We all know pressure cooker can cook almost everything in just a few minutes without deteriorating any essential nutrients in the food, consequently it saves our time, money and energy.But if you are first time users then you should know how to use pressure cooker. As food is cooked in very high steam pressure inside cooker, it becomes dangerous if you do not follow this important tips for first time users.
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How does a pressure cooker work?
- When you heat up a pot, the liquid specially water inside boils and turns into steam. When this steam is trapped in a tightly sealed pot, pressure begins to build.
- Then the pressure cooks the food by transferring heat energy from the steam pressure and the water to the food.That’s why the food cooks faster than usual.
Note :Since you need a cooking liquid to create steam and pressure, this explains why cooking with a pressure cooker always requires some form of liquid.
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What can you cook in a pressure cooker?
Though you can cook most of foods in a pressure cooker where you can pour additional liquids to generate steam, yet people prefer to use pressure cooker to cook food which takes longer time to cook in conventional methods.
These list of food items including beans ,lentils ,mashed potatoes ,mutton ,chicken , soup ,homemade stocks etc. mostly use to cook in pressure cooker.
How to use pressure cooker ?
Check pressure cooker before using
Before using pressure cooker for cooking you must check thoroughly that there should not be any cracks or dents inside it also recheck the whistle of the pressure cooker whether it is damaged or not.
As you know pressure cooker uses excessive steam to cook food , if leakages or cracks found in it then it may create fatal accident.
Understand the need of pressure cooking
Make sure the pressure cooker is cleaned well and is empty. Always make sure you add water after measuring the capacity of the pressure cooker.
Moreover, always mindfully add water as the amount of water needed to cook a particular dish may be different. Ensure that the cooker is at least filled with as good as ⅔ rd of water so that there’s ample space for steam build up.
How to cook different dishes in pressure cooker
You can use pressure cooker to cook various dishes including rice , chicken, mutton, fish , vegetables , lentils etc by using pressure cooker. Just read the guidelines for each dish as it takes different cooking time and different amounts of water to cook the dish.
Partially cook chicken or mutton : To get best flavor from your chicken and mutton you have to precooked the meat with a dash of oil and a few spices. Then put them inside pressure cooker with additional water to cook further.
Cooking beans and chickpeas : Before cooking beans and chickpeas in pressure cooker soak them in sufficient amount of water for at least 6 to 8 hours.
After that drain them and pour them in the pressure cooker with addition of pinch of salt.
Cooking rices and grains : If you are using pressure cooker to cook rice and oats then no need to soak them separately , just put the rice inside cooker with addition of water.
But for wheat grain , barley you have to soak them in lukewarm water for 3 to 4 hours before cooking in pressure cooker.
Cooking vegetables : For cooking vegetable first wash fresh vegetables thoroughly then keep them in the steamer basket or without it with 1/3 of water in the bottom of the pressure cooker when the vegetable only needs to cook for 5 minutes.
If you are using frozen vegetables then thaw them first and let them stay for normal temperature before cooking it.
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Pour sufficient liquid
To use pressure cooker effectively it’s all about steam which helps to cook food. So to perfectly cooking with pressure cooker you shouldn’t fill liquids more than 2/3rds otherwise food may removed from the pressure release valve.
For safe side you can check pressure cookers have a minimum and maximum mark on the inside of the pot. Do not exceed these limits.
Here is the quick guide for liquid :
- For soup – not more than ½ full including liquid
- For vegetables and meat – not more than 2/3rds full including liquid
- For cereals, pulses, rice and pasta – not more than 1/3 full
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Heat it right way
At first pour food items along with required amount of water inside the pressure cooker then close the lid properly and place the cooker on high heat and cooker will start converting the water to steam.
Wait for the pressure cooker to gain pressure. The pressure will begin to rise inside the cooker. When the pressure reaches the designed safety limit, the cooker will start releasing excess pressure by blowing safety valve upwards.
At this point reduce the heat to a lower level so that the cooker continues to simmer and does not whistle still maintain equal pressure.
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How to release the steam
First turn off the heat when your food has cooked for the amount of time given in your recipe. Now lower the pressure inside the cooker if you have quick release button on the lid just release this button and the pressure is slowly released from within the cooker
Otherwise place the pressure cooker on the sink . open the tap and shower cold water on the lid until the pressure drop. This is the fastest way to release pressure.
Finally move the safety valve upward. If there is no sound of escaping steam, then no pressure has left inside it.
Now you can safely open the lid and take your food out from pressure cooker.