High heat. Low time. No water. OPOS inventor B Ramakrishnan shared his mantra for quick, easy cooking at a packed FICCI FLO event, conducted with military precision
In an unexpected tangle of science, movies and gajar halwa, the OPOS Magic Pot made a formal debut. A staple weapon of the One Pot One Shot cooking cult, started and spearheaded by the maverick B Ramakrishnan, this sturdy little updated version of the pressure cooker, which Ramakrishnan calls a ‘pressure baker,’ was put through its paces at a FICCI FLO event at Crowne Plaza on Sunday. (FLO is the women’s wing of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry.)
The event, organised by multiple-Gourmand award winning cookbook author Viji Varadarajan, recruited a handful of OPOS stars to teach the packed hall how to cook an entire meal in minutes, from fragrant paneer biryani to caramelly carrot halwa. “I am going to teach you a mantra,” said Ramakrishnan, as the pressure bakers were lined up beside meticulously measured ingredients. “High heat. Low time. No water... That’s about it. This is all you need to remember. It’s taken us 15 years to learn this, and now we can unlock the maximum goodness out of food.” The system is built around recipes that have been whittled down to a science by ‘OPOS stars’ around the world who test each recipe multiple times and collaborate on the Facebook OPOS School group. (OPOS school, which currently has 1,580 members, demands that members participate or be booted out. The more relaxed OPOS support group has 79,300 members).
The recipes were demonstrated with military precision. As Padmashri Shanmugaraj, a dietitian, set up her station in front of the hall, OPOS cooks at four other stations mirrored her movements. She began with an Udipi sambar, for which she layered oil, water, shallots and vegetables, in the Magic Pot, then cooked it for four whistles. The team went though five recipes, the most impressive of which was a fluffy paneer methi biryani, packed with flavour despite being put together in about 10 minutes.
Actress Suhasini Maniratnam spoke about how disastrous her first brush with cooking was. “I was 27 years old, and I went to London with my husband (film director, screenwriter, and producer Mani Ratnam), who was writing Geetanjali at that time.” They stayed at a friend’s house in London, and Suhasini said she decided to cook dinner. “I had to make an ISD call to my mother to make sambar. She said put a lime-sized amount of tamarind, but when I started cooking, I forgot and put an orange-sized amount,” she laughed. “It was terrible. And there I was, an award winning actress crying in a corner. My husband took me out for a Mexican dinner, and that is when our marriage really started.”
She added, “Now, with OPOS, I’m making ghee myself. I make pongal,
gothsu and sambar...” She looked towards Ramakrishan and smiled, “You are my hero. Thank you.”
The fluffy paneer methi biryani, was packed with flavour despite being put together in 10 minutes
Chef hats on Padmashri Shanmugaraj, Viji Varadarajan using the OPOS cooker