Fabulous Cooking with a Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker is a wonderful thing. Recipes that take hours in a regular pan can be cooked within minutes with a pressure cooker. And unlike expensive ovens and microwaves, pressure cookers can be bought for bargain prices of a few hundred rupees from sites like FutureBazaar.

How Pressure Cookers Work

Pressure cookers work on a simple scientific principle: high pressure increases the boiling point of water. For example, the boiling point of water at standard atmospheric pressure is 100 C. At a pressure of 15 psi above standard pressure, however, the boiling point increases to 121 C.

Pressure cookers take advantage of this fact by forcibly raising the atmospheric pressure inside the cooking vessel. This is made possible by creating an airtight lid which traps steam inside and increases the temperature inside the cooker. At this higher temperature, food cooks significantly faster.

Pressure Cookers and Indian Food

They say, there are only two sounds every Indian has heard at least once: Lata Mangeshkar’s singing and the whistle of a pressure cooker!

Lentil dalPressure cookers are an indispensable part of Indian cooking. Lentils (dal) – a staple part of virtually every Indian cuisine – is almost always cooked in a pressure cooker. Tough meats and beans (rajma), which usually take hours to cook on a normal pan, usually find their way into a pressure cooker as well.

The airtight cooker vessel is also great at trapping the flavours of different Indian spices. Food cooked in a pressure cooker, therefore, is usually more flavourful than food cooked in an open pan. It is also a good way to simulate the dum-cooking style popular in certain parts of the country.

Things to Consider Before Buying Pressure Cookers

A pressure cooker is a must-have vessel in any Indian kitchen. However, there are a few things you must keep in mind before purchasing a pressure cooker:

  1. Safety: A poorly made pressure cooker can literally explode mid-use, posing a serious health risk. Therefore, it is advisable to buy cookers certified by the ISI. Look for the ISI logo on the cooker body/box before buying.
  2. Construction Material: Steel is the preferred construction material for pressure cookers because of its durability and non-reactive properties. Cheaper cookers are usually made from aluminium, which can be damaged easily.
  3. Brands: If your budget permits it, buy a tried and tested brand like Hawkins or Prestige. These companies have years of experience manufacturing cookers fit for Indian cooking and also offer attractive design and colour options.

Pressure cooker by PrestigeYou can buy pressure cookers online at FutureBazaar. When buying online, make sure to check customer reviews/ratings before making a purchase decision. Also, look for coupon codes to get attractive discounts and deals on your purchase.


August 2, 2013

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