In defense of the Indian pressure cookerAll my life I have watched my mother use her 5ltr pressure cooker to cook dal and rice. Sometimes, she cooks some eggs or potatoes on the cover of the top separator pan, successfully cooking all three at once. She uses her pressure pan to make pulaos and her 3 ltr Prestige to make delicious rassas and boil chickpeas and black-eyed peas. She used the 5ltr, without the whistle, to steam idlis and dhoklas.
My first lesson in cooking prep was washing and soaking toor dal and rice for the daily meals. The dal needed to be soaked in water after three rinses. The rice needed to be drained of water after a couple of rinses. I still remember that rule while cooking my dal and rice, though I don’t use a 5ltr cooker.
I do have three 3ltr cookers, two Prestige (one aluminum and one stainless steel), one Hawkins, a small 1.5ltr Hawkins and a Prestige pressure pan. I use one or the other at least five to six times a week. I have used them for the last 12 years and I have had occasional problems with the gasket getting loose or the pressure valve not working properly. However, I have never had any blow up in my face. I don’t know anyone, in almost 40 years of my life, who has had a pressure cooker blow up in their face. I haven’t heard of anyone whom I know or of anyone who knew anyone I know who had a pressure cooker blow up in their face.
So, I was very surprised when a cookbook author claimed on her fb page that Indian pressure cookers were unsafe and tended to blow up in people’s faces. Not sure where she got her facts from or if she knew someone who had a pressure cooker blow up in their face. But she seemed pretty certain that it was a regular occurrence and it was best to use a “modern” (read Western) pressure cooker which went through stringent regulations, like the one she used.
Now, I fully support her choice to use a “modern” pressure cooker. But I do not endorse her view stated as fact that Indian pressure cookers are unsafe and blow up in people’s faces. That is a bit of hyperbole in my opinion. India pressure cookers go through just as rigorous testing and probably more because they are such an essential part of every Indian household. Not to mention they did use to blow up in people’s faces. But that was decades ago when people were new to cookers and sometimes did not use them the correct way or got a cheap brand. I still remember that Amin Sayani TV ad, “Jo biwi se kare pyaar, woh Prestige se kaise kare inkar” (one who loves his wife will never say no to a Prestige). You know, in case the cheaper brand blew up in her face.
So, here is your assignment for the month of January. Cook something using an Indian pressure cooker. Blog about it and preferably write about your experiences with cooking with an Indian pc for the first time or the umpteenth time. You can write a funny anecdote or a story related to the Indian pressure cooker. You can even write about your preference for the brand of pressure cooker you use.
Now, for the most important part, end your blog post with the line, “I cooked the ... (above) with my Indian pressure cooker and it didn’t blow up in my face”. Your deadline is Feb 28 or till I post the roundup. Send me a picture of the pressure cooker you used, along with your name, name of the blog and a link to your post on jayawagle (at) gmail.com. Remember to include a link to this post. Now go, get your Indian pressure cooker out of the cabinet and blow those whistles.