Day 122: Pressure Cooker and Pinhão

Just thought this was really funny – my daughter received a toy kitchen set and it came with… that’s right, a pressure cooker. I’m pretty sure they don’t come with pressure cookers in the U.S.

Well, on Day 122 I braved the pressure cooker. It wasn’t to make beans, as my husband had been bugging me to do. But instead, I took my maiden pressure cooker voyage with these rather large nuts called pinhão that we picked up at the organic market.

First, the pressure cooker. It seems to me that there are more precautions necessary in operating a pressure cooker than a hand gun. You must make sure that the little plastic thingy isn’t stuck, or the whole thing will blow up. You must be sure that air can get past the top knobby thingy by blowing air through it yourself, or the whole thing will blow up. Etc., etc.  So after a safety briefing that took longer than the ones you get on an airplane, I was ready to cook the pinhão.

Really pretty simple. Rinse off the pinhão.

Put it in the pressure cooker and cover with a few inches of water.

Perform your pressure cooker security checks. Close and hatch the latch. Turn on the gas.

Forty minutes later you are ready for the second pressure cooker process. Pull up the knobby thingy without steam-scalding your hand or put the pot in the sink and run cold water over it.

Once cooked, the pinhão must be peeled. Not too difficult, although a bit tedious.

Personally, I think pinhão are delicious. I had never eaten one before – never even seen one until the organic market. Once cooked they are firm and chewy with a bit of a chestnut taste. Yum!

You can also slice the nuts up and cook with rice or meat. But I like it for snacking.

Ok, so the guy at the organic market made some comment about how they refer to these babies as the “cockroach nut” and they do kind of look like cockroaches, but try not to think about that when you are eating them. (Ugh, I try.)

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24 Responses to Day 122: Pressure Cooker and Pinhão

  1. Stephanie says:

    You are brave. I have lived here for a long time but I’m just terrified of them. When I’ve thought about it, there are so many things I could cook in it and save myself some time and effort, but I am truly scared of them! And that’s so funny about the toy kitchen set! Only in Brazil!

  2. Alex says:

    The trees they come from are AWESOME and if I lived in a climate that would permit the growth of one, I would grow one.

    Next time, try to grow one of these! I’m pretty sure they are seeds, although we refer to them as nuts.

    Araucaria Angustifolia- Brazilian Monkey Puzzle Tree. I’m sure you’ve seen them around SP and the Mountains in Rio.

  3. hahah! I agree – they remind me of those not-to-be-named bugs…

  4. Rebecca's Kitchen says:

    If you’re scared of pressure cookers, you might want to look into this model: http://carrinho.nigro.com.br/panela-de-press-o-4-litros-vermelha.html It has 6 safety features and since it opens on the outside and doesn’t need for the lid to be put/taken out NSIDE the pan, it’s a lot safer! I have one and it’s really simple to use!

  5. Trish says:

    I’m still laughing about the kiddy pressure cooker!!! Had never noticed that!!!

  6. Andrew Francis says:

    Maybe Brazilians just like to live dangerously but I say skip the “pre-flight” checks and buy a timer instead. Seriously, the pressure valve is probably not going to clog up but, if you are like most people, you might get busy or distracted and let it boil dry.

    If that happens, don’t panic, these things are a lot safer than you think. See that red plastic dot on the side of the lid? It’s the safety valve and it pops like a champagne cork if the pressure is too high. It happened to my mother once and apart from having to scrape pea soup off the extractor hood, no harm done. 🙂

    • What if the little plastic valve has been previously welded to the pot because previous user let the water inside boil too high? What if the other knob thingy is clogged with previous users dried and hardened black beans. Explode like a bomb… all I can think about…

  7. Jenner says:

    Araucária is a reminiscent from glacial ages: a cold climate tree in a tropical set. Also called pinheiro do paraná (Paraná’s pine), it once covered most of the state that gave its name. I have one araucária at home, that I planted 9 years ago. I was told it will take 40 years before I can pick some pinhões! You can buy pinhões in Campos do Jordão, where they fall from the trees around this time of the year…

  8. You passed the dreaded pressure cooker test. Yay!
    I feel as if a pupil has graduated High School (sniff . . . tears).
    Now for the next operational challenge: the caldo de cana machine.
    Oh, don’t forget to read about Chagas Disease before drinking it.

    • HA. Yes! I received a caldo de cana machine for X-mas. Can’t wait to try it. Not.
      Thanks for giving me something else to be paranoid about. But I looked it up and here are the risk factors:
      Risk factors for Chagas disease include:
      Living in a hut where reduvid bugs live in the walls
      Living in Central or South America (ok, this might be a problem)
      Poverty
      Receiving a blood transfusion from a person who carries the parasite but does not have active Chagas disease

      • The thing is that sometimes the caldo de cana machine is operating near one of those bug infested places and said bug gets is on the sugarcane then the device will mangle it up as well and end ii will end up being served with the sugarcane juice.
        Infection via caldo de cana juice rarely occurs outside the Amazon region: but it does happen so check out the machine – and the surroundings – before having a cup.
        Sorry: didn’t mean to get you paranoid. I just avoid anthing that is mangled by a machine (groung açai is another example).

        ” * A cana-de-açúcar deve ser cuidadosamente lavada antes da moagem e a mesma precaução deve ser tomada antes de o açaí ser preparado para consumo;”

        http://drauziovarella.com.br/doencas-e-sintomas/doenca-de-chagas/

      • Andrew Francis says:

        “I just avoid anthing that is mangled by a machine”

        Gritty, does that mean you avoid anything prepared in a blender, beater, citrus press, potato ricer, garlic press,… ? 🙂

      • Jenner says:

        Doença de Chagas (Chagas’ disease) is also transmitted by infected fresh açaí blend, in the same way as fresh sugar cane juice is infected. It’s very rare. Industrialized versions are safe, though.

  9. I also apologize for my typing. Wow: that previous message was bad.

  10. Pingback: Day 141: Cunha | born again brazilian

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