You should try pressure cooking today!
We are all under time pressures in our daily lives. For those who want to cook their own meals from scratch it might be hard to make that time during the week. Who has time to cook? We are looking for good food but are tempted to grab the ready made meals or takeaways.
What if I told you there was a kitchen appliance that can help you cook faster? No, it’s not a microwave. It’s the pressure cooker.
What is pressure cooking?
A pressure cooker is a pot which has a sealed lid. The key to pressure cooking is steam. Steam is created when water evaporates. This happens at 100C, even if you increase the temperature it just makes the water evaporate quicker.
When water evaporates in the pot, this sealed lid is what prevents the steam and heat from escaping. The steam that can’t escape creates the pressurised environment in the pot. Traditionally water can get up to 100C before turning into steam but in the pressure cooker, the temperature can rise to 121°C.
This increase in temperature and pressure is what allows the cooking time of dishes to be done in half or quarter of the time!
What can you dishes can you make with a pressure cooker?
Wet cooking methods (like steaming boiling and braising) transfer heat more efficiently to food than dry cooking methods (baking and roasting).
Think about it, have you stuck your hand in a hot oven? Did you get burnt? Probably not (unless you touched the side of the oven). Now what happened when you stuck your hand on top of the steam that comes from the kettle when you are making cuppa of tea? That steam probably burnt you.
Pressure cooking is a great wet cooking method because it uses steam.
Why I pressure cook
I fell in love with pressure cooking earlier this year because I could make recipes that I loved growing up at home in a short amount of time.
Let me take you back to when I was a young boy, it was a Sunday and my mom was making a Vietnamese dish called pho. It is soup dish made with a beef broth. The broth involves simmering beef bones with aromatic spices like cinnamon and star anise for hours. My mom used to have the broth simmering for 4-6hours. Thats a long time!
To my amazement, when I made this dish in a pressure cooker that time went from hours to 45mins.
From there I continued to make curries and stews and basics like rice and hard boiled eggs. In fact my favourite easy dish in a pressure cooker is pasta, you put all of the ingredients into the pot dry pasta, tomato sauce, meat and spice and even the water for the pasta. In 6-8 mins you will have an easy and quick dinner for a small family.
How will pressure cooking help your daily life?
Vegetables cooked under pressure take a few minutes to make and lose very few vitamins, minerals, taste and color compared to boiling. There is less evaporation so the nutrients stay there with the veggies.
The sealed lid and shorter cooking time translate into using less energy to cook. Once the pot has reached the right amount of pressure, less heat is required to keep it heated. In fact foods cooked in the pressure cooker use 70-90% less energy than those cooked in traditional cookware.
Ingredients used for pressure cooking such as stewing meats or large joints are cheaper than other cuts of meats. This means you get much more food out of your grocery bills
Making good food fast doesn’t need magic
We are all under time pressures in our daily lives, perhaps it is time to apply some pressure to our cooking to make good food fast.