Friday, July 07, 2006


Mom bought me an electric pressure cooker from a Chinese street peddler. She claims the food tastes better than conventional cooking, without the fuss. It's a pre-programmed pot with buttons for cooking rice, porridge, meat, fish bean and soup. You just put in all the stuff you want to cook, press a button, go off to work, and when you come back viola! Your warm meal is ready.

I'm testing it with a beef goulash recipe, which I normally cooked in the oven using a casserole dish. All the buttons and manual are in Chinese which I can't read. After a few phone calls and fiddling with the pressure release dial, I finally got it working without loosing pressure. It took half the time to cook compared with using an oven.

I've got this
Argentinean strip lion beef. It's similar to blade. The description below is adapted for conventional oven. (I have added carrots, potatoes and mushrooms to this dish, because I'm having just this with French loaf for dinner. Reminds me of the meals they served in those old spaghetti Western movies)


1 kg. strip loin beef

2 tbsp flour

1 large onion

12 shallots

4 cloves garlic

1 can button mushroom (230 gm drained)

2 tbsp hot paprika

1 tbsp basil

1 tsp caraway seeds

½ tsp thyme

1 beef stock cube

1 liter water


Cooking oil

2 large carrots

8 medium potatoes

  1. Trim the fat off the beef. Cut into 2"x1"x¾ " chunks. Coat it with flour.
  2. Skin onion, shallots and garlic. Cut onion in half, then quartered both halves. Leave the garlic and shallots as whole.
  3. Put enough oil in a pan to sear the beef on both sides, about 3 minutes each side. Fry in batches if you have to. Scoop into oven-proof casserole dish, reserving the oil.
  4. In the same pan, fry the onion, garlic and shallots until soft on medium heat. Pile on top of beef. Reserve the oil.
  5. Fry the mushrooms in the pan , searing slightly. Put into casserole dish.
  6. Put in all the spices and beef stock cube into the pan. Add 1 liter water. Bring to a boil; make sure the beef stock cube is dissolved. Pour into dish.
  7. Put the dish into a pre-heated oven of 1800C or 3560F for 2 hours.
  8. Peel both carrots and potatoes. Cut carrots into large chunks and leave the potatoes as whole.
  9. After the 2 hours thicken roux with flour or corn starch (cornflour+water). Add salt to taste, and pop in the carrots and potatoes, making sure they sit beneath the gravy. Lower the temperature of oven to 1600C (3200F). Put the casserole dish in the oven for another 30 minutes.
In the electric pressure cooker, the meat is cooked on 2 cycles using the 'meat button' (1 cycle is about 30 minutes). After that, I put in the potatoes and carrots using the 'beans button' on 1 cycle. All procedure is the same as above.

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As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

May the Farce be With You!


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