PRESSURE COOKERS EXPLAINEDFebruary 2, 2017
Why choose a pressure cooker?
Far removed from the hissing pressure cookers of old, modern-day versions are safe and simple to use with straightforward locking systems and not a rattling lid in sight. Quick, efficient and up to 90% faster than cooking with a standard pan on the hob, it’s a one-pot phenomenon that cooks all your ingredients at the same time, locking in steam so food retains more flavour and nutrients to produce succulent, healthy meals in no time.
The fastest way to produce traditionally slow-cooked meals such as casseroles, soups and curries, pressure cooking is ideal for anyone with a busy lifestyle who wants to enjoy delicious and nutritious food cooked fast.
How it works
Pressure cooking works by boiling liquid – such as water, wine, stock or broth – inside a sealed cooking pot. The steam trapped inside the pressure cooker increases the pressure and also increases the maximum temperature that the liquid can reach, and in doing so, significantly increases the speed of the cooking process.
Pressure cooked food is full of concentrated flavours because the steam released when ingredients reach a very high temperature is sealed within the cooker, resulting in tender, delicious food. This makes the pressure cooker particularly suitable for cheaper cuts of meat as well as for pulses of all types – dried beans, peas and lentils – which tenderise quickly, even without soaking.
Choosing the right pressure cooker for you
There are several types of pressure cooker: those you use on the hob, free-standing electrical versions or those that go in the microwave. All three types have standard built-in safety features such as special lid locking systems and safety valves to make using them simple and safe.
Choosing the right pressure cooker for you will depend on the size and the features that will suit you best. If you have a large family or like to batch-cook, a pressure cooker with a larger capacity may be better for you.
As a rule, hob-top versions feature at least two steam settings (one for vegetables and one for meat) and in some cases there is also a fish setting. Hob-top versions come in all different sizes, some will include a steamer basket and some may feature a safety valve so you can release steam and add ingredients or just check on your meals’ progress as it cooks.
Our pressure cookers have really raised the bar when it comes to ease of use, versatility, safety and all-round performance. Unlike many other models, these have a one-handed lid-locking system with nothing to line up – simply place the lid on the stainless steel pan, press the button and hey presto, it’s locked! Once the cooker has reached full pressure, an indicator pops up so you can start your timings, and two pressure settings – low and high – cater for all the dishes you can think of.
There’s even a pressure release valve which lets you release steam before removing the lid if you want to add more ingredients or just check on progress. And we love the additional glass lid, which means it can be used like a normal pan on the hob for browning or in the oven as a stockpot.
Electrical versions tend to offer more functionality than hob-top versions. These plug-in appliances will offer a choice of pre-programmed cooking functions as well as delayed timers and keep-warm functions. Sizes and features will vary according to the make and model, but an added advantage of electrical pressure cookers is that some will also offer even faster cooking results.
Made for busy homes, the Pressure King Pro is a super-simple countertop pressure cooker. It uses ‘flavour-lock technology’ to make moist, tender and delicious family meals in minutes – in fact, up to 90% faster than conventional cooking. From creamy risottos and hearty stews, to soups and pasta dishes, cooking for the hungry appetites around your family table will become incredibly easy. Just press one button on the Pressure King Pro’s simple control panel and, using superheated steam, it will produce a speedy, healthy, nutritious meal while retaining important vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are often lost in other cooking methods.
Microwave pressure cookers are designed to be even speedier than a standard hob-top pressure cooker.
When you get home from work tired and hungry, the convenience of popping something in the microwave can be appealing but the resulting meal can be a bit of a let-down… Enabling you to cook ‘proper’ food quickly and healthily, our Microwave Pressure Cooker combines the convenience of microwave cooking with the speed and nutrient-retaining efficiency of pressure cooking to produce deliciously nutritious meals with much less hassle.
With a steamer tray included, there’s no end to the soups, main meals, side dishes and desserts you can produce; including this Lemon and Basil Chicken.
Take a look at our full range of pressure cookers.
Get the most out of your pressure cooker with our comprehensive book on cooking delicious food quickly. Featuring 50 recipes for all occasions with helpful hints and tips.
To get you started here’s a delicious recipe for Hot-Peppered Lamb Curry, made using our Lakeland 5.5L Pressure Cooker.
Suitable to freeze.
- 2 fresh long green chillies
- 2 tablespoons ghee (the Indian version of clarified butter) or butter
- 600g boned lamb leg, chopped coarsely
- 2 large brown onions (400g), sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4cm piece fresh ginger (20g), grated
- 3 cloves
- 4 green cardamom pods, bruised
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 medium tomatoes (300g), chopped finely
- 70g natural yoghurt
- 125ml water
- 60ml lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
- Finely chop 1 of the chillies; finely shred remaining chilli.
- Heat half the ghee or butter in 5.5 litre pressure cooker; cook lamb, in batches, until browned. Remove from the cooker.
- Heat remaining ghee or butter in the same cooker; cook onion, stirring, about 5 minutes or until browned lightly. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Return lamb to cooker with spices, tomato, chopped chilli, yoghurt and the water; secure lid. Bring cooker to high pressure. Reduce heat to stabilise pressure; cook 25 minutes.
- Release pressure using the quick release method (using tongs to turn the pressure valve on top of the cooker to open the valve and release the steam); remove lid. Stir in juice; season to taste. Serve sprinkled with coriander and shredded chilli and accompanied by steamed white long-grain rice, if liked.
Tip: If you prefer a milder version, reduce the amount of pepper and chilli. You can also serve it with an extra dollop of yoghurt if you like.