Un­der pres­sure

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

The Hindu - - CHEN­NAI - :: Shonali Mutha­laly

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

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