THE ELECTRIC KITCHEN
Local favorites cook up faster under pressure
VERY OFTEN, the best ideas come from customers. The other day, a customer asked how to adjust the corned beef recipe featured here on March 8 when using a pressure cooker. He said he loves his newly acquired "kitchen wonder" --meats come out extra flavorful and tender and cooking time is greatly reduced. "Don't you think that a pressure cooker can not only save time, but money, too?" he asked. "If you don't have to cook things as long, that saves energy!"
He's right on all points. As a rule, cooking with a pressure cooker will reduce cooking time by two-thirds. In other words, you would cook the dish for one-third the time called for in a recipe. For the corned beef recipe, the simmer time would be 1 to 1-1/2 hours, rather than 3 to 4 hours. With that kind of time saving, soups, stews and other braised dishes are do-able on weekdays.
A pressure cooker is a saucepan with a locking lid, able to create intense steam heat. This process tenderizes tough foods while retaining flavors. For these reasons, pressure cookers are making a comeback. They were popular in the '60s but many people were intimidated by them, for fear that too much pressure would build up in the pot.
Today's pressure cookers are safe and easy to use -- they have at least three valves for safety and will automatically release pressure if it builds too high. Many Web sites offer information on pressure cookers -- how to select one, use it and keep it in good condition. It's also important to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for best results.
HERE ARE two recipes from our files that adapt well to pressure cookers.
Chicken Soup with Papaya (Tinola)
2-1/2 pounds chicken pieces
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small piece ginger, crushed
1 onion, sliced
2 cans (14-1/2 ounce size) chicken broth
2 cups water
1 green papaya, pared, seeded
4 cups marungay leaves, optional
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil and brown chicken. Add ginger and onion; cook until onion is transparent. Add broth and water. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Cut papaya into 2-by-1/2-inch pieces. Add to soup and cook 5 to 10 minutes, until papaya is tender. Add marungay leaves; turn off heat and let stand 2 minutes. Serves 6.
To cook in pressure cooker: Brown chicken as directed above; add ginger and onion, then broth and water. Cover and bring to high pressure over high heat. Lower heat to stabilize pressure. Cook 20 minutes.
Remove from heat; release pressure. Add papaya pieces and marungay leaves as directed above (you can cover the pressure cooker, but do not lock the lid.)
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 300 calories, 13 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 110 mg cholesterol, greater than 1,000 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 37 g protein
Oxtail Stew (Kari Kari)
5 pounds oxtail pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons achiote oil (see note)
3 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1-1/2 pounds long eggplants, cut in 1/2 inch lengths
1 pound long beans, cut in 2 inch lengths
In a large pot, brown oxtail in oil. Drain.
In same pot, sauté onion and garlic in achiote oil. Add oxtail pieces, 2 quarts of the water, and salt; bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer 2-1/2 hours; skim excess fat.
In small skillet, toast rice over low heat until golden brown. Put into a blender; cover and blend to a powder. Empty blender.
Put peanuts in blender; cover and blend until finely ground.
Add rice powder, ground peanuts, eggplants, beans and remaining 1 quart water to stew. Bring to boil; lower heat and cook 15 more minutes. Serves 8.
To cook in pressure cooker: Brown oxtail and sauté onions and garlic as directed above. Add water and salt. Cover and bring to high pressure over high heat. Lower heat to stabilize pressure. Cook 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Release pressure; skim fat.
Prepare rice powder and ground peanuts as directed above. Combine with vegetables and remaining water. Bring to boil; lower heat and cook 15 more minutes (you can cover the pressure cooker, but do not lock the lid.)
Nutritional information unavailable.
Note: To make achiote oil, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon achiote seeds in small skillet for 2 minutes. Strain and discard seeds. (Achiote is the seed of the lipstick plant; also known as annatto or achuete.)
Hawaiian Electric Co. presents this weekly collection of recipes as a public service. Many are drawn from HECO's database of recipes, accessible online at www.heco.com