Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pressure Cooker Indian Chickpeas

Is your body seeking nourishment after being strung out on a deluge of refined carbohydrates for the past few days (week?). I know mine is. A few months ago I bought this pressure cooker because it was on sale really cheap and I had seen the chefs use pressure cookers fairly regularly on Top Chef (Season 8 is awesome, by the way). But, since I had never used one before (and I had a slight fear of the whole thing blowing up on the stove) it sat on the shelf until now. I was a fool! Pressure cookers are awesome and can cook up dried beans in no time flat, making canned beans a thing of the past. My trick is to soak an entire bag of beans overnight, then keep them in the freezer until I need them for the pressure cooker. I then experimented with making wholesome one pot meals that could go from cutting board to table in about 40 mins (depending on your chopping skills). This is my first one pot wonder--next is an Ethiopian stew.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 curry leaves (optional)
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 cup yellow split peas, well-rinsed and drained
- 1.5 cups soaked chick peas (i.e. dry chickpeas that have been soaked for 8 hours or so)
- 2.5 cups water
- 2 onions, halved and sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (plus another 1/4 cup for later)
- 1 green chile, seeded and chopped
- 1 tomato, diced
- 2 cups diced butternut squash (or sweet potato)
- salt to taste

1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add mustard and cumin seeds and fry until fragrant and popping. Add in other spices and curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds. Set aside.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pressure cooker, then add fried spices and season to taste with salt. Mix well.
3. Close pressure cooker and place over high heat. When pressure is reached, turn heat to low and cook for 20 mins. Remove from heat and wait for pressure to decrease.
4. Open the pressure cooker and add the additional 1/4 cup of cilantro. Gently mix to blend everything together (the split peas will break apart, as will the onions and squash, and the mixture will thicken). Serve over rice.