I've been using a pressure cooker this month. You may have thought the same as me and they went to heaven along with the Teasmade, but no they are still around and I have a shiny new stainless steel pressure cooker from my sister for Christmas.
I'd seen someone on telly using one to make a curry a while back. She was explaining that it speeds up the cooking process for her curries and makes sure that the meat, even cheap cuts, ends up tender. This sounds fantastic when you're on a tight food budget, there is always a pack of diced meat going cheap at the supermarket. I've used these packs of meat in cooking before and they usually end up inedible, it's like chewing on a pair of old boots. If i can get this meat tender it will make a lovely cheap meal.
When I first saw the pressure cooker I was obviously very pleased but then it dawned on me that I didn't know what to do with it. Luckily my mum has been using them on and off for years and has lent me a cook book. I also had a look on the internet for curry recipes, just adding the search term 'pressure cooker' to a recipe name in the Big G, Google.
A top tip I extracted from my mother's head is that there are normally two 'weights' or pressures of domestic pressure cooker. Hers being old allows her to change the pressure by changing the weight on top. Mine being new and flash, doesn't. Ha, so mine is a 7lb pressure cooker and hers is either 7lb or 15lb. Old is usually better!
This weight, or pressure the cooker works at is very important for the cooking times. I've found, so far, that the majority of recipes around are designed for the 15lb version. I couldn't find any conversion tables to use the lower weight so all I do now is double the time of cooking under pressure. This seems to work fine, however this is something I made up which seemed sensible not the official word from the manufacturer.
The curry I made was a simple lamb curry by I think Madur Jaffrey. Once again, no weight on the recipe so 'I assumed' 15 lb and doubled pressure cooking time. Going on the comments section I think others may have not done this as they said the meat was tough. Which reminds me, I need to leave a comment saying about this.
Was a little scary at first, as the pressure built up, but then the pressure indicator popped up and I turned the gas down low and left it there for 40 minutes. Releasing the pressure made a satisfying 'psssssss' and I was getting rather excited about trying the curry. It was, as expected, really tender meat and this was a dirt cheap diced lamb pack. I, of course, was very chuffed indeed.
I've tweaked the recipe for her curry now, so I'll be posting my version soonish when I get a spare half hour. My experience with the pressure cooker has been fantastic, it will be such a help in the kitchen. On the list to do is a Boeuf Bourguinon which I normally simmer for 5 hours, I reckon 1 hour of pressure cooker will do the job, I will of course let you know how this goes too.
I would definitely recommend getting yourself a pressure cooker. This particular one is a stainless steel pressure cooker from Robert Dyas, as you can see I'm very pleased with it. Have a look around & see what else it available by all means but I'm completely satisfied with mine and I doubt it cost the Earth from there.
Enjoy cooking under pressure :)
- Written by Stuart Edge
- Category: Kitchen Accessories
- Published: 21 January 2013