Well built and safe pressure cooker
Aug 27, 2010 (Updated Aug 30, 2010)
Review by sachacrompton
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Cooks in a fraction of the time, saves electricity, very safely built.
Cons:Could have used a 1500 watt heating element instead of 1000 watts for faster preheating.
The Bottom Line: If you're looking for a pressure cooker I would highly recommend this one, it has many advantages over one you use on the stovetop and is far safer.
I had seen this pressure cooker at the store a few months ago but didn't think it would be too useful. Recently I tried making a chickpea curry again and I can never get the chickpeas to get tender like store bought or indian restaurant chickpea curries. The last chickpea recipe I found said to do it in a pressure cooker which reminded me of the Cuisinart electric one I had seen. After reading more about it I decided not to get it since it uses a non stick pan which I assumed was made with toxic teflon which is proven to cause many severe health problems. I asked Cuisinart if a non teflon pan was available for it but they told me the pan uses the new natural ceramic non stick surface so I went to the mall and only one store had it and they only had the display model left. They offered to sell it to me at a very, very good discount so I accepted the offer.
Recommend this product?
The main benefits of pressure cooking are:
-Much faster cooking time, about 5 times faster for most items
-Uses a fraction of the energy due to the fast cook time saving you a lot on electricity
-Less nutrition is lost compared to other cooking methods
I had read there is a learning curve to pressure cooking and I could see that after my first use. I wanted to make a red lentil soup I've often made which is normally cooked 20 minutes. Since this cooks much faster I figured 15 minutes will be ok, well after 15 minutes it looked like it had been cooked for 5 hours and ran through a blender, there were no lentils left, it had turned into a smooth puree. Then from looking at the manual I noticed most things cook 5 times faster, for example 10 minutes for brown rice instead of 50, 5 minutes for potatoes instead of 30, etc. So 5 minutes would have been more than enough for the soup. I then tried a chickpea curry following the cooking times for unsoaked chickpeas and it was the first I made where the chickpeas were tender, plus I didn't have to do the 8 hour soak like I did before.
To get more to the pressure cooker itself now, it is very well and safely made, the lid physically locks when under pressure so it's impossible to open it under pressure.
Sensors also monitor and maintain the temperature and pressure so they stay just right.
The pressure cooker has 6 modes:
-Low pressure (for low pressure cooking)
-High pressure (for high pressure cooking)
-Browning (high heat)
-Saute (medium heat)
-Simmer (low heat)
These modes all have a preset temperature which the machine will automatically maintain so there's no need to increase/lower the heat manually like when cooking on the stovetop. The temperature is maintained to the preset, so if it's at the set temperature and you add something cold then it will quickly start heating on full power until it's back to the preset temperature and then alternate between on and off to maintain it. All non pressure settings are to use without any pressure with the lid removed. This machine allows you to do nearly anything you would make in a pot or pan on the stovetop.
To use it simply press the menu button until the mode you want has been selected, if you chose a pressure mode you also need to set the time by pressing the time button to increase the time shown, then simply press start.
In pressure modes it will take a few minutes for the pressure to start building, the red "floater" in the handle will raise after a few minutes which indicates it is under pressure and also locks the lid. Shortly after the timer will start counting down once the set pressure is reached. Once the timer expires the machine sounds an alarm and automatically switches to keep warm mode. Then depending on the recipe you can do a quick pressure release by turning the pressure valve on the lid to "release" using a long ustensil because hot steam will start escaping from the valve, or wait for the pressure to fall naturally, in either case you will see the red "floater" fall back down once the pressure is released which also unlocks the lid.
Since buying it I've found lots of recipes I never would have imagined doing in a pressure cooker like cakes.
My only complaint would be that the heating element is only 1000 watts, a 1500 watt element would have made it able to preheat much faster especially when large amounts of water or other liquids are used. To compensate for this I use my Breville single serve coffee brewer and choose the 8oz brew size which gives exactly 1 cup of hot water so I don't need to use a measuring cup to measure water for recipes.
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