By Devi Pujari Updated: November 01, 2023
Known as one of the most important cooking tools in Indian cuisine, using a pressure cooker can greatly speed up the cooking process and reduce the length of cooking time for many dishes that otherwise follow a slow cooking method. However, with everyday cooking or food preparation time constraints, here are six effective tricks to get the results you want in an even shorter amount of time while using a pressure cooker.
In order of importance, when it comes to must-have cooking tools in the Indian kitchen, the pressure cooker probably ranks highest because of the primary use it has – from steaming rice and lentils, cooking beans, tough cuts of meat or even for preparing such – dishes in pots, the pressure cooker is a convenient equipment for amateurs as well as for experienced cooks. Given our busy lifestyles that leave very little time to prepare or prepare food, using quick shortcuts to speed up the cooking process, even when using a pressure cooker, can help produce faster results. without having to compromise on taste. Using simple hacks that keep time spent in the kitchen to a minimum can make your cooking seem quick and effortless.
Selecting ingredients that are compatible with high pressure cooking. Ingredients such as tough cuts of lamb or pork, beans and root vegetables are known to be excellent choices that also perform favorably when pressure cooked. They primarily benefit from high pressure, which helps them break down and soften quickly. Also, cutting your ingredients into uniform sizes ensures even cooking and heat distribution, helping everything to cook at the same rate, reducing cooking time.
If you plan to use a pressure cooker to cook beans, legumes, or grains, pre-soaking them can greatly reduce cooking time, as soaking helps soften these ingredients, causing them to cook faster and more evenly. . Swollen grains and legumes begin to soften on the inside as a result of pre-existing moisture, giving them a creamy and fluffy texture when added to sauces or mixed with flavors and spices.
Adding a spoonful or two of fat and using it to sear meat or sauté vegetables before pressure cooking not only enhances the flavor of your dish, but also cuts down on pressure cooking time. Firm vegetables like carrots or potatoes develop a complex flavor when tossed in fat, while tough meats like mutton can be seared to add depth of flavor, helping to enhance the overall flavor of your curry or stew.
Although pressure cookers are known to require a minimal amount of liquid to generate steam and increase pressure, be sure to add the recommended amount of liquid based on the recipe you are following. If certain ingredients such as chicken or vegetables contain sufficient moisture, adjust the ratio accordingly, as excessive liquid can result in diluted flavor and mushy foods, while insufficient moisture will affect cooking time and undercooked food.
Once the pressure cooker is off the heat, letting the pressure drop on its own results in tender, perfectly cooked rice, lentils and meat. Although this takes a bit longer than a quick pressure release, it prevents overcooking – allowing the juices to be reabsorbed by the food. Taking extra care to ensure that the steam vent is clean is not only a safety measure, but it also makes it easier for excess steam to escape, which can collect moisture in your cooker.
Like pan-frying, it’s best to choose an optimally sized pressure cooker when you have an idea of how many people will be eating. While a small pressure cooker is fine for single or double portion meals, using a large pressure cooker to cook food for a crowd is advisable – in any case, the amount of raw food should be half the total volume of your cooker. What it also allows is the chef’s ability to estimate a cooking time that they can stick to without having to adjust any disastrous results or causing the food to burn on the bottom.