If you cook Indian food often, then chances are you’re already familiar with using a pressure cooker. If you haven’t switched from a stovetop pressure cooker to an electric pressure cooker like an Instant Pot yet, then you are missing out – big time.
The electric pressure cooker is a godsend, especially when it comes to Indian cooking. It used to take me hours to cook authentic Indian food, but now I can create almost any Indian dish in my Instant Pot in less time and with less effort.
In my cookbook, Indian Food Under Pressure, I wrote a section about why I love cooking Indian food with my electric pressure cooker. I figured I’d share that section here for all of you. If you’ve been wondering whether you need an Instant Pot or another electric pressure cooker then hopefully this blog post will help answer that question for you.
I get asked often about which Instant Pot model I use – I have two different models but the Ultra is easily my favorite.
5 Reasons Why I love Cooking (Indian) Food with an Electric Pressure Cooker:
I have been using an electric pressure cooker for several years now, but it wasn’t until I became a mother that this appliance became my go-to cooking device. I have been able to adapt so many Indian recipes to be one-pot friendly, making the recipes much more approachable. I use my pressure cooker daily, sometimes multiple times a day, and when it comes to Indian cooking this is pretty much the only appliance I use these days.
1. No Need to Babysit: When you cook your meal on the stovetop, be it in a regular pot or a traditional pressure cooker, you need to heat it over a burner and watch it closely. However, with an electric pressure cooker, you just plug it in, press a button and let it do the rest.
2. Traps Aroma and Flavor: I’ll be honest, by “aroma,” I mean “smell.” I love Indian food, but those of us who cook it often know that the scent of ginger, garlic, onion and spices can seep into everything around the kitchen. While I don’t mind the smell of onion and garlic, I don’t necessarily want my clothes, jackets and everything on the first floor to smell. In my opinion, the pressure cooker does a much better job at containing that smell. I’ve also noticed that the pressure cooker makes food more flavorful; spices seem to infuse better than they do when I’m cooking on the stovetop.
3. One Pot, Less Mess: I love how easy it is to clean an electric pressure cooker! I just put my steel insert into the dishwasher, which is something I can’t do with most of my pots and pans. That said, I do suggest keeping two silicone rings on hand: one for savory recipes and one for sweet recipes. No matter how hard you try to keep your silicone ring clean, the fact is that it will absorb strong flavors.
4. Reliable: Using an electric pressure cooker provides consistent results because there’s less room for human error. I get distracted easily, especially while caring for my baby. When I’m cooking on the stovetop, I have to keep track of time, whereas with an electric pressure cooker that isn’t an issue. Heat evenly distributes and cooks the food perfectly. Each time I make a dish, I can expect it to turn out the same.
5. Good Food Ready Fast*: The reason this comes with an asterisk is because the truth is, it’s not always faster to cook food in a pressure cooker, especially when it comes to quick cooking meats and vegetables. That’s one reason I chose not to include seafood recipes in my cookbook. This appliance takes time to build pressure before the cook time begins and it also takes time to naturally release pressure once the cook time is over. When it comes to cooking legumes or other meat, especially red meat, it is certainly faster to use an electric pressure cooker than to use a regular pot over the stove. You might be wondering if a stovetop pressure cooker is a faster option? While a stovetop pressure cooker is technically slightly faster in terms of cook time, I think that once you take into account the amount of time and effort spent watching over it, counting whistles and hand washing the parts, that it’s actually easier and faster to cook food in an electric pressure cooker.