Of Maillard reaction and Pressure Cookers.

Unlike pussy, vegetables are especially tasty when grilled or fried – because they form that nice tasty crust. The same applies to the grilled meat and fish.

This process is called a Maillard reaction. This article explains it well.

Unfortunately to form this tasty crust the temperature of the vegetable has to be higher than the boiling point of water.

Which, as a result, does produce a nice crust but also evaporates the juices from the insides making the food hard and dry.

But how do you get a nice tasty crust and keep juices inside? And how to make this process simple and easy to reproduce?

This conundrum was resolved by applying money into the areas of science that don’t  normally deal with cooking food. Walter White proved how easy it is to motivate a talented but poor chemist to apply boring knowledge to a creative cause. I strongly suspect that this is how the methodology currently marketed by Modernist Cuisine chefs as caramelization was invented.

Incidentally, as a bonus add, the taste quality of the end product, particularly when made with vegetables rich in sugar as I already mentioned above, greatly enhanced as well.

Finally, the process became repeatable. Anyone who can follow simple instructions now can reproduce this soup with outstanding tasting results over and over again.

To sum it up. There are three factors that allow all the magic to happen:

1. High pressure

2. High temperature

3. High pH

When placed in such environment a vegetable gets browned throughout to its core, retains its juices and produces extraordinary flavorful aromas.

Hence – pressure cooker.

Air pressure raised to 15 PSI makes the temperature inside of a pressure cooker extremely high – around 250 F/120 C. But since the water is not boiling until it reaches this temperature the vegetables inside of pressure cooker get steamed in own juice. They have no opportunity to dry up and lose their juiciness.

Increased pH creates an alkaline environment that allows the browning reaction to occur at lower temperatures. As a result, the vegetables get browned not only on their surface but through to their core.

The scientist came up with a formula that 0.5% of soda to the body mass of the product combined with 1.0% of salt will do the necessary in the pressure cooker.

Mix them in water (6.0% water of body mass)

And for soups add butter (20% of body mass)

Not to mention that all of the juices get trapped in the pressure cooker. They accumulate on the top, cool off and drop back into the mix making the soup extremely flavorful because not a drop of good stuff is lost.

Thus, you get a fast and efficient way to cook vegetables by significantly strengthening their taste.

Try making few of the soups that I mastered or buy a Book from Modernist Cuisine and get many more super good variations.