Pressure Cookers are an important piece of cookware in the kitchen. Especially these days, when there is a lot of buzz about one-pot meals, pressure cookers are back in fashion. In an earlier time, pressure cookers were all the rage. They used to be the epitome of home cooking because of how efficiently they worked. The first few pressure cooker models that you could find in households were bulky and very complicated devices to operate. Then with time, they became more and more user-friendly. But then, microwaves happened.
Home cooks started to cook with microwaves more often as they became more affordable and user-friendly for common people. This made pressure cookers fall out of popularity as microwaves offered similar results for very little hard work. But in the age of information, the old pressure cooker and all the cooking techniques involved with them are being brought back with some professional chefs and the new excitement for home cooking since the pandemic.
These days there are two common types of pressure cookers; electric and stove-top. Electric pressure cookers are much automated in a way where they allow for easy usage. They have added features like a start timer and programmable temperature for a truly hands-off experience. You can also steam rice in these pots easily.
A stove-top pressure cooker is very different, however. It comes with a heavy bottom that is required for even distribution of heat to the entire vessel. They get hotter than electric cookers and also build up more pressure inside them. Some cooking experience is required to use these cookers well since you have to adjust the heat manually. There are plenty of ways in which a pressure cooker can be used, but if you’re new to the instrument, here are some tips for you to be mindful of.
1. Fill it Partly
One of the most common problems one can face with a pressure cooker is overcrowding the pot. Depending on what recipe you’re preparing, you must fill the pot two-thirds of its depth and no more than that. Starchy foods like beans and rice bubble up and try to push at the lid. Do not be tempted to add a little more and cramp up the entire inner space. This can lead to improperly cooked food that you wouldn’t enjoy. Another thing that can happen from cramping is the pressure valve on the lid can get blocked. This could end up being dangerous and lead to some serious damage.
2. Releasing Pressure
The valve present on a pressure cooker’s lid can help you out with releasing pressure either naturally, gradually over time, or quickly let it all out. This build-up of pressure is the natural phenomenon on which the pressure cooker works. Depending on what brand you’re using and what recipe you’re making, this process will vary. Some ingredients need to be immediately off the pressure, and some need time to transition to normal temperature. Naturally, it takes anywhere between 10-30 minutes to release the pressure.
3. Cooking Tough Ingredients
Where the pressure cooker shines, the brightest is making tough ingredients soft and creamy. If you’re thinking about making a tough cut of meat like pork shoulder or short ribs, pressure cooking is the way to go. Root vegetables are also in the same category of tough ingredients, and so are lentils and pulses. It does take longer to cook it this way, but it is the most efficient way of doing it right.
4. Accessorize your Pressure Cooker
The modern pressure cooker can be used for so much more than just making daal and biryani. You can get accessories like steaming baskets, ramekins, racks, or cake pans to greatly increase the utility your cooker offers. This way, you can easily make no-oven baking recipes like desserts at your will.
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