Pressure Cooker

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Ramadan Cooking: Lamb Makhtoom

It’s almost the end of Ramadan, and I was hoping to cook a few more dishes before I’m no longer allowed to leave work an hour earlier.  I found a YouTube channel called Saudi Food Eman, and I really liked her videos.  This lamb makhtoom looked simple enough to make, and I happened to have some lamb stashed in the freezer from my trip to the market last weekend.

The original recipe called for lamb ribs, but premium lamb French cutlets cost and arm an a leg at B.I.G. (RM200/kg! Ohmigosh!), and the ribs I saw at the market were just too skinny with barely any meat.  Update: I just realized that the correct cut to ask for at my wet market butcher was lamb chops, not ribs.  RM43/kg, not bad at all!  I made this dish again with ribs, and could definitely taste the difference.  The bones added really good flavor to the sauce, and there’s just some strange satisfaction in gnawing juicy meat off the bone.  Don’t skimp on the cilantro, it adds such wonderful dimension to the dish.  

Eman said with lamb chops this dish would only need 10 minutes in the pressure cooker, but I noticed that with my Philips electric pressure cooker, even after 30 minutes it could still use a bit more cooking time.  My first time making this I used lamb shoulder chunks, and I also adjusted the cooking time accordingly.

Another first was using Arabic gum.  In Eman’s video she called it “mystic gum,” but after Googling around I discovered that the word she meant was mastic gum, also known as Arabic gum or Yemen gum.  It is apparently *not* the same as gum Arabic (like, seriously), which is also known as Acacia gum.  I didn’t know this at the time, and I ended up getting both the Arabic and acacia gum.  I used the acacia gum when I made this dish, actually.  Will need to make this again with the Arabic gum proper, to see if there’s any difference in taste.

I loved this dish. The flavor of the tomatoes were nicely infused into the meat, and the cinnamon gave it a lovely sweet aroma.  The tomatoes I had on hand were really small and I had to adjust to what I think the amount should be, but in the end I think there wasn’t enough liquid and the dish turned out a little salty (I still could eat a lot of it though).  Need to make this again to get it right.

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Ramadan Cooking: Chef Ammar’s Mandy Rice with Lamb Shank

Bought a few really nice lamb shanks (and a bunch of other things) from B.I.G. last Friday! They cost a lot more than from the TTDI wet market, but the quality looks top notch.  This weekend was quite busy for me to cook everything I bought, but at least I managed to make this lamb mandy by Chef Ammar.

Chef Ammar has made several iterations of this dish over the years; I even tried out a variation of his recipe a few years back.  This one was from his Ramadan cooking show last year and was a lot easier to follow, with clearer instructions and a more accurate list of ingredients.  I halved the recipe here because there’s only four of us, and modified the recipe a bit to suit my taste.  I also used my Philips HD2139 pressure cooker.

The lamb turned out super tender and flavorful, and the rice was delicious.  I noticed that the 3 lamb shanks fit quite snugly in my electric pressure cooker, so if I want to scale up this recipe for Aidilfitri celebrations, I’ll have to use my larger stovetop one.  In any case, good to know I did them lamb shanks justice!

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Ramadan Cooking: Shorbat el Ads (Middle Eastern Lentil Soup)

Ramadan mubarak, everyone!  Because of the fasting month, we get to leave work an hour early, and this has given me the opportunity to be home early enough to make something for buka puasa.

When Mummy went for her umrah earlier this year, the place she was staying at served a nice lentil soup that she liked very much.  I figured it’d be nice to make her something that she likes, and despite not having much to go by in terms of description (“It’s a nice smooth puree.”), I searched around for possible recipes.  I needed something simple enough which uses fairly common ingredients, so I decided on this highly rated one on BBC Good Food.

This took me two tries to get right.  My first time making this, I halved the recipe but otherwise followed it as written.  While the flavor was very nice, the lentils weren’t tender enough despite the recipe’s reassurance that no pre-soaking was necessary.  I made this again the next day, this time soaking the lentils beforehand and then cooking it using my Philips electric pressure cooker.  The results were wonderful, and Mummy cleaned her bowl with her bread.

Update: Be sure to take your time to sautee the onions.  They should be nicely browned and caramelized after 5 minutes.  Makes a huge difference to the flavor!

A delicious, hearty soup which can be a meal of its own, and very authentic, as verified by my mom.  Give it a try!

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Pressure Cooker Beef Stew with Carrots and Potatoes

During my last trip to the wet market, I bought some beef with the intention of making pot roast for the Round Knights.  Weeks passed, and for some reason or the other I just never got around to do it.  This is becoming a bit of an annoying habit for me now… Anyway, of course the time came for Kak’mbang to start nagging about the amount of space the beef is taking up.  So I decided to get rid of it by using it in another one-pot meal, again using my electric pressure cooker.  I made this stew based on a recipe from Once Upon a Chef.  While I wasn’t wowed the first time tasting it as soon as it was cooked, the flavors really really do develop over time, and in fact this stew was at its best a few days after.  Perfect for busy people who prefer to make their weeknight meals ahead of time.

I served this stew with bread, but this can also be served with buttered pasta if you like.  Enjoy!

Updated on Jul 11 2020 with new pictures. I also quite recently realized that you can saute onions straight in the Philips HD2139 pressure cooker using the Bake function. I still feel that a very hot skillet over the stove is still best for searing the beef, but everything else can pretty much be done using the Bake function for the convenience.

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Weekend Cooking: Pressure Cooker Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

Kak’mbang has been yelling at me for leaving the lamb shoulder chops I bought some time ago to just sit in the freezer for ages.  With my crazy work schedule, I honestly have no energy to make anything involving too much work.  I found this recipe on which got pretty good ratings, and modified it for the pressure cooker using “permissible” ingredients (heh).

By using the pressure cooker the lamb was falling-off-the-bone tender in just one hour.  Flavor-wise Rudy preferred this to the stew, but Kak’mbang liked the stew better.  Looks like I’ll have to make both again from time to time.

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Weekend Cooking: Pressure Cooker Lamb Stew

Tesco was selling lamb shoulder cubes for cheap during the Deepavali festive season, and I figured I’d bring out my pressure cooker and let it see some action.  I based this recipe on one I found on, and it was super easy to make and turned out really yummy.

I love my pressure cooker!

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Pressure-Cooked Chick Peas (Kacang Kuda Rebus)

Some of the yummiest snacks are the simplest, and one of my favorites is boiled chick peas.  For an afternoon snack (and anything in between), boiled chick peas are perhaps a healthier alternative, and I could keep munching on these all day while sipping yummy cups of coffee.  Before the advent of pressure cookers this used to take forever to make, but now we can have these munchies ready within a fraction of the time.  This is how Kak’mbang makes them, apparently based on my (mysterious) Nenek’s recipe.  Enjoy!

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Weekend Cooking: Mary Ryan’s Chicken Pie

This one has been on the back burner for a while (yes the kitchen expression was deliberate. Haha!), but I finally had all the ingredients and equipment I needed on hand.  I totally underestimated how much time it would take to make these, so what was originally supposed to be last night’s dinner ended up being breakfast instead.  The results were extremely rewarding nonetheless.  Yum!

I recommend making the filling ahead and letting it cool down completely in the fridge.  Filling the pies itself is highly labor intensive and time consuming, so staggering the workload a little will make it easier on us when making this.

Based on the recipe by Chef Wan.

Updated on Jul 2, 2017 with new photos and notes.

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Beef Kabsah With Basmathi Rice

I’ve been waiting for Chef Ammar’s spices and recipe book to go mainstream for a very long time, but somehow it never did.  His books are not sold in any major bookstore, and his bottled spices are not sold in any major grocer or supermarket.  His stuff is only sold online by seemingly home-based distributors – on Facebook, mind you – a very amateur, “Hubungi kami untuk menjadi stokis kami” kind of affair.  Personally I think a chef as popular as he should totally go with the big distributors, but that’s a discussion for another day.

So I finally caved and got my hands on his cookbook and his Kabsah and Bukhari spices, and for this Hari Raya Aidiladha Kak’mbang and I decided to try something new.  The original recipe this dish was based on was for lamb shank, but we modified it for the beef we bought from the market.  

We served this with his Arabic Salsa (Sambal Arab).  It was a real hit among guests, and was the first thing to run out.  Will definitely be making this again!

Thank you Chef Ammar!

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