All You Need To Know About The Pressure Cooker
A complete guide to using the Pressure Cooker for your cooking needs!
The pressure cooker is a part and parcel of the Indian kitchenette these days. Reasons are many. It reduces cooking time almost by half and so saves fuel and money. Pressure cooking preserves the nutrients and therefore enhances the taste of food. The food cooked by this method is healthier as compared to other methods.
How does the pressure cooker make this happen?
The pressure cooker is one of the best applications of science that has touched everyday lives. Under normal conditions, things take a long time to cook. Inside a pressure cooker, which becomes like an airtight compartment when the temperature rises the pressure also begins to rise very fast and then the food gets cooked quickly due to the high pressure and temperature.
As the pressure cooker always works at a very high temperature and pressure, essentially there are certain precautions to be taken while handling the equipment:
- Whichever the brand or model it is, look for the ISI mark, which is the standardization mark for authenticity and reliability of products.
- Every cooker comes with an instruction manual and the user should read it carefully and understand the parts before use.
- The lid of the cooker is a very critical part for the proper functioning of the cooker and hence the user must learn the right technique of placing, closing and opening the lid.
- There is a vent right in the center of the lid, which must be checked and ensured that there is no blockage before closing the vessel for use.
- The amount of water to be used is important. Depending upon the type of ingredients the level water may vary. For instance, for vegetables, it is less and more in the case of cereals and pulses. But the level should never exceed 2/3 the height of the pot. Overloading will cause spilling/oozing of the liquids while cooking. Besides, that much space has to be left for steam formation.
- Opening the lid once the cooking is done: The lid should never be opened forcefully. Doing so can cause steam and burn injuries. In fact, the lid is designed in a way that it will not open until it is cool enough even if unlatched. However, in case you are in a hurry, you can place the closed cooker under a stream of cold water and let the steam condense faster.
- You shouldn’t lift the pressure regulator for releasing pressure because oozing hot liquids might cause harm.
- The gasket on the lid should fit just right on the lid. If it is loose, the cooker will not work and should be replaced with a new one.
- The pressure cooker should not be used for dry heating or baking purposes as it can damage the shape and structure of the pot. Neither should it be placed in an oven or a dishwasher.
- If any of the parts do get damaged, replace it only from authorized dealers.
These are just a few essential tips towards working safely and productively with pressure cookers. Keeping these in mind will definitely make cooking a pleasurable experience.
Further, pressure cookers come in three variations i.e., aluminum and hard anodized aluminum (for the stovetop) and steel (for induction cooking). Then we also have electric pressure cookers which regulate the heat according to the setting and cookers where the heat has to be regulated manually.
Cooking with pressure cookers:
Almost everything such as cereals, pulses, vegetables, and meats can be cooked in cookers. When boiling, there should be enough water to cover the food. While cooking foods with gravy one must ensure that there enough liquid for steam formation.
Some of the leading brands of Pressure Cookers in the World are –
- INDIA: Prestige and Hawkins
- Japan: Zojirushi
- China: Ailipu and Sunbird
- US & Rest-of-the-World: Mueller and Presto
Here are a few recipes you can try with the pressure cooker –
- How to cook rice in a pressure cooker
- Cooking legumes (like kidney beans) in a pressure cooker
- Cooking Pulav or Jeera Rice
- Steamed Cooker Cake