This is the kitchen appliance which will help reduce my cooking time for beef stews from 3 hrs to 40 mins and produce risottos in 7 mins !!!
I've been researching online for over a month now on which pressure cooker to buy. I've never actually used one before. But I have seen my grandma use her rather loud pressure cooker to cook abalone. An appliance which I remember to quite scary... The way it would go off.. I used to think it would blow up in someone's face.
After a going through numerous reviews of pressure cookers on Amazon, I had pretty much narrowed my choices down to a stovetop cooker. An electric cooker would save an extra stovetop space, but given the amount of bench space available at my little kitchenette, it wasn't going to be much different. A few reviewers who had both an electric and stovetop cooker said that they preferred the stovetop version over the electronic cookers. This was mostly due to the ease of browning meats and better control of the temperature and high pressure achieved.
After reading Helen @ GrabYourFork's review on three difference pressure cookers, I was pretty much sold on the Fagor Duo.
I christened my new pressure cooker with my Beef Rendang recipe. :)
This usually takes me about 3 hrs to make and requires constant stirring and checking to make sure the bottom doesn't stick and burn. In the Fagor Duo, it took about 35 mins. With 5-7 mins extra cooking with the lid off when I had to add in the sugar, salt and toasted desiccated coconut.
My version of beef rendang is probably less dry and has more sauce (..I like to mix the sauce in with my rice..) than the traditional version. I doubled the amount of coconut milk to achieve this and also added in some curry leaves. You can half the coconut milk required and omit the curry leaves if you like.
Here is the full recipe...
In a food processor, pulse together:
- 3cm galangal (sliced)
- 3cm ginger (skin removed)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 dried chilli (cut up with scissors, soaked in water, seeds discarded)
Then use as a spice rub and mix together with:
- 1kg chuck steak (cut into 3cm cubes)
- 2 tablespoon peanut oil
- 2 teaspoon salt
Set the mixed beef cubes aside and in the pressure cooker stir fry:
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 10 red shallots (roughly sliced)
- 1 stalk lemongrass (ends removed, sliced into 3 parts, bruised, outer green layer discarded)
Once the shallots start to brown, add in the following spices and stir fry together:
- 3 curry leaves (optional)
- 2 star anise
- 4 kaffir lime leaves (torn in half down the spine)
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon bark (about 5cm long..)
After you can start to smell the aroma from the spices, the add in the beef and brown on all sides, then pour in (one after another):
- 2 teaspoons tamarind paste (diluted with a tablespoon of water)
- 1 tablespoon thick soy sauce
- 500ml coconut milk
If the coconut milk doesn't come up half way to the beef cubes, then add in 1/2 cup of water.
Place lid on pressure cooker, set it to high (15 psi), enable safety lock, then turn up the heat to bring the cooker to pressure. Once pressure has been achieved, turn the heat back down so that only slow continued puffs of steam are released. After 35 mins, turn the heat off, then use the automatic release method to release the pressure. Once all the pressure has been released, unlock the cooker and remove the lid.
Don't worry if the contents in the pot looks a bit weird (its the coconut milk that has separated), just give it a quick stir to combine everything together again.
Turn the heat back on to the lowest setting and add:
- 5cm stick brown block sugar (broken up with a pestle mortar..see notes below for substitutes)
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut (lightly toasted in a pan)
- salt to taste
Continue to simmer on low heat for about 5-7 mins. Gently stir the contents in the pot around and make sure everything is combined and the block sugar (if using) has broken down.
Taste the rendang sauce and add more sugar or salt as required.
- I got the brown block sugar from a Asian grocery store. You can use palm sugar (which would probably be more authentic) or substitute this with about 1 ½ tablespoons of brown sugar instead.
- Bruising the lemongrass consisted of smashing it with the back of my chopping knife
- I got the cinnamon bark from a Asian grocery store. It doesn't have the curly bits like normal cinnamon and looks a lot more 'bark-like'. I think it maybe called Cassia bark.. but I can't be sure. You can use a normal cinnamon stick instead.
- After making this, I think you can probably change the order around a bit by using 1 cup of water to cook the beef in the pressure cooker, and adding the coconut milk in the last 5-7 mins of cooking. I will give this method a try, once I get my hands on some more chuck steak :)