It is hard to go into a modern kitchen and fail to come across an instant pot. The beauty of cutting down the cooking time of various foods by almost half has been the biggest attraction to many homeowners. The fact that you can prepare tons of Instant Pot recipes makes this appliance a darling in many kitchens.
The end goal of every food preparation process is to end up with a tasty and healthy meal. The approach you take and how you use your cookware will determine the results. Let us explore simple tips on how to get the best out of your instant pot.
Use liquid when pressure cooking
An instant pot uses steam to build pressure that will then cook the food. You must add at least a half to one cup of water for this steam to build up. Liquid requirements may also differ depending on the specific recipe that you want to prepare. For instance,chicken soup requires more water as you do not need to dry it up.
The pressure cooker will seal the liquid above its boiling point, thus creating pressure. However, you should not add water or any other liquid beyond the halfway mark. Your food should also not cover more than two-thirds of the space on your instant pot.
Take advantage of the different functions
There are multiple buttons on an instant pot depending on the meal that you want to prepare. The sauté function is what you will mostly start with when you want to brown your meat or caramelize your onions. You can then use the pressure cooking function when you are ready to add the rest of the ingredients. “Keep Warm” setting is another option that you can explore after the food is ready as it ensures that your meal does not go cold fast. The users’ manual can guide you on some of the basic functions on an instant pot.
Adjust the temperatures
Knowing the different functions in an instant pot is not enough. You must determine the right temperature based on the recipe that you are making. You may find some foods that require the same cooking function but different temperatures. For instance, browning your meat may require a higher temperature compared to frying. Some dishes may require lower temperatures at the start and higher towards the end, and the opposite is also true. Take advantage of the timer to set the limits and ensure that your foods cook at the right temperatures. Most recipes will highlight the right temperatures.
Add flavors to your meals
Water is not enough to give your meals that unique flavor. You need to add sauce or flavoring liquid that adds flavor, appeal, moistness, and texture to your meal. Sauces are also known to add complementary or distinct flavors to a meal.
There are different types of liquids you can use on your meal. Thin liquids such as beer, broth, wine, citrus juice are simple to use on your pressure cooker. You can add thick liquids and ensure that you have water as they can’t provide steam on their own.
Learn how to prepare dairy products
Most instant pots will come with yogurt-making function. However, most people do not understand how to make the best out of this function. A pressure cooker is not that good when it comes to preparing cheesy sauces and creams. Milk seems to scald fast while cheese can get watery. Cheese sauce can sputter when you pressure cook and even escape through the vent during pressure release. To avoid this occurrence, always ensure that you add the dairy ingredients after pressure cooking is over. Such an approach also prevents making a mess out of your kitchen if the dairy products sputter.
Invest in accessories
You can use a typical instant pot for multiple functions, as you have already seen. However, you need different accessories to make some of these tasks a reality. A pressure cooker releases steam, either manually or automatically. Getting a steam vent pipe allows you to direct the steam to specific areas. A steamer bucket is a crucial accessory for those who want to steam foods or even eggs after hard-boiling. You can get a divided steamer which you can use to prepare different vegetables at a go.
Maintain safety measures
The kitchen is a delicate area that is prone to accidents. The first safety measure is to clean the pot after every use. Do not forget to ensure that the silicone sealing ring (gasket) is always in good shape. The gasket requires replacement every 18-24 months.
Leaving your pressure cooker running when you are away from home, especially when using high pressure, is dangerous. The steam that comes from this pot is not your friend. Open the pot with the opening facing away from your face. Do not forget to check the users’ manual as it has some crucial tips that you can always refer to.
Use it as a steamer
If you are looking forward to preparing anappetizer or steaming your vegetables to healthy levels, your instant pot can serve the purpose. Insert the steamer basket into the instant pot, add a cup of water, and then hit the ‘manual’ button. There are some vegetables, such as broccoli, that need high-pressure cooking. However, most of the other vegetables, such as kales, spinach, and cabbage, will require low pressure. Steaming eggs that you have hard-boiled will make it easy to peel.
Understand its limitations
You may have heard somewhere that you can use an instant pot to prepare different types of meals. However, that does not mean that it is the answer to all your cooking problems. An instant pot is not the best appliance if you want to prepare fried foods. This appliance is not what you should use if you want to deep-fry chicken or any other meal.
However, there are tens of chicken recipes such aschicken biryani that you can prepare in an instant pot. Learn some of the foods that may require some readjustments to work in a pressure cooker.