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Mar 3, 2008 05:15 PM

What do you like to make in your pressure cooker?

We love to cook soup but would like to enlarge our repertoire of recipes. What have you found to be tastier and quicker using this tool?

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  1. Lamb shanks are really great in my pc! I've made short ribs in it too.

    1. Pinto beans to go w/ Mex., chicken/turkey carcasses for stock and ham/pork bones for pea/bean soups. Brown rice in a pinch. Blanching garden veggies for freezing. Pot roast.

      1. From what I understand, cooks (home cooks, that is) in India use pressure cookers all the time for many dishes. If you are unfamiliar with that cuisine or don't care for it, you could adapt the basics of that style to tastes and foods you enjoy.

        I think some Indian cooks might say, "what can't you do with a pressure cooker?"

        I have just started exploring the use of my new pressure cooker, and so far I have only used it to cook fresh beans (kidney beans, a kind of legume close to a yellow split pea, called tur dal) and kale. Indian cooks do an entire delicious multilayered dish in a pressure cooker.

        Lorna Sass has written several cookbooks on hundreds of dishes you can do with pressure cookers, ranging from meat based to vegetarian, soups to desserts.

        I think if you think of the principle in which the pressure cooker works, you can create your own variation of dishes cooked in other pieces of equipment.

        I intend to use by pressure cooker to make some soups, such as split pea and lentil, but have yet to do so. I will probably need at least a few tries before I get it right!

        What kind of pressure cooker do you use, and what size is it? Is it a traditional pressure cooker with the valve that bobs up and down, or do yo have a more modern one with a spring valve?

        I have heard that breads, pudding, and cheesecake can be made in the pressure cooker!

        The pressure cooker is excellent for tenderizing meats and making very moist and tender chicken, too.

        3 Replies
        1. re: FelafelBoy

          felafelboy, i'm just starting to do some indian cooking at home, but i'm put off by a lot of the waiting for things to cook. do you know any good PC cookbooks specifically for indian food? i know i want to try making daal in one, but i can't imagine making a whole "multi-layered" dish. thanks

          1. re: snickerus

            I have a small Hawkins PC. The cookbook that came with it has a section of Indian recipes. Nearly all the recipes involve some further spicing and/or cooking after the PC phase. Many, for example, call for a final sprinkle of garam masala. The pressure phase shortens the long cooking time needed to cook the meat, and thoroughly soften vegetables like onion.


            1. re: snickerus

              snickerus - I'm a novice at this myself, learning along the way. I've gotten some help on board, but I haven't devoted as much time as I should there to use its resources. paulj has much more experience than me!

              I can just share my experience with making dal, in a simple way. I bought a bag of small yellow legumes, called tur dal, similar to yellow split peas. The basics of cooking them to make a simple dal is this - first rinse them (a must), and drain. I was told they do not need to be soaked. I was able to cook them fine in my stock pot, but my first attempt in my pc didn't work out well. It may have been due to my oversoaking them (not needed).

              Anyways, you want to put the tur dal in your pc, add water, (add a bit of turmeric is suggested), bring to pressure, and after so many minutes, release pressure. While this is going on, in a frying pan, heat some frying medium, such as clarified butter or ghee (or another oil if you insist), and to it add a few spices such as curry seeds, black mustard seeds, and anything else that you like to add flavor (I add hing/asoefatida to replace garlic and onions) until you smell the fragrance. Add this fried spice mixture into the cooked tur dal, add salt, stir, and enjoy.

              I am unreliable resource for measurements. I had thought the ratio of water to legumes in this case was 3 to 1, but that didn't work out. You also can customize the texture of your dal. I prefer a mushier consistency which requires longer cooking, or using a fork or immersion blender to soften up the legumes into smaller particles.

              The Hare Krishna book of Vegetarian Cooking gives some very simple recipes for dals. They include relatively few ingredients per recipe.

              When I referred to "multilayered dishes", I was referring to what I heard the Indian cooks do, with putting many various spices and ingredients and foods in the pc at various stages to produce a complex dish. That's the ultimate! For the rest of us mortals, we can do a simplified version of that.

              The other guideline I learned for these dishes, is to first fry chopped onions, ginger, garlic, etc., then the spices, then put in the food, stir, add your liquid, bring to pressure, cook, and after release of pressure, you can add other faster cooking ingredients, such as bits of spinach, etc.That's the simplest I can put it. There is no one right way of doing things as I am discovering, but there are key principles to be aware of when pressure cooking.

              I've seen beautiful Indian cookbooks and recipes I'd love to taste, but most of them are too complicated for my level of expertise, tolerance, patience, and cooking utensils, so I'm just sticking with the easiest ones until I feel more confident and capable of doing more. (And in the meantime, some of those already made foods are more than passable, such as the Jyoti line of canned dishes which I add my own fresh ingredients, too - their cans are packed solid with food, not liquid - best example of this is their cholle, which you HAVE to add water to since it is so thick), and some of the boil in a bag dishes, the best company I've tasted so far has been that of the Swad (also known as Patel's) brand. I was told that two other brands aren't bad - Dham, and a company whose name that begins with P, like Pryati or something like that, I was told was fairly good.

          2. Artichokes. Just put a little water in, which means it gets to hissing quickly. Back off the heat, 6 minutes of hissing, then turn the heat off. Because of the small amount of water the pressure drops quickly. Done.

            1. I bought a pressure cooker a little while back and so far the only thing that has turned out well for me if Ribs! I put them in the pressure cooker with half a bottle of beer. then i put them on the grill just a few minutes each side with the BBQ sauce and they fall off the bone and are so juicey and take about a half an hour or so.

              I would like to use it more, but I have not found any good reccomended recipes. I saw on QVC one time they made a stew with pasta in it, that i would like to try. Anyone else tried anything like this?

              1 Reply
              1. re: LowerGwyneddGirl

                You can make incredible soups, stews, chili and more in the pressure cooker. Any recipe that calls for liquid can be cooked effectively, efficiently and deliciously in the pressure cooker. I just made some beef stew this morning for my son. Brown the beef with some onions, added a bit of broth (beer or red wine would be good, too) and cooked it for 8 minutes. Quick-released the lid and added potatoes and carrots for another 3 minutes and then let the pressure come down naturally. You can make pot roast the same way in less than an hour, and with St. Patrick's Day, this is the time to think about making corned beef. All this from my The Veggie Queen who mostly relies on my pressure cooker for beans, vegetables and grains. I have a DVD and recipe booklet available but no meat dishes on it.