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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 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.

Comment by Dave Riley on April 19, 2017 at 23:07

There are 'issues' with PC: price - stove top vs electric - how much gadgetry you want in the setup - the supplier  you plan to buy the PC from.

Online is good -- indeed preferable --because there is a much bigger range. 

I'm sure they'll perform with similar efficiencies.

I like 'manual cooking'. I don't now use a rice cooker. It's an organic' thing. But the top PC models offer different psi options.

They surely are a legume cooking essential but really, if you want to suppress most of the phyric acid,  you should still presoak your dry beans.

Either way  each legume species will cook differently so that's worth taking on board. There are many charts on line you can use as a guideline.(Although some are a bit dubious I find)

But my pressure cooker and i have a partnership and what works, works.

You can still add ingredients at different times -- for instance I add canned beans toward the end of the steam up and steam up again.

Curries, tagines, gumbos, soups, stews, soups, pulled pork, wonderful lamb shanks...half an hour or so.

Compared to a slow cooker -- if you don't like what you get, you cook it some more and add ingredients. Can't do that with the slow cooker in a hurry.

Hoping that the dish can sort its taste out itself is not my style.

Slow cooker recipes are aasily adjusted to the pressure cooker by, usually, increasing the moisture content.

Just don't go cowboy and attempt 'southern fried chicken' ...stick with water (stocks, tomatoes,etc) .( OR Kaboom!!!)

As for the taste -- slow cooker vs pressure cooker -- I'm taken with the way the PC can quickly blend flavours. For me it is the king of the stovetop.

The literature also raises the issue of PC size and storage. We do great with 6 litre volume and my Silampos is a squat little darling that tucks away easily on a shelf. No handle!

A glistening object d'art.

Since easy evaporation isn't the pressure cooker's style -- do the sums. You'll be cooking maybe just over  5 litres of tucker if you volume up to safety level. You can get smaller  setups (eg: 4 litres), but I don't see the gains as it still is the same hot chamber and maybe friends will drop over.

More voluminous ones? Suit yourself. Are you running a soup kitchen? Is the fam large in number. And the bigger the cooker, the heavier and more cumbersome it will be.

Comment by Susan on April 19, 2017 at 20:22

I put my madagscar beans in on the weekend.  Lets see how they go   

Comment by Lissa on April 19, 2017 at 5:15

Madagascar beans are the best aren't they. They are growing here on the property I am on and I use them regularly fresh (I pick them youngish).

Good - you guys should have worked out which of these machines is the best buy by the time I go looking :)

Comment by Dave Riley on April 19, 2017 at 4:21

Just on the Silampos option (LINK) -- I think you want to get a Pressure Cooker that is sturdy and offers a long life. That also enables easy replacement of parts -- like the rubber ring --  because all pressure cookers aren't equal.

So I'd check the pressure cooker review sites before purchase.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 19, 2017 at 0:13

Good for you Elaine.  Your chic peas and brown rice will be done in minutes, so too your soups, curries and casseroles.  Just remember, with clever cooking, you'll think you've gone to heaven.  Pressure cookers do so much more than wet dishes!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 18, 2017 at 23:32

Don't do ribs or much meat. Chick Peas take a very long time as does brown Rice. I do vege soups including split pea without the ham and vege curries and casseroles.

If I get it for the reserve it'll be $90 including postage. 

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