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meat curry in a pressure cooker?

Friends over for dinner on Monday, and I'm going to combine two firsts: (1) cooking meat [goat, on the bone, Indian style] curry, (2) in a pressure cooker.

I'm not sure why I've never cooked goat - it just hasn't happened. I've certainly eaten lots. Baaaaa.

I'm not sure why I've never used my pressure cooker. Maybe I did try it once, and the benefits weren't obvious, but cleaning was a pain.

Anyway, here I am. What is the secret to cooking curry in a pressure cooker? Will it blow up?

I have done some research. My pressure cooker is a western model - a F*GOR - but all the Indian pressure cooking recipes I've found measure time in "number of whistles" which I don't think applies, as my pressure cooker lacks the familiar whistle on the top.


(As an aside, does a pressure cooker offer any quality benefits over other methods of cooking? I know it's supposed to be faster, but that is somewhat offset by the cleaning hassle.)

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  1. yes you can do it and it will be fabulous.

    you have your curry recipe?

    you have your fagor instruction manual?

    consider the curry a "MEAT STEW" for analogy purposes. you will pressure on high.

    tips: don't fill too high (there is a fill line indicator) and don't use too much liquid. chick peas are a nice addition.


    is this what you mean about indian recipes - "whistle goes off four times"? http://www.spicytasty.com/meat-and-se...

    after some deep searching, i found this info from miss vickie: ""To adapt an Indian recipe that uses whistles for cooking in either a 'jiggle-top' or the modern spring-valve cooker, allow about 3 minutes-per-whistle.""" http://missvickie.com/library/whistli... HOWEVER, i do not think that this is enough time. a "four whistle" would be only 12 minutes. that's not enough time to cook meat. here is fagor's meat cooking timing chart: http://fastcooking.ca/pressure_cooker...

    LUCKY FATIMA could answer this question for you in her sleep. Hey girl, we need your help!!!

    i've gotta run for now, but will see how this thread is going when i get back later. we'll get it sorted out together! ;-).

    1 Reply
    1. re: alkapal

      according to the fagor chart (beef or lamb -- 1-1/2" cubes), it looks like 12- 15 minutes per pound IS correct (ok, miss vickie, you're vindicated, although 12 minutes still seems on the low side...).

    2. Personally I don't like to do "firsts" for company.

      1. I heard great things for doing slow cooking (including meat curry) in a pressure cooker, but I have never done it. My understanding for the advantage is that it is much faster, as you have stated. The disadvantages are that (a) the ingredients have to be added at the same time, and (b) you cannot check on the progress of your cooking, not regularly anyway. If you are to check on the foods regularly by opening and closing the lid, then there is not much of a point of using a pressure cooker.

        Of course, pressure cooking performs differently depending on the pressure. Consequently, it is a great tool if you have already used it once or twice on a recipe, and that you know the optimal timing and the optimal pressure. Moreover, if it is a recipe which cannot be overcooked, then it is fine too.

        1. This is probably NOT what you want to hear, but:

          I never use the pressure cooker on meat because it gives the meat a weird sort of fluffy texture. Goat gets that great soft, breakable by pressing it into rice or roti, falling off the bone texture in about 1 hour and 15 mins to 1 and 1/2 hours of regular cooking. I can always detect pressure cooked beef and goat.

          Many many Indian homecooks use pressure cookers simply because it is faster, they are used to it, and also because in India it is cheaper fuel wise to cook with it. Many Indian cookbooks written for an Indian audience actually give instructions with the assumption that all readers will be using a PC. I am on the way out the door now, but I do recall finding a whistle-less pressure cooker timing guide somewhere through googling.

          If you insist on it, go low and slow with the flame for pressure building. High flame will get you faster whistles (or build faster pressure cuz you don't have whistles) but it really gives a distinct and inferior taste to the meat. All the taste goes.

          BTW not all pressure cookers are equal, and you have to get used to the timings with each model you use. I would not recommend cooking with it for guests until you are used to its timings.

          I use my pressure cooker for large legumes and whole maash daal. Chhola, rajma, black channa, they all come out wonderfully (and fast!) with the PC.

          3 Replies
          1. re: luckyfatima

            "I never use the pressure cooker on meat because it gives the meat a weird sort of fluffy texture"

            Well, technically if you have NEVER used a pressure cooker, then how do you know?

            :P (just teasing you)

            1. re: luckyfatima

              Actually, that is super helpful. I'm not committed to the idea of pressure cooking - just thought I should try the experiment - but I am happy to learn from the experience of others.

              I will cook the regular way. Thank you!

              1. re: luckyfatima

                "I never use the pressure cooker on meat because it gives the meat a weird sort of fluffy texture. Goat gets that great soft, breakable by pressing it into rice or roti, falling off the bone texture in about 1 hour and 15 mins to 1 and 1/2 hours of regular cooking. I can always detect pressure cooked beef and goat."

                This is true IF you overcook the meat in a pressure cooker, which can be quite easy to do if you're not careful. Generally when you braise meat the usual way on a stove, it tends to become more tender as you go. With pressure cooking, it does the job in a third of the time and if you go longer it will totally break down the meat resulting in either tough or super-soft texture like you described. Another mistake that people make is releasing pressure the wrong way. A lot of people always pour cold water over the cooker since it's faster but meat needs to be de-pressurized naturally to complete the cooking process.

              2. Jacques Pepin did a PC lamb curry on his More Fast Food My Way series. The recipe hsould be available on the show's website.

                1. I use my pressure cooker to make meat curries (and stews and pot roasts and...) all the time. First off, your Fagor cooker won't blow up. It's one of the best-made and safest cookers out there. Just don't overfill it - no more than 2/3 full, and no more than half full if you're cooking legumes.

                  The primary benefit is shortened cooking times, but you can also get things to cook that wouldn't ever get done at atmospheric pressure. Probably not a concern with the goat you're making, but sometimes things like wheat berries and beans just refuse to get done in a pot; the pressure cooker takes care of 'em in a heartbeat. It also saves fuel and is a good way to compensate for cooking at altitude (somewhere I read that the average Swiss household has 3+ pressure cookers).

                  As far as cleaning, I don't understand your comment. It's just a pot with a lid, and you'd be washing a pot and a lid anyway, right? And the lid very seldom gets stuff on it, since you're not maintaining a vigorous boil.

                  Anyhow, the greatest problem with pressure cookery is that you can't check on things as they go along. And if you give dinner an extra ten minutes just to be sure, it can turn to mush. My solution is to slightly undershoot the desired doneness, then finish at a simmer. Especially since you'll be trying a recipe for the first time - for company, no less - I think this is the safest way to go.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    Cleaning the lid - the part where the rubber gasket inserts to create a seal - was a bit of headache, as I recall.

                    Interesting data point on the Swiss - I would not have guessed. Makes sense.

                    1. re: fadista

                      If you're getting food spatter up around the gasket, then your cooker was overfull. Not just a problem with cleaning, but a potential safety issue, too. Since the inside of the lid has been fully sterilized by the cooking process (hospitals sterilize surgical instruments in an autoclave, which is essentially a pressure cooker) I just rinse the lid and call it good.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        Thanks, that's good to know - I'll watch my daal levels next time.

                        I always have really liked the word "autoclave." Also "iatrogenic." The healthcare system may be collapsing, but at least they've brought us some good vocabulary.

                  2. I realize this thread is over a year old and your dinner party is long over, but if you are still looking for real Indian curries in the pressure cooker, a great book is Quick and Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey.
                    Almost all of the beef/pork/lamb/goat recipes in the book give pressure cooker instructions. I only wish the chicken recipes did, too. Everything I've made from this book so far has been great.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: AmyH

                      I don't have a pressure cooker but a couple of recipes from that book have become classics for me, which is more than I can say for most cookbooks.

                      1. re: julesrules

                        It's definitely a keeper! Which are your classics? The "most delicious meat cubes" is a favorite at my house.

                        1. re: AmyH

                          The cauliflower/ginger soup and a seafood curry. I believe the original recipe calls for squid but I use shrimp. I think there's also an actual shrimp recipe in the book but if IIRC it calls for something I don't keep in the pantry, whereas the squid recipe with tomatoes, mustard seed, spinach and coconut milk is delicious and easy for me to throw together. I've brought it to potlucks etc and people ask for it again or want the recipe. Even an Indian co-worker said "oh that smells like our food" when I brought the leftovers to work once :)
                          I'll have to try the meat cubes someday and also some of the other recipes that I never tried - I've had the book for years but not tried everything.

                          1. re: julesrules

                            I made the "ground lamb with tomatoes and peas" (keema mattar) for dinner tonight and it was fantastic. The only thing I changed was to use ground turkey instead of lamb. Really great flavor.

                    2. Also, Lorna Sass's book Pressure Perfect has a great 'Curry in a Hurry' recipe that's not necessarily authentic but gives you options and cooking times for different meats.