Facing my Fears with the Instant Pot
When I was a kid my mom had to go on vacation to India and we were left with our dad. He decided to cook black eyed peas in the pressure cooker. All I remember hearing was a huge “POP” and running towards the kitchen. My poor dad had never used a pressure cooker and didn’t know he had to wait till the pressure released to open the lid. So he had forced the lid open and send the black eyed peas to their lonely demise on our kitchen ceiling. I think we saw those peas staring at us for many years to come from their unmarked graves up in the ceiling. Anywho, that incident set a deep fear in my heart of the pressure cooker.
So when I did my wedding registry, I thought, I should register for one because it seemed so useful. I have had this thing in my house for more than 5 years and used it maybe twice? I am so scared of the thing. My mom tried to walk me through it. Something about when it whistles at you, buy it dinner? So it just sat there and took up space.
Then came this fad about the Instant Pot started and so many were saying how it changed their life in an instant (Ha! Ha!). So I hinted to my husband and finally this year we saw it go on sale during black Friday at Best Buy. It usually retails for around 160$ but I got it for 99$. Woot! Woot!They had the 6 quart on sale for 70$ but I would rather have a bigger one in case I needed to host a larger gathering.
Initial Thoughts on the Instant Pot
The Instant Pot has a lot of buttons and it also comes with an instruction manual, so read it! You definitely don’t want to mess around with this unless you have an understanding of how it works. It says to do a water test before you use the Instant Pot and it tells you how to go about it.
The Instant Pot acts as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker and yogurt maker. I wouldn’t rush to get rid of all the other appliances though, except that pressure cooker, I am selling it! I have used the pressure cooker option twice and cooked rice in it as well. It also comes with the option to saute, this allows you to brown your meats and do all the steps to develop flavor.
In the picture above you will see a little knob next to a red button, this needs to be set to “sealing” for the pressure to build up in the pot. Once the pressure has build up the little red button will pop up. When the dish is done cooking then you can leave it to naturally release pressure slowly or turn the knob to “venting” and release the pressure. Be extremely careful when you do this and keep your hands and face away from the steam.
The picture above shows everything that came with my Instant Pot. The shiny silver pot is where all the ingredients go and make sure you never put food into the actual body of the cooker. There is a recipe book that gives you some basic guidelines on how to time different meals.
When you cook make sure there is at least 1 cup of liquid in there. If you are using any tomato based sauces pour it on top of the other ingredients versus on the bottom. If you don’t, the sauce will burn and the Instant Pot will shut off. Don’t ask me how I know this! When they say liquid they mean water or broth.
There are some preset times to choose from or you can choose to just pressure cook and enter your own times. The saute option also allows you to choose your heat level so you don’t end up standing for half an hour waiting for some onions to brown. I also love the slow cook and delay option which allows me to have meals cook when I am not hovering in the kitchen.
If you are busy and find it hard to have healthy meals at home because of how long the process takes, this is an appliance for you. You can throw everything in it and have a meal in 20 minutes. I think it is a worthwhile investment and so far the food has tasted good and not watered down. Here is a chili I made in the Instant Pot, it tasted great and it was done in 15 minutes.
I would suggest reading up on the Instant Pot and to look up some recipes to see whether it is something you would use. You definitely do not want to buy the Instant Pot and not use it, it is quite heavy and most likely will reside on your countertop permanently. Let me know what you think of your Instant Pot in the comments below!
Here are some recipes – Instant Pot Recipes