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17 April 2020

COVID-19 : Lockdown Essentials #4

THE KITCHEN has been my sanctuary of calm since the lockdown began. This is the place where I can take the focus away from the all-consuming anxieties of the pandemic. I prepare and have my meals at 11:30AM to 1:00PM (lunch) and 7:30PM to 9:00PM (dinner), a routine that has kept me grounded.

However, this routine can get ruptured by long Zoom meetings that leave me too tired and hungry to prepare food.

Enter the pressure cooker. By tossing in meats, beans, vegetables, and spices, I'm able to cook up zero-oil dishes and move onto work chores at the same time. I learned that pressure-cooked chicken legs, necks, and bones make an awesome flavor, so I use these parts when preparing "gisadong munggo", or sauteed mung bean soup, a favorite childhood dish.

There are other delicious discoveries I've made with the pressure cooker. Here's a recent one, involving chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and bay leaves tossed up and cooked for 30 minutes.


  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Ground salt and pepper


  1. Combine potatoes, onion, tomatoes, chicken pieces, and bay leaves in a pressure cooker.
  2. Mix all ingredients with your hands.
  3. Add ground salt and pepper liberally.
  4. Seal the lid of the pressure cooker.
  5. Cook under high pressure until it whistles three times.
  6. Drop the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes.
  7. Allow the cooker to cool. Then release pressure, remove the lid, and serve the dish.


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