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Frugal soup OR playing with a new pressure cooker

I recently bought a second hand pressure cooker quite cheaply. I played around today making a frugal soup and learning how to use the cooker. It turned out g...

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Comment by Dave Riley on May 6, 2017 at 1:21

Well there you go. Texas, rice and beef with olives.

I've never cook rice in the PC as I have my own stovetop techniques for plain and pilafs -- but using the PC surprised me.

2-3 minutes on steam -- then turn off.

Similar to my usual approach --after soaking and washing the grains -- but the seriously enclosed  space meant that the steam was more reliably used.

I'm a finger stirrer type to measure the fluids/rice mix.

Of course after a head of steam you follow slow release protocol.

As an aside: you know how you cook a meal and sometimes don't want to bother with pots and pan clean up? My lazy man approach is to leave leftovers in the PC until morning as pressure cookers also function as autoclaves (as used in some countries)-- in effect, sterilizing their contents.

So you are much less likely to poison yourself with a PC dinner if left overnight.

Further to pro and con--it is worth while pointing out that if you PC over heats the first thing to start protesting is the wiggly valve at top. This is a gauge you can remove to release the steam quickly.You also use it to judge the steam build up as it makes a noise and may rotate. I manually lift it a little to judge steam build up.If it releases steam I'm away.

Now my PC is not gonna blow up ever as I have a very sensitive ceramic cook top ... but if the valve were to fall off due to overwhelming steam pressure it 'could' crack the ceramic when it fell. Mind you the psi would need to be huge and I'd have to be in a drunken stupor somewhere about but that's the ONLY CONCERN I've had with my delight. These valves don't whistle but the steam can be loudly protesting its existence as they spin around keenly. But on my stovetop gauge of 1-9 I'm usually cooking at 1 or 2 --sort of steam simmer. I may go up to 5 or 7 or 8 to get up a head of steam initially,like Casey Jones, but then I turn it down and time the cooking from then on.

As I say: never burnt a dish. Pressure cooker fears are based on a lot of paranoia from the fifties.

If you think you have too much steam built up just move the PC aside from the hotplate to cool somewhat. Adjust you temp and continue cooking.

Removing the valve may release steam quickly but you put your fingers in danger of being burnt as the steam geyser erupts. So move the pot aside and let it cool a bit in its own good time before returning it to (a lower) heat.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 5, 2017 at 19:29

The link ('overview') that you posted Dave is a wealth of useful information. I am copying a great deal of it for future reference.

Comment by Dave Riley on May 5, 2017 at 16:29

Pressure cooker STEAMED  RICE: all the options:LINK.

Why? Tonight's PC exercise -- Texas rice and beef (with olives).

Comment by Stephen Choi on May 5, 2017 at 6:39
I love mine. I make various stocks, and love cooking oxtail stew in it. I'll be giving it a run soon when it gets colder.
Comment by Dave Riley on May 4, 2017 at 23:16

Here's a good over view -- LINK-- of what pressure cooking can do.

Here's an introduction to Silampos. Mine doesn't offer the colored lock pop up but the design is the same otherwise.

Very smart design. Very simple. The logic and physics is easy to understand.One rule of thumb: approx one cup of fluid to cook in and don't load your ingredients to the top.Never burnt anything. Never got festery and spluttering. Around $120-150 online. Best money i ever spent on a kitchen tool.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on May 4, 2017 at 19:36

Sweet lordie... I made french onion soup.  Really good.  I'll share the recipe - I adapted it from the Maggie Beer one in the womans weekly mag.   

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 4, 2017 at 11:24

The Scanpan wok that I bought many years ago has repaid its purchase many times over. Some kind of ceramic coating is non-stick and non-rust. It's a wildly expensive brand but I have found their products to be top quality.

Comment by Dave Riley on May 4, 2017 at 10:10

My wok rusts up for obvious lack of oily attention so I've started stir frying in my pressure cooker pot because the steal is of such good quality and the bottom has a slight convex edge along the circumference.

Last night: stir fried broccoli.

This is my wonderful stove top Silampos.

It was my wife who started using the PC for everything and I'm catching up.

Stir fry without lid, of course -- works a treat.

Tonight we're having lamb pot roast in the PC (with potatoes)...and three nights ago I did fried rice in the PC. Precooked the rice in my fav high pot via steaming, of course, but the rest was prepped and combined in the PC.

Yesterday I cooked three whole small chickens in the PC with a little water -- 2 cups -- for the family dog pack.

I've a very 'manual' cook and tend to improvise by taste and such so I work with simple set ups without the 'AUTO' options. My kitchen hand is a kitchen timer.

I have a few timers -- so that I can carry one to the 'other room' -- or outside into the garden -- away from the kitchen such that i have two on my computer desktop.

That's  how we roll in maison d'ave.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 19, 2017 at 23:49

I also like to combine the pressure cooker with other techniques.  I'm finding it is a simple but thought out process. Boil potatoes and pumpkin for 5 minutes for the mash side.  Use the liquid stock from that to make over a kilo of ribs, cooked to fall off the bone perfection in 17 minutes.  Add homemade BBQ sauce. Grill for 10 minutes to caramelise the sauce.   Now that's living!

Comment by Dave Riley on April 19, 2017 at 23:16

Here's a PC tip.

Many dishes rely on a thickener early in the cooking process. Roux for example.

With pressure cookering I prefer to add the thickener towards the end for quick adjustable thickness, and I use Potato Starch.

If your cooking stock is 'thick' throughout the cooking, the process may be sabotaged.

I could go on about my potato starch thing...but you can sample packets of it from Chinese or Korean grocers.

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