I tend to flip quickly through new cookbooks, skimming over all of the recipes I know I’ll never make: The recipes are too complicated, I don’t keep the necessary ingredients on hand, or the recipes are just another way of combining foods that we get enough of already.
But when Yosefa got interested in pressure cookers and praised Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure, I asked if I could borrow it.
I am not sure when Yosefa will see her book again. Even though I don’t live in the US, I could easily find 95% of the ingredients in the local market. Most of the suggestions include foods that I want to cook more often including quinoa, bulgur, beans peas and lentils, and a wide range of vegetables. The cookbook is nearly all vegan, with a wide range of gluten-free choices as well.
Even when a recipe calls for something that is usually bought processed, like coconut milk, Sass teaches you how to make it at home from dried coconut. It’s worth buying Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure for that alone. And she gives loads of tips for using your pressure cooker, along with general cooking tips. For instance, she tells us that soaking brown rice reduces cooking time by 40%. Now that’s the kind of tip I like.
Sass teaches you how to make pressure cooked foods more flavorful, and how to avoid scorching foods like tomato sauces.
Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure also includes cooking charts with times for beans and whole grains. She likes to combine whole grains like quinoa or bulgur with brown rice. She lists a selection of “additions” to plain whole grains, classifying them according to whether you’re serving them with Mexican, Chinese or Indian food.
Last week I shared her recipe for Last-Minute Black-Eyed Pea Chili, which will give you a taste of her style. I’ve also made the Caribbean rice with hot pepper and coconut, Potatoes Paprikash, and Lentils and Squash (no need to take off the peel from the butternut squash!).
My only complaint so far is that she recommends cooking brown rice for 25 minutes in the pressure cooker, when I usually cook it for ten. She maintains that the longer cooking time makes the rice chewier and more digestible. I think the right answer for me might be somewhere in between, but I’m still experimenting.
I haven’t completely read through it and am looking forward to learning more tips. And Yosefa, you don’t have to worry—I will definitely be getting my own copy.
Reader tdr pointed out that Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure got five full stars on Amazon.