Cooking with a Pressure Cooker | Pressure Cooker Recipes
Do you want to know how to prepare some pressure cooker recipes?
Using a pressure cooker in your daily cooking is very simple and will make your life a lot easier. But first let us have a look at how to use a pressure cooker.
What is a pressure cooker?
A pressure cooker is a steel or aluminum vessel with a lid. The lid contains a gasket (a rubber ring, to prevent the steam from escaping). There is a regulator or weight, which pops up to let the steam out (it sounds like a whistle), when the pressure exceeds the safety limits. Also, there is a safety valve, to release the steam in case the regulator fails.
If you are new to the pressure cooking concept, this information might seem a bit complicated and dangerous. Well you don't have to worry. Pressure cookers are very safe to use. Customer safety is the manufacture's first priority.
How is the food cooked in a pressure cooker?
All you need is a little water, to make the steam and the food which needs to be cooked. The food gets cooked faster due to the rising pressure inside the pressure cooker.
What are the advantages of using a pressure cooker?
Apart from the cooking time being reduced remarkably, there are other advantages too. For instance your gas or electric bill will also be less. Another benefit is, the total eradication of any bacteria, parasites or viruses in the food. The temperature inside the pressure cooker is very high and thus kills the parasites. Due to the quick cooking process in a pressure cooker, the minerals and vitamins in the food are not lost.
Do you think these are reasons enough to start using a pressure cooker if you already don't?
Pressure cooker recipes
What can be cooked in a pressure cooker?
You can cook almost anything in a pressure cooker but since pressure cooking depends on the production of steam, it is not apt for roasting, pan frying or deep frying. Here are a few suggestions.
* Using a pressure cooker to boil potatoes
Boiled potatoes come very handy for a number of recipes like salads, stuffed paranthas, chat or dry subzi. The best way to boil potatoes is in a pressure cooker. Just put the washed potatoes and water in a cooker (no need to take out the skin). Place the lid and boil till the first whistle blows. If the potatoes are small, obviously they will cook faster but for the larger ones simmer with the lid on (so that the pressure is maintained) for 5-10 more minutes. Let the pressure settle and safely open the lid. Pierce a knife in the potato to check if the potato is cooked through and through. Peel and use the potatoes as desired. For instance in this Potato Salad Recipe
* Boiling lentils and pulses in a cooker.
As a rule of thumb always pre soak the lentils and pulses. Tougher ones need to be soaked for a longer period (say 8-10 hours) and easier ones can be a minimum of 30 minutes (mung dal and masor dal etc). Some pulses like chick peas or red kidney beans can take longer to cook even after soaking. A pressure cooker makes that task easier.
Just add the lentil or pulse with water and cook till the first whistle and some till the second whistle. I should mention here that the time required for pressure cooking different pulses, varies. It depends on the size of the pressure cooker. Once you have tried boiling a few, you would know exactly how long would it take in your particular pressure cooker. Here is a pressure cooker recipe for Dal Makhani
* Cooking vegetables in a pressure cooker
Cooking time for different vegetables depends on the type of vegetable and the size it is cut in. For example, boiling whole beetroot takes longer than boiling chopped pumpkin. No matter which vegetable you cook, your cooking time is cut short considerably. Just remember that vegetables contain natural water so avoid adding too much water for cooking. This Vegetable Stew, is a easy, delicious and healthy pressure cooker recipe.
* How to cook meat in a pressure cooker
If you don't want to stew the meat for at least an hour or two, then pressure cook it. Mutton, beef and pork get cooked really fast in a pressure cooker, saving your precious time. There are many pressure cooker recipes for meat curries, for example this Mutton Curry
* How to cook rice in a pressure cooker
You will not believe how easy it is to cook rice in a pressure cooker. It cuts down on the cooking time tremendously. Moong dal khichdi is my favorite, it takes just 10 minutes to cook. You can use the cooker to make any rice recipe, for instance pulao, khichdi, boiled rice or anything. Always soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. Now for ordinary rice (ponni, boiled, long grain) use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice. But for basmati rice use 1.5 cups of water for every 1 cup rice (not double). Khichdi is one of the easiest and healthiest pressure cooker recipes.
* Making quick soups and soup stocks in a pressure cooker
Pressure cooking is ideal for making soups, especially pureed ones. Just put all the ingredients in and cook till soft. Blend later and season. You can use the pressure cooker to even make soup stocks. These pressure cooker recipes of Chicken and Prawn Soup and Vegetable soup are good examples.
A Word of Caution - a must read for better results with your pressure cooker recipes
* Steam can cause severe burns. So please do not open the lid of a pressure cooker, unless all the steam has settled. If you are unable to open the lid, it means there is more steam inside, lift the regulator to release that steam.
* The cooking process in a pressure cooker continues even after you turn off the heat (till there is build up pressure inside). In order to stop the cooking process, you can either take steam off by lifting the pressure valve or simply place the hot pressure cooker under a tap of running cold water. This will prevent foods from being overcooked.
* Avoid over cooking. Tender vegetables can become mushy if overcooked, spoiling the texture of your dish.
Hope this article has helped you in understanding the pressure cooking concept. Happy cooking with a Pressure Cooker!
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