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Sep 6, 2006 04:06 AM

I need pressure cooking help

I got a 5-qt. Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker recently and think it's great except that when I make things with thicker sauces (chili and curry) more often than not the bottom gets really scorched. I have to soak it with baking soda for several days and scrub scrub scrub before I can get it clean again. I think the problem is that when I'm getting it up to pressure I can't stir the food so it burns on the bottom. I have an electric stove with coils and I've tried lowering the temp. a bit as it's gettting up to pressure, but that doesn't seem to help. Plus, it just takes longer to get up to pressure, so it seems to defeat the purpose of having a pressure cooker. Also, the last time I made curry the burnt flavor permeated the curry and made it somewhat inedible. Does anyone else have this problem? I haven't purchased a heat diffuser yet, but I guess it might be worth a try. I appreciate any suggestions.

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  1. I have a Presto cooker and have always had the same problem with tomato sauces for pasta. The diffuser didn't help, because you still have to get it hot enough to steam. When I called their customer service, the lady very nicely told me to check my recipe in the book that came with the cooker for the amount of liquid to use. So I guess the trick is to have it thin enough to not burn on the bottom. I don't know if that works, because I just quit making tomato sauce in the pressure cooker.

    5 Replies
    1. re: yayadave

      Darn. I've followed recipes so I'm not sure why all the burning. But it's not all the time. I thought it was my stove, but since you've had the same problem, too, maybe it's the viscosity. I haven't tried making beans, lentils, or dahl. I'm a little nervous to try, but that's one of the things pressure cookers are great for right?

      1. re: blueberry pig

        Yeah, but you said it yourself, "when I make things with thicker sauces." Are these recipes that are thick and burn from a pressure cooker book?

        Also, don't be shy about using the Kuhn Rikon resources available to you. They have people available to answer your questions. Check their web site for FAQ's and on-line help and even 'phone numbers.

        1. re: yayadave

          Yes, I made a curry (made twice, twice burned) from Lorna Sass's, Cooking Under Pressure, and Alton Brown's chili recipe designed for a pressure cooker (made 3 times, burned twice). Usually, the burning doesn't affect the flavor, but this last time, with the curry, my bf didn't want to eat it. I agree, I'll check in with Kuhn Rikon for tips. Thanks.

          1. re: blueberry pig

            Well, ah, ah, ah, dah, how about this. Once it reaches pressure, do you turn it down just high enough to maintain pressure? Mine has a little bobber on top that swishes back and forth and makes a comforting ssit, ssit, ssit at each wiggle.

            1. re: blueberry pig

              I have a message out to the Kuhn Rikon folks right now, so I'll post back when they answer. And yes, upon reaching 15psi, I move the cooker to another burner set on low to maintain pressure. Plus, this last time, I took it off heat completely upon reaching proper pressure. I'm stumped. But, I'm going to figure this one out even if I end up pulling all my hair out in the process.

      2. I just finnished making my first beef stock in my 6 qt pressure cooker which involved browning the oxtail and shanks in the pot. I do agree the bottom gets messy but 15 minutes with barkeeper's friend and it was looking like new.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

          Yes, browning the meat made the bottom "messy" like any pot or skillet would be. But when you used it as a pressure cooker to make the stock, you were making a thin product and it didn't burn. The problems the OP and I are having are that thick sauces burn.

          By the way, you could save yourself most of your clean-up if you cook the meat and bones in the oven on a foil lined pan. They get just as browned. In fact, you can put your chuncked up onions in there too. It doesn't matter how they look. They won't be in the finished broth, anyway.

        2. I've tried shaking it (trying to agitate the food back and forth) during cooking and I think it helps a bit. But I could be fooling myself. I just don't cook things with thick sauces in the PC any more, esp. sauces with sugar (onions, tomatoes, etc.). Not worth the hassle.