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Oct 10, 2009 09:13 PM

Pressure Cooker for Soups and Curries?

I am thinking about buying a pressure cooker, either the Fagor or Presto brand in the 4 or 6 qt size.

I love making the following and have read that they can be made with pressure cookers in less time:

- steaming vegetables
- cooking split pea soup, chicken soup, chili, hungarian goulash
- hungarian stuffed cabbage
- rolled oats (takes 30 mins on the stove)
- indian curry
- various beans instead of buying the canned variety

I have just gotten back into cooking so the above is what I cook most of the time. My worry is that although it may cook faster, will it still have the same taste? Another thing is, when cooking some of the above items, water will boil off so will I need to be careful about water levels when cooking with a pressure cooker?

I am absolutely thrilled with the idea of being able to cook the above in a fraction of the time. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

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  1. I bought a Fagor pressure cooker a few months ago and I love it. Mainly I'm using it to cook beans -- for that task alone it is so worth it. They get the beans completely cooked in a shorter amount of time than in the oven or stove top in a regular pot. I have also cooked stews with good results.

    OTOH don't' bother cooking rice in it IMO and understand that you will need to do stuff like browning meat or sauteing veggies say for stock before pressure cooking. Yes you want to err on the side of extra liquid in most things but you can always finish off a dish after pressure cooking with the lid off to get rid of excess liquid.

    2 Replies
    1. re: HokieAnnie

      Hi HokieAnnie, thanks for your reply. I have a rice cooker so I wouldn't be using it for rice at all. How do you find the beans after cooking them with a pressure cooker rather than from a can? I haven't tried dried beans yet so I'm interested in knowing how much better they are. I also imagine it would be much cheaper buying chickpeas and other beans dried and in bulk rather than buying by the can every time.

      1. re: classacts

        Dried beans taste fresher IMO and by ditching canned beans you ditch the high amounts of salt found in canned beans. And I sometimes find canned beans mushy too. Yeah very much cheaper!

    2. Basically, cooks faster; tastes better. Look up this web site. It's a complete guide to pressure cooking and is now available as a book. She tells you how to test your cooker, whatever brand, to see how much water it needs and how much it loses.

      1. I've successfully used a pressure cooker for all the foods you mention--except for stuffed cabbage, which I've never made. (But do you mean steel-cut oats, not rolled oats? Rolled oats are typically shorter-cooking.) In my opinion, they taste as good as the same dishes made conventionally. As for water loss, it's mainly an issue with the older style of pressure cooker, the type with the jiggling weight on the valve. Even with those cookers, it's not much of a problem unless you're cooking something for a considerable time. Pressure cookers with newer valve types lose very little water while cooking.