In today’s busy world, where most people hustle between their daily routines, a pressure cooker can be their saviour. Apart from being an amazing time saver, it can help you cook meals within minutes.
If you have never used a pressure cooker yet, or planning to start cooking with it soon, then this article is for you. Using a pressure cooker is no rocket science. However, it can be a little tricky if you do not follow the basic rules.
Here, we will discuss everything you need to know about your pressure cooker and how to use it the right way.
Continue reading below to learn how to use a pressure cooker.
How to Use Pressure Cooker?
Below is the step-by-step process to follow for using the pressure cooker. Make sure you follow these diligently to master the art of cooking in a pressure cooker.
Step 1: Check your pressure cooker before using
The initial step in the process is to check for the good working condition of your pressure cooker. However, you will be doing it at the time of purchase to ensure there are no cracks or dents on it. It is essential to check for the same before each use. We all know that a pressure cooker uses steam pressure to cook the food. Hence, it becomes imperative to ensure no pressure leakages or cracks as they may lead to mishaps. We advise you to be extra cautious in the first step itself. Check for the signs of damage or wear and tear on all the parts of the pressure cooker. (gasket, safety valves, pressure regulators, etc.)
Step 2: Saute your dish (if needed) before putting it in the Pressure Cooker
When you are cooking some dishes, we generally saute these items like meat, onions, etc., to brown. This guarantees the perfect taste and smell of the recipe. If you are using your pressure cooker to prepare any such cuisines, make sure you saute them before putting them in the cooker. However, if you want to cook only rice or want to boil potatoes, skip this step and directly proceed with the preparation.
Step 3: Put the food and add the right amount of Water
The crucial part of cooking rice or any other is adding a sufficient quantity of water to it. Before that, make sure your cooker is clean and empty. Now put rice or other ingredients to it and add an adequate amount of water to it. The amount of water needed may differ for various dishes. So, be careful when adding the water and ensure it fills at least two-thirds of the cooker, allowing ample space for the steam to generate.
Step 4: Begin with the process of cooking
Once you add the right amount of water to the food that you are cooking, the next step is to seal the lid. To lock the lid, you may have to apply the pressure to the opposite end of the lid. Make sure that the pressure regulator or whistle is on the lid before you put the pressure cooker on the stove. Turn it on and bring it to a high flame.
After some time, the water inside the cooker will transform into steam. Once it reaches the peak, the cooker vents out the pressure through the whistles. After three or four whistles, or as required, turn off the stove and allow the cooker to settle down.
Step 5: How to release the steam?
The next after you finish cooking is to release the steam from the pressure cooker. It is strictly advised not to remove the lid immediately after you turn off the stove. Since the steam remains inside the cooker, it may lead to mishaps. Release the pressure first, and then you can open the lid.
There are three ways to release the steam. In the first method, you can allow the pressure to naturally come down by letting the cooker sit for about 15-20 minutes.
In the second procedure, you can use a long spatula to lift the pressure regulator a little. This helps to vent out the pressure completely, and after 10 minutes, you can open the lid.
Thirdly, you can reduce the temperature inside the pressure cooker by running it through cold water.
Step 6: When to open the lid?
After you allow the steam to vent out either in any of the above-mentioned methods, you can open the lid. Before doing that, check if you still hear the sound of the steam from the safety valve. If you still hear a noise, it means that the pressure is escaping, and you need to wait for some more time.
If there is no sound heard, you are now allowed to open the lid.
To cook effortlessly in no time, you just have to these simple steps every time.
Step 7: Thicken your Dish (if needed)
When you are cooking rice in your pressure cooker, following the cooking process till the above step would do. But, if you are preparing some other dishes like curries or sauce, you will have to thicken them. For this, we recommend putting the pressure cooker on a low or medium flame with the lid removed. Now, continue the cooking process as you would normally do for other dishes. You can also add a mixture of cornflour and water to thicken the sauce quickly.
Step 8: Clean and Store
This is the last step. Transfer the food from the pressure cooker to some other utensil after you finish cooking. Now, it is time to wash your cooker carefully. Avoid using a dishwasher as most cookers are not compatible with it.
Refer to the user manual to know the cleaning process of the pressure cooker. Clean the inside and outside of the cooker thoroughly without leaving any stains. Allow it to dry completely, or use a dry towel for the same. After drying, store the pressure cooker until the next use.
Pressure Cooker Safety Tips
One needs to be cautious when using a pressure cooker. To help our readers in using the cooker effectively, we bring the following safety tips for you.
Tip 1: Before Cooking, Check Your Equipment
It is essential to inspect all the parts of the pressure cooker – the gasket, safety valves, pressure regulators, etc. Check for any cracks or signs of damage in the equipment before you start using it. Replace the gasket as and when required or when you notice pressure leakage. It is advisable to have an extra one handy in case of wear and tear. Also, ensure that the food does not dry out inside as it can break down the seal.
Tip 2: Do not Overfill the Cooker
Do not overfill the cooker with ingredients. To the most, make sure you fill it with up to two-thirds, as it will leave enough space for the steam to build up. Adding more water or food will block the vents and do not allow the steam to get released. If you are cooking foods like beans and grains, fill them only about half of the cooker as they tend to swell.
Tip 3: Use Enough Liquid
For any pressure cooker to create steam for cooking, it needs an adequate amount of water. Even if you are trying your own recipe, make sure you add at least half a cup of water to it. If you notice that the steam is not building up with this amount, open the lid and add some more water to it until the pressure comes out.
Tip 4: Take Care When Cooking Foods That Froth
When cooking certain foods like pasta, split peas, oatmeal, etc., the frothing can block the safety valves and pressure release vents. Always cook a less quantity of such foods in the cooker (below the recommended fill line) to prevent froth.
Tip 5: Do not Pressure Fry
Do not ever pressure fry in the cooker. Using a very less amount of oil in your pressure cooker can be dangerous. Furthermore, this could even melt the gasket and other parts. Hence, avoid doing it.
Tip 6: Clean the Cooker Properly
This is the most crucial tip to follow. Always wash the cooker after use. Make sure you remove the gasket from the lid, the cooking pot, and other parts and wash all of them separately. Use a wooden toothpick to clean the valve and remove anything stuck inside. After cleaning the cooker, dry it completely and place it upside down when storing.
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
How to cook different dishes?
The time taken to cook each dish may differ depending on the ingredients used. Make sure you follow the instructions given for each recipe before you start cooking. Also, the amount of water required may differ for each dish (rice, meat, vegetables, etc.). Hence, see to it that you are adding adequate water for every item that you are cooking. It is advisable to marinate the ingredients or parboil the food before cooking.
I hope this article educated you on how to use the pressure cooker the right way. Now that you are aware, start using it and try experimenting with different dishes in the cooker.
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