OPOS Style Of Cooking Is The Way Forward: Ramki
Do you wish to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your kids? Do you want to feed a variety of healthy food to your family? Then, One Pot One Shot (OPOS) style of cooking is your answer!
By Monali Bordoloi
Imagine this! Its 6.30 a.m. in the morning on a Monday and you are in the kitchen getting the tiffin boxes for your kids packed and ready. It is ‘green day’ for lunch in your pre-schooler’s school, so now you need to pack something green in her tiffin box. Your husband is on a strict keto diet, so you can’t use potatoes in his curries. Your in-laws prefer traditional breakfasts like idly with sambar. And not to forget, your own lunch box to office. Don’t you wish you had more time in the mornings or that you had eight hands to do all the cooking while catering to everyone’s food requests?
Now, think of this scenario, you are invited to a friend’s house for lunch. And when you arrive at their place, you are welcomed with a table laden with food, from tamarind rice to vangaya sambar, from crunchy poriyal to beetroot palya, from snake gourd kootu to matar paneer. You can’t believe your ears when the hosts tell you that the entire spread was prepared fresh from scratch within an hour’s time.
Given the shortness of time in today’s hurried lifestyle, most people end up compromising on nutrition, or variety of dishes or hygienic practices in cooking. But now you can easily cook up a lavish spread in a jiffy while retaining the food’s nutritional value. Wondering how? Say hello to the ‘One Pot One Shot (OPOS)’ style of cooking pioneered by B Ramakrishnan fondly known as Ramki. ParentCircle caught up with Ramki to take us on an OPOS journey with him.
It all started when Ramki travelled to a foreign land and decided to give cooking a shot equipped with only a pressure cooker. After many trials and tribulations, he finally mastered the technique. He came to realise how eco-friendly a method it was and was pleased with the amount of fuel it saved. And not to mention his own time, energy and effort. Ever since then, Ramki has been on a mission to popularise this incredible style of cooking around the globe.
When we told Ramki that we were from ParentCircle, a parenting website, he told us excitedly that his unique style of cooking is particularly intended for working parents and kids. Curious, we decided to find out the secrets behind this style of cooking that he firmly believes in. Read on if you wish to spend less time in the kitchen and more with your kids.
I started with my pet peeve – my child does not eat vegetables! What do I do? Ramki quickly replied with a smile saying, “Try OPOS then. Children are particularly drawn to dishes made by the OPOS technique. This is mainly because it retains the colour of the vegetable and gives it a nice crunch. And any vegetable curry made in OPOS style retains the nutritional quotient, so your child gets all the goodness of the veggies. Always keep in mind that overcooking veggies will kill most of its nutrients. And discolouration of the veggies is a clear indication of overcooking.”
So, I asked what exactly is the OPOS style of cooking for the benefit of all those who do not know about it.
Ramki explains, “The One Pot One Shot (OPOS) cooking style is a patented technique where you cook in high heat for a limited time. It is also referred to as pressure-baking. This style of cooking is all about layering your ingredients and following a stipulated time for cooking.”
He adds, “Children are our future. And as a parent, the onus of introducing a variety of food is on you. I want our children to break away from the habit of eating ketchup with everything. If you introduce yummy chutneys, and dips at home, your child will not ask for ketchup to go with idly and dosa.”
“Also, in recent times we have seen how cities are struggling with the water crisis, so OPOS style is a step in the right direction as it uses less amount of water in cooking. And what’s more? Since you are using just a pressure cooker – fewer vessels to wash after cooking.”
Then, we asked him how and why OPOS gained much popularity within a short span of time? Ramki says, “Why not, OPOS is the greenest, healthiest and the tastiest way to cook food. Once, you realise this, you are sure to embrace this style for life.”
Yes, we noticed that there are so many OPOS style cookouts and FaceBook groups dedicated to this style of cooking. Hiring a cook is not possible for everyone, and so is eating out and ordering in food, as it affects your health and wallet. So, this style gained prominence as it promises to break free from the kitchen but good, healthy food for your family.
But can everything be prepared in this OPOS style? Ramki answers, “OPOS does not really come with recipes, but it is technique. Once you master the technique, you can cook almost anything, from sweets to seafood, in OPOS style. However, there are a few things which are not compatible with OPOS, but from a sundal to kesari bhat, almost everything can be cooked the OPOS way.”
But what about those critics who say it is a western concept and some dishes are better off being made the traditional way? Many purists think that OPOS dilutes the real taste and flavour of the original dishes. What is your take on this? Ramki comes to OPOS defense. He explains, “There are many variations to dishes. For instance, the taste and flavour of a mutton biriyani differ from one region to another. OPOS is almost a science, it tells you the technique, you can alter the flavouring according to your taste.”
Ramki adds, “In fact in earlier times, a kitchen didn’t have too many pots and pans. Most cooking was done in one pot. Also, slow-cooking one-pot meals (a western concept) are different from my high temperature ‘one pot one shot’ dishes.”
What if I fail to get the desired taste? I express my inner fear to Ramki. He assures me, “Not all of us are natural cooks! Disasters in kitchens are common when you cook the traditional way too. I even found out that instructions given in cookbooks are muddled up and the chances of ruining a dish are high. Why is that so? It is because there are no standardised instructions to it. However, with OPOS, chances of failure are almost nil if you are using the standard equipment, a 2-litre pressure cooker, and following the recipe instructions with regards to the amount of water and ingredients involved. Just ensure to stick to the given steps of standardised cooking, and you will get the same result as shown in OPOS website or video.”
Then we asked him about what he told us earlier that OPOS is perfect for working parents. How does it come to their rescue? Ramki says OPOS is designed for busy people like working women who are always short on time. Most of the OPOS style of cooking takes just about 5-6 minutes of cooking time, and a mother can devote the extra time with her child or for self-care. Another plus point of this cooking is that unlike the traditional style of cooking, where you have to be present in the kitchen hunched over a kadai to ensure that your food does not get burned, in OPOS, you just have to put the cooker on the stove and can do something else till the whistle blows.
So, we get it. OPOS is unsupervised cooking, and food is ready in a matter of minutes – and that’s why more and more women are embracing this style.
So, how does a working mom go about OPOS cooking? Ramki answers, “This is as simple as 1,2,3. Just read about the basic principles of this cooking style, get yourself a 2-litre pressure cooker, some measuring spoons and you are good to go.”
Shorter cooking time is really tempting for working women. Can you suggest some make-ahead lunch items? He suggests, “To make OPOS even more cooking-friendly, cook some make-ahead condiments like, bottled tadka, and some kitchen staples like tamarind paste, yogurt, ginger garlic paste, coconut paste, etc. These will make your OPOS cooking even more hassle-free.”
We also asked him why he calls it an eco-friendly way of cooking and to shed more light on it. Ramki replies, “If you are truly concerned about the environment and want to embrace a greener way of life, OPOS technique is right for you. It saves a lot of fuel, water and cleaning agents. It is the way forward for sustainable living.”
Then we moved on to ask, how higher heat and shorter cooking time of OPOS is good for retaining the nutrients in the food? Ramki answers, “Traditionally, India is known for its tandoori dishes, where food is cooked in high heat for little time. Tandoori dishes are known to be healthier too. In the same manner, OPOS uses the same concept with no or very less water. The whole idea is to let the food cook in its own juices. This way it retains the highest amount of nutrients without any dilution. In OPOS technique, the colour of the vegetables does not change. This clearly shows that the nutrients of the veggies are intact. OPOS style of cooking also uses less masalas and focuses on fresh ingredients.
So, tell us five dishes which are perfect for OPOS? Ramki quips, “You can almost make everything in OPOS style, just give it a try. Try methi matar paneer, kurma, avial, any veg curry, chicken biriyani – sky is the limit. Even seafood comes out so nice and tasty for your palette.”
Any interesting incident in your OPOS journey that you would like to share with ParentCircle? He smiles and responds.
Over the years, while travelling around the world to conduct OPOS workshops, surprisingly, it’s the children who are more interested in OPOS style food than adults. Adults, initially are a bit reluctant and cynical about the whole concept, but once they see their kids interest in it, they also become interested in it. Moreover, once a child is used to eating food made by the OPOS style of cooking, I bet he will not like overcooked gravies and dishes.”
Do you think OPOS style restaurants are a possibility? He is quick to reply, “Why not! In fact, many restaurants are already incorporating this style. We cannot afford to waste fuel anymore as we are short on natural resources. OPOS is the way forward in every angle.”
A secret ‘pro’ tip for our parent readers? Ramki shares, ”OPOS is all about layering. But do not put starchy, root vegetables like potatos at the bottom of the cooker.”
So, what’s stopping you, go ahead and cook a wholesome meal for your family, in OPOS style. Do let us know about your rendezvous in the kitchen!
Hall of Fame
- Ramki popularised the concept of One Pot One Shot (OPOS) style of cooking, all over the world by organising workshops and cook outs.
- He holds the record for cooking a 10-course meal for 500 people within three hours.
- He is a food blogger and author of cookbooks with OPOS method.
About the author:
Written by Monali Bordoloi on 16 September 2019.
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