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Old 10-06-2007, 08:32 PM   #1
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Question ISO: Pressure Cooking Help

Everything I cook in the pressure cooker seems to turn to mush. Here are some problems I've had, anyone have any suggestions?

White Rice: I usually put 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. The first time I made it, all of the liquid absorbed, but it was basically a ball of mush. I cooked it on high pressure for about 6 minutes. This time, I tried rinsing the rice until the water ran clean and then pressure cooked it in 2 cups of water and 1 tsp. of oil for 3 minutes. The rice was cooked, but there was left over liquid.

Lentils: I made split red lentils and used 1/2 c. lentils to 1 c. water. I pressure cooked it on high for 9 minutes (per the instructions in the book that came with the pressure cooker), they basically disintegrated. I later read that the cooking time I used was too long, maybe 4-6 minutes would have been better??

Also, the book says that the cooking time starts when steam starts coming out. That seems to be about 3-4 minutes or so after I turn on the heat. Does that sound right?

Any help or experience on this one is appreciated!!




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Old 10-06-2007, 09:00 PM   #2
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Thanks for starting the topic Heathy Foodie. I'm afraid I a newbie on the PC but I'll be watching this post for any advice!

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Old 10-06-2007, 10:11 PM   #3
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A pressure cooker is not the answer to everything ... especially small quantities of things like you noted.

1 cup of washed rice would probably only need about 1.5 cups water - and would cook in a covered saucepan on the stovetop in about 20 minutes.

1/2 cup split red lentils will cook in about 10 minutes in a covered saucepan on the stovetop.

A pressure cooker can be a time saver for some things - but a waste of time and more likely to fail for others .... regardless of what the "cookbook" that came with your pressure cooker says.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:25 AM   #4
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Iím going to second what Mike said! For little things like rice and lentils, the PC isnít the tool of choice. These are easily done with conventional pots on the stove. I only use my PC for thinks like large roasts that require braising in order to make them tender. Itís also good to quickly cook other meats. Iíve used it to quickly cook chicken for shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches.

Once, I tried to cook whole potatoes with the skin on, and the nutrients from the skin where pushed into the meat of the potato turning the entire flesh brown like leather. They were very mushy, sticky, and starchy. Not useable at all, so donít try that!
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Old 10-07-2007, 06:41 PM   #5
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thanks for the responses guys. I'm looking for some tips on using the pressure cooker. It's not that I'm just cooking rice. Or just cooking lentils. But in a dish that requires several ingredients with long cooking times, 20 minutes times 3 ends up being a long time. Any savings in cooking time is useful.

I'd like to hear more about the water to rice ratio. I've always used 2 to 1 for white rice and that's what the bag says - is it different for pressure cookers?

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Old 10-07-2007, 07:34 PM   #6
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I love my PC and Lorna Sass' books are my bibles. You can't beat a PC for corned beef; the potatoes cook in about 4 minutes and the cabbage is cooked w/o any pressure for about 10 min. Short ribs are great. You can make the most wonderful stocks and broths in no time at all. Rice is probably not the best stuff to PC unless its extra long grain or basmati; other grains like barley are great in the PC; lentils are just too tender and quick. Any beans on the other hand are great in your PC. I hate the taste of canned beans but dried and cooked in the PC they're quick and tasty.

Lorna Sass wrote Pressure Perfect and The Pressured Cook, both excellent.
Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all. Oregon native transplanted to Chicago....
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Old 10-20-2007, 01:20 AM   #7
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Actually, nothing could be better than a pressure cooker for cooking grains and legumes. One of the best ways to prepare plain long grain white rice is my PIP (Pan In Pot) method, where the rice cooks in an insert pan within the cooker.

Whether to rinse the rice or not depends on the desired outcome and/or personal preference. Rinsing removes much of the starchy coat so the rice grains will stay separated and not be as likely to stick together.

Timing is quite specific when pressure cooking different kinds of rice, but here's my foolproof method for fluffy long grain white rice:

If desired, rinse the rice until water runs clear. Add 1 cup water to the pressure cooker and position the steaming rack on the bottom. Put 1 cup long grain white rice and 1 3/4 cups water in a small metal bowl that fits loosely inside the cooker. Lock the lid in place and bring to 15psi, reduce the heat to the lowest setting that will just maintain that pressure. This is the point you begin timing. Cook exactly 4 minutes. Remove from heat and use the natural release method to depressurize the cooker. Use an oven mitt to remove the bowl and fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

Lentils also have different cooking times depending on the variety:
green or brown = 8 minutes
red or yellow = 4 minutes
Use the natural release method to depressurize the cooker.

Hope this helps you get better results.

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