be served with baked naan bread, corn wafers,  crackers or thin savoury biscuits.
2. You can be as creative as you want to be , add other herbs like dill weed, rosemary, basil, mint, coriander or spices like red chilli pepper, black pepper.
2. You can also add finely chopped bell peppers, mushrooms or cucumber, going even further you could add bacon pieces.

SPICY COCONUT DIP-नारियल की चटनी

Gluten Free, quick and nutritious

It is a complete food rich in calories, vitamins, and minerals.

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
For Dip:
200 grams frozen shredded coconut
50 grams of dry roasted chickpea or peanuts
2 fresh green chilli or 1 inch of frozen crushed green chilli
100 ml milk
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 inch of frozen grated ginger

For Garnish:
1 teaspoon of oil
1 tablespoon of black mustard seeds
10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
2 whole dried red chilli

STEPS:
STEP 1. Put all ingredients for coconut dip in a food processor/grinder until it forms a smooth paste, keep adding milk if needed and let it grind for a minute or two for shredded coconut to get smooth.
STEP 2. For garnish, heat oil in a small ladle, add mustard seeds, red chilli and curry leaves until lightly roasted.
STEP 3. Add this to the dip, mix well, let it sit for 15-20 minutes for flavour of garnish to permeate.

IMG_1612HANDY TIPS:

  1. You can use fresh or frozen shredded coconut, the taste of the dip will be the same.
  2. roasted chickpeas can be replaced with peanuts or almonds, they will give the same smoothness and a different flavour to the dip.

Healthy Water-पुदीना पानी

mint water

All of us know drinking enough water is good for general health. And what if you can drink some healthy water every time you take a sip.  Mint has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food.

Mint has a natural acid which has been studied for its effectiveness in relieving seasonal allergy symptoms. Mint is known to be a natural treatment for common cold, indigestion, pain relief, heart burns, gastric ulcers, skin and oral health.

Every time you fill up a pitcher of water for yourself, family or the guests, add a few mint leaves. Squeeze or crush them with clean hands before putting them in water. Add a few pieces of lime or lemon to help cleanse your digestive system. Lemon and lime also help to control fat and grease in your body.

Enjoy this healthy yet simple concoction every day.

Cucumber Dill Yogurt Dip-खीरा दही की सदाबहार चटनी

Gluten Free
Loaded with goodness of yogurt and coolness of cucumber
Quick to make  
Ingredients:
500 grams greek yogurt
One medium cucumber grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dry dill weed or fresh chopped dill leaves
2 inch frozen crushed green chilli (optional)
25 grams of cut coriander leaves
2 cloves of crushed garlic fresh or frozen
Preparation:
If you do not use greek yogurt, you will need to extract water from regular yogurt.For this put yogurt in a muslin cloth and hang it for 1-2 hours for the water to drain out.
STEPS:
Step 1. Grate cucumber and add 1/2 teaspoon salt to it, leave it for 5  minutes and then squeeze water out of it.
Step 2. Add salt, grated cucumber, dill, coriander leaves, garlic (fresh or frozen), and frozen crushed green chilli  to greek yogurt or block of yogurt.
Step 3. Mix everything thoroughly. Let it rest for some time or serve immediately.

Handy Tips:IMG_1598

1. This dip goes well as a spread for sandwiches, gyros, shawarma, as a dip with grilled veggies, meats, baked naan bread, corn wafers,  crackers or thin savoury biscuits.
2. You can be as creative as you want to be, add spring onion or other herbs like chives, rosemary, basil, mint, or spices like red chilli pepper, black pepper.

BROCCOLI ALMOND YOGURT DIP-हरी गोभी,बादाम और दही की चटनी

Calorie wise Nutritious home made spread 
Gluten Free, quick to make  
Ingredients:
500 grams greek yogurt
One 50 grams floret of broccoli cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon salt
30 grams of crushed almonds
1 tablespoon dry dill weed or 25 grams cut fresh dill or 10 crushed mint leaves
2 inch frozen crushed green chilli (optional)
2 cloves of crushed garlic fresh or frozen
Preparation:
If you do not use greek yogurt, you will need to extract water from regular yogurt.For this put yogurt in a muslin cloth and hang it for 1-2 hours for the water to drain out.
STEPS:
Step 1. Boil Broccoli in water for 3-4 minutes or cook in microwave for 1-2 minutes to make it tender.
Step 2. Add salt, broccoli, crushed almonds, garlic, and frozen crushed green chilli  to greek yogurt or block of yogurt.
Step 3. Mix everything thoroughly in a blender and add olive oil (optional)

Handy Tips:IMG_1623

 

1. This dip goes well with grilled veggies, meats, baked naan bread, corn wafers,  crackers or thin savoury biscuits.
2. You can be as creative as you want to be, add spring onion or other herbs like chives, rosemary, basil, mint, or spices like red chilli pepper, black pepper.

Spinach Pecan Yogurt Dip-दही पालक की चटनी

Healthy home made alternative to high calorie readymade dips
Gluten Free, quick to make and nutritious 
Ingredients:
500 grams greek yogurt
10 nuggets of frozen spinach or 200 grams of fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon salt
1 tea spoon of oil ( for sautéing spinach)
1 tablespoon of olive oil (optional)
30 grams of crushed pecans
1 tablespoon of seasoning of your choice
2 inch frozen crushed green chilli (optional)
2 cloves of crushed garlic fresh or frozen
Preparation:
If you do not use greek yogurt, you will need to extract water from regular yogurt.For this put yogurt in a muslin cloth and hang it for 1-2 hours for the water to drain out.
STEPS:
Step 1. If frozen, thaw and cook spinach in microwave for 3-4 minutes and remove all water. Sauté spinach and garlic in  a pan.
Step 2. Add salt, sautéed spinach, seasoning, frozen crushed green chilli and pecans to greek yogurt or block of yogurt drained in muslin cloth.
Step 3. Mix everything thoroughly and add olive oil (optional).
Handy Tips:IMG_1488
1. Spinach yogurt dip can be served cold or warm (serve as you make it warm sautéed spinach or heat up in Microwave for 30 seconds) to go with baked naan bread, corn wafers,  crackers or thin savoury biscuits.
2. You can be as creative as you want to be , add spring onion or other herbs like dill weed, rosemary, basil, mint, coriander or spices like red chilli pepper, black pepper.
2. You can also add finely chopped bell peppers, mushrooms or cucumber.

Yogurt Dip Grilled Zucchini & Eggplant

SERVES: 2-3

GLUTEN FREE-Good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, plus potassium and fibre.

QUICK TO MAKE

COOKING TIME: 8-10 Minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 Zucchini
2 long eggplant
100 grams sliced mushrooms
1 big tomato chopped
50 grams grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
PREPARATION
Make diagonal cuts on zucchini and eggplant without letting them break.
STEPS
STEP 1. For pan cooking- Place zucchini and eggplant in 1 teaspoon of heated oil, sprinkle salt and red chilli powder. Add tomatoes and mushroom. Close the lid of pan to cook for 4-5 minutes on high flame.
For oven/grill cooking- Sprinkle salt and red chilli powder on zucchini and eggplant. Place on the baking tray/grill,  add tomatoes and mushroom. Grill/Bake for 10-12 minutes.
STEP 2. When zucchini and eggplant are tender, add dollops of yogurt dip, spring onion and cheese and let it grill/bake or broil( for pan cooked method) for 2-3 minutes.
STEP 3. Serve it with sweet potato fries smeared in yogurt dip and green coriander chutney.
HANDY TIPS:thumb_IMG_1400_1024
1. Using the pan method saves electric/fuel energy used in oven/grill and has reduced cooking time as it uses water from tomatoes to cook the veggies faster.
2. Be creative and throw in other veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato or turnips.

 

Quick Spinach Stuffed Chicken Picks

SERVES: 3-4

GLUTEN FREE- Loaded With Proteins and FIBRE -QUICK TO MAKE

COOKING TIME: 10-15 Minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 Chicken breast fillet
100 grams Baby Spinach leaves
12 Pecan or walnuts halves
6 dried apricot or dates cut into half
50 grams grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 fresh green chilli or 1 inch of frozen crushed green chilli
1 inch of frozen or fresh grated ginger
1 inch of frozen or fresh crushed garlic
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon all spice powder
12 Bamboo picks
PREPARATION
Cut Chicken breast into thin layers and make long stripes
STEPS
STEP 1. Mix ginger, garlic, salt and all spice and make a paste.
STEP 2. Place chicken stripes on a cutting board and rub the garlic ginger paste,. Now you need to place rest of the ingredients to cover the surface of each stripe and roll the chicken stripe.  (Suggestion- start with placing spinach leaves, then grated cheese, one half of pecan/walnut and then one half of dried apricot/date on top end of the stripe).
STEP 3. Stick in a bamboo pick/toothpick making sure you take the nut/date into the pick and place all chicken picks on a baking tray or on the grill on barbecue.
STEP 4. Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees C and broil for 2 minutes at 550 degrees to give it the golden colour. If using barbecue, grill on high heat for 5-10 minutes.
Serve it with one of the delicious and healthy Yogurt dips
HANDY TIPS:thumb_IMG_1435_1024
1. This can be cooked in microwave also with convection option.
2.Put a dollop of  yogurt dip to give it a moist feel.
3. Always cook chicken breast on high heat as it cooks very fast and short time of cooking retains all its juices.
4. Be creative and replace spinach with basil or other herbs of your choice or roll a bacon strip outside to give a dramatic look.