Typically, the pressure cooker can be started from cold. That is, all ingredients, including the liquid, are cold. The pressure cooking starts when sufficient air expansion from hot steam raises the internal pressure of the pot to make the steam regulator release pressure, normally, 10 lbs psi. This varies with the pressure cooker. Some have different ranges that can be set, 5, 10, and 15 lbs. Timing starts when the pressure cooker has come up to its operating presssure. Heat is reduced to keep the pc at that pressure. No more is going to make a difference, except to boil away the liquid faster. This, depending on the foods being cooked, can lead to burnt food.
So, use high heat to quickly bring the pc up to pressure, then reduce heat to the minimum to maintain that pressure. Start timing the food when the operating pressure has been reached.
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