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About

Who is Swati?

Swati is a lot of things: wife, genetic engineer, cook, mommy to two cats (and hopefully someday a German shepherd dog too), aunt, day dreamer, goof, eternal student, a lover of classic literature, language learner, writer – the list is quite long. Quite a few of these are full-time occupations. Swati also answers to the name Khushi, which is her childhood nickname and literally translates as happiness. Swati tries to bring happiness to those in her life, but that does occasionally become difficult to do when she is home tired and hungry, and her kitchen tongs are at the bottom of a pile of dirty dishes in the sink.
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Who is K?

Swati’s nephew was confused as to the identity of this K, and why it mattered so much that this K liked the dishes that she cooked. Clarification on this point seemed to be important. K is Swati’s pasty-white Rhode Islander husband…and a fussy eater. When Swati met K, he ate under 10 things (references can be provided if you do not believe this). Swati had to put in a lot of effort into expanding that palate, and the work is still in progress.
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How did Swati end up in the kitchen?

Quite unexpectedly – the first time anyway. Swati had somehow had the notion that she would get through life without ever doing any cooking for herself. The first time she cooked was when she was in her freshman year of college on the very western rim of the South Indian city of Bangalore. The local restaurants/cafeterias/street-food carts and just about everybody that sold food near her hostel (dorm) seemed to botch the most basic North Indian dishes. All she wanted was some dal (lentils) that was NOT infested with those confounded curry leaves. Was that too much to ask for? Desperate, she and her roommate bought a single burner stove attached to a tiny little propane tank. Pooling together their pots and pans, they made dal and rice in their respective pressure cookers, and some okra fry (intended to be crispy, but turning out quite gummy, but still…) and they had a feast. As it turned out, cooking was not all that bad, and with time she discovered she had a knack for it.
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Why a pressure cooker?

A pressure cooker is the one kitchen equipment that every Indian mother sends her children off with when they are moving away from home for the first time clueless about cooking their own food. When you come home from work tired and hungry, a pressure cooker will allow you to get food on the table faster than anything else out there. A stew that takes four hours of painful waiting in a heavy Dutch oven takes just an hour to make in a pressure cooker.
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Why does Swati’s pressure cooker whistle?

It’s not just Swati’s pressure cooker that whistles – all Indian pressure cookers do. Some of the best Indian recipes under Swati’s belt that came from her mother have instructions that go like “…cook on high until 3 whistles and then turn the heat to low”. Swati bought a pressure cooker in the US once, but it didn’t whistle and she was utterly clueless as to when her chicken would be done. She promptly returned it to the store and had her mother send her another Indian pressure cooker with a family friend coming over to the US.
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Why is Swati’s blog called “THE WHISTLING PRESSURE COOKER”?­­

Back in the deep recesses of time when Swati was just starting to cook, everything she made was in a pressure cooker – a whistling pressure cooker. Her first pressure cooker has been not just her first pressure cooker, but her mother’s and her brother’s and her sister-in-law’s first pressure cooker also. This blog is an ode to that pressure cooker, which, by the way is still standing strong and whistling away as it cooks.
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