Slow cooker for Indian cooking – an Introduction
Slow cookers are a blessing in disguise – a lifesaver for busy families. Whether you are a working mom or a stay-at- home mom, slow cookers can be your best friend. For me, my slow cooker (crockpot) is my best buddy and it cooks delicious and mouth watering meals for me. Cooking in slow cooker is like 3 easy steps –
- Wash and assemble all the ingredients.
- Add everything to the cooking pot.
- Turn it on and when the cooking time is up – you have yummy meals ready on hand. However Indian meals require few extra steps before you attain that ultimate flavor.
FEW THINGS ABOUT A SLOW COOKER – A slow cooker has a ceramic pot and an outer electric pot. Outer pot has inbuilt electric coils and when plugged in, it transfers heat to the inner ceramic pot which distributes the heat pretty well and food gets cooked evenly. Best part it uses very less electricity – as per the manual my slow cooker uses 180 watts electricity/hour on LOW setting and 250 watts on HIGH setting.
Slow cooker works by trapping heat and moisture inside, that heavy lid on top creates a tight seal, so every time the lid is opened, heat is lost and it takes longer to build up that heat again. So, avoid the temptation to lift and check on your meal – keep the lid closed (unless stated in the recipe).
I recommend filling slow cooker no more than 2/3 of the way. Do not over fill it, leave some room for the food to expand.
I was introduced to slow cooker about 8 years back and since then I have tried many yum Indian recipes in it. If we look at the fact – Indian cooking is all about SLOW COOKING. Dals, beans or meat, all are required to simmer for long hours in a “handi” on low flame setting unless maximum flavor is achieved. Cooking process remains the same – whether be a dal, bean or vegetable, I toss the ingredients all together in my slow cooker and leave the tadka/tempering for the last minute and believe me food is as yummy as it is cooked in a pressure cooker or over the cooktop. I have programmable 5 quart slow cooker with an auto-shut off timer. I set the timer, press my ON button and do my work, without worrying about my food – it will automatically turn off.
5 REASONS WHY I PREFER A SLOW COOKER
- Helps me with my busy schedule and it saves time. Can run errands or do my chores feeling relaxed, because my dinner is being cooked by my best buddy – my slow cooker.
- Hands-free and inattentive cooking. Since slow cooker uses indirect heat to cook, I don’t have to be around to stir or mix anything. The ceramic pot on the inside distributes the heat evenly and food taste fresh and delicious.
- Slow cooking adds a great satisfying flavor and texture to a dish. Palak paneer that I cook in a kadai and the one that I cook in a slow cooker both have different flavors. Slow cooker one is much richer in taste and all that slow cooker simmering bring out great flavors.
- Is a great helper for my planned dinner parties – I toss dal or kadi or beans to the slow cooker and have one less thing to worry about.
- Planning a morning brunch – add everything to the slow cooker a night before, close the lid, set the timer and in the morning you will have your brunch ready – add tadka/tempering, adjust spices and enjoy quality time with your family.
SLOW COOKER TIME ADJUSTMENTS – If a dish calls for
- 2-3 hours on HIGH setting – it will take 5-7 hours on LOW setting
- 3-4 hours on HIGH – 6-8 hours on LOW setting
- 4-6 hours on HIGH – 8-12 hours on LOW setting
- 6-8 hours on HIGH – 12- 15 hours on LOW setting
Let’s start on our journey to cook slow cooker Indian yummy meals. 🙂