The usage of small pressure cookers is on the rise over the past years as more people begin to see the benefits of using them. They are great for meal planning and make delicious dishes in a fraction of the time. Don’t feel like cooking or worse, cleaning up afterward? You can make a meal in the pressure cooker! We give you some tips as to how to cook like a pro.
How do Pressure Cookers Work in Food Preparation?
While food is being cooked, steam builds inside the small pressure cooker. Trapped steam generates pressure which in turn raises the food’s boiling point. It permits food to be cooked at higher temperatures for a shorter duration. The food will not burn or overcook as you would experience if you were to cook it using traditional methods at this high of heat.
The pressure in the cooker forces liquids into the food. This allows the food to remain tender, moist, and juicy. It creates a rich, flavorful food profile at a quicker rate. Higher temperatures allow food to brown even when it is encased in moisture.
Stovetop pressure cookers were popular in the past, but recently, electric cookers are more sought after. They have improved safety features and are easy to program which makes them more convenient.
What Are They Used For?
Small pressure cookers are when you want to create a meal with minimal monitoring. Pressure cookers don’t require you to slave over a hot stove to make a meal. Once the timer is started, the work tends to be completed until the timer sounds.
Pressure cookers are great if you want to plan out meals. They are flexible, and allow you to prepare a meal simply, quickly, and have something taste amazing. It is also great for turning inexpensive cuts of meat into a great meal. Meats that are easy on the budget often need to be cooked longer and over a lower temperature to taste great.
Using a pressure cooker helps you to achieve this.
Also, when using a pressure cooker, moisture is returned to the meat tenderizing it. You can achieve great tasting results in a fraction of the time.
Your entire meal is prepared in one pot. This is great for clean-up because everything can go right into the dishwasher.
If you are prone to forgetting to defrost meat, it can be cooked from a frozen state in a pressure cooker. All you will need to do is add 50% additional time to the recipe’s recommendation. Veggies can be steamed from frozen in a pressure cooker by adding one to two minutes to the clock.
10 Tips for Cooking Like a Pro With a Small Pressure Cooker
Learning how to use a pressure cooker takes time. Even though many people feel that it is such a simple tool to use, many pressure cookers have multiple functions. To get the most out of your food, how it tastes, and the pressure cooker, there are some simple steps to follow to take your recipes to the next level.
- Read the instruction manual. Since every pressure cooker is different, you will need to know the instructions for how to use it. You also need to know about the safety features, pressure indicator, steam pressure valve, and whether the body is cool to touch while cooking.
- Saute aromatic vegetables to improve flavors. Place them in a bit of fat in the pressure cooker with the lid off. It should be over medium heat before adding additional ingredients and securing the lid.
- Brown any meat in a bit of oil first before adding other ingredients. Add a bit of oil with the lid removed before adding other ingredients to the mixture. Refrain from warming up the pressure cooker with the lid on, as this can be dangerous.
- If you have done the first two steps, then permit the cooker to cool before adding any liquid. A bit of the fluid will evaporate, and you may end up with less to cook the food in or to create a sauce at the end of cooking.
- Always be sure you add enough liquid to the pressure cooker. The right amount is needed for the pot to come up to pressure and cook the food. The general rule is to add one cup of liquid unless the recipe states something else. The adequate liquid is important as this generates enough steam to properly cook the meal.
- Begin with easy recipes if you are new to pressure cooking. Learning how to use a pressure cooker can be frustrating and intimidating. Begin with simple recipes to become accustomed to this cooking method. Then go to advanced recipes once you are comfortable.
- Put ingredients with faster cook times in at the end of the cooking cycle. By using a quick-release valve, release the vapour from the cooker.
- Follow the recipe instructions on releasing the pressure slowly or quickly to determine whether the food is perfectly cooked or not. You want to ensure that your food is not over or underdone.
- Thinning thick sauces with water prevents them from burning and caking to the bottom of the pressure cooker. Additionally, extra moisture will be required to develop pressure in the pot and for added moisture. You can thicken sauces once the food is completed in the cooker.
- Use it to make side dishes or desserts. If your pressure cooker has a ceramic pot, you can do main and side dishes simultaneously. Additionally, you can make desserts in a pressure cooker as well. You can use a springform pan to generate cheesecakes and custards.
What to Avoid When Using a Pressure Cooker
There are so many tips to get the best taste from your pressure cooker and some things that users should avoid doing. Some of it is common sense, but we can’t overstate some of these cautions enough.
- Never open the small pressure cooker when cooking. Modern electric cookers generally make it impossible to open the lid while pressure is building inside. It is an incorporated safety feature built into the pot. However, you should never remove this safety feature when in use. If you need to open the lid, turn it off and release the pressure before opening it.
- Refrain from releasing the pressure before it is ready. Follow recipe instructions when it comes to the right time to release pressure. Recipes will inform you when to manually release steam or if you should wait for it to release on its own. Releasing pressure too early results in food that is undercooked.
- Refrain from adding a thickener. Pressure cookers function from steam generated from heating the liquid found in the pot. Do not add a roux or cornstarch before cooking because it will affect how the food cooks. Thicker sauces provide less steam. If you need a thicker sauce, wait until after the food is done.
- Never overfill the small pressure cooker. Refrain from filling it above the maximum level (2/3 full). Overfilling it with food has the potential to clog the steam release valve, and too much pressure can develop inside the pot.
- If you have a bad experience, don’t give up. It takes time to properly get the hang of using a pressure cooker, especially if you are new to it. You may not get it right away, and if you don’t, you can tweak the recipe until it is perfect. Learning a new way of cooking takes time. Learn how to incorporate it into your routine.
Small pressure cookers are a great kitchen appliance for making a quick, no-fuss meal for a couple or small gathering. A modern pressure cooker is ideal for last-minute companies as they cook meals quicker than the stovetop. Also, they don’t sacrifice taste either when used properly.
Since the meal steams in a pressure cooker, most times, the meat comes out juicy and tender, unlike the risk of overcooking it on the stovetop or in the oven. You don’t have to constantly tend to it, thereby freeing up your time for other activities.
If you have last-minute guests, you can get a great home-cooked meal done in a fraction of the time. You won’t have to stress about timing or not having enough time to get everything- including the cleaning- done in ample time. They will never know that your beef stew was a last-minute attempt, and your cooking is sure to receive rave reviews.
The diversity of a pressure cooker- even if it is a small one- is worth the initial investment. They can do so many functions, and they can make your life so much easier.