The first cookbook that I have ever read is the Hawkins cookbook. Ok, it’s not a regular cookbook with fancy pictures but just the user’s manual for Hawkins pressure cooker with some Indian and continental recipes. Every household in my place owns more than one pressure cooker. It seems that our kitchens are incomplete without them. And the brand that I have only seen is Hawkins. You need to cook rice, put in a pressure cooker, you need to cook lentils or eggs or steam vegetables, put it into a pressure cooker. And every cooker from Hawkins comes with the mandatory users’manual with some easy to cook recipes. These one pot meal recipes were taken from different parts of India and abroad. They also provided a list of spices and food terms and it was my handy companion to know what people are cooking. Well, I came to know the difference between soup and stew from Hawkins users’ manual only otherwise, where else a teenager girl from an almost village-like town can learn about continental food?
To say that I loved the manual will not be sufficient. I adored the manual. It was my door to the world where the same ingredients were described to be cooked in various cuisines. It was my first encounter with the world of food and it intrigued me to learn more about the food. Our food shows were limited to a one-hour weekly program of Tara Dalal at that time and I used to stare at the cover of the manual to learn how they decorate the food. I still remember to insist my mother cook from any recipe just like the manual had.
The first thing that I loved about the recipes in Hawkins manual is that the instructions were given to cook food in the pressure cooker as well. Till now, I remain sucker of quick and one pot meal recipes. That manual taught me to cook so many dishes that I have lost its count. I can still imagine me going through pages after pages to read more and more about cuisines from other parts of the world.
When I learned to cook, the first thing that I tried from the Hawkins manual was pulao. Pulao is an Indian dish which is basically herb and spice infused rice on your plate. Depending on the availability, the ingredients of the pulao can be varied from one dish to another.
Although you can cook any pulao in your Hawkins pressure cooker, I prefer to cook vegetarian pulao in it. It takes hardly 7 minutes to cook veg pulao in a pressure cooker. Here is the recipe that I use to cook pulao in cooker. This pulao can be eaten with any curry of your choice. It is a wholesome meal and comes quite handy when you are tired or busy to cook a full meal.
- 1 cup basmati rice
- Whole spices
- Two large size onions
- 1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste
- Vegetables of your choice, diced and cubed
- Ghee/oil, and salt
- Wash and soak the rice for atleast 30 miutes.
- Now heat ghee in pressure cooker.
- Temper the oil with whole spices.
- Now fry the onions (cut into thin slices) till they turn soft.
- Add the vegetables, salt and ginger garlic paste and saute till the masals leave their raw smell.
- Add the rice and stir well.
- Add required water and close the lid of the cooker.
- Bring it to full pressure and keep for five minutes.
- Now switch off the heat and release the steam.
- Your pulao is ready in no time.
- You can add dry fruits along with the vegetables.