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food is cooked faster in a pressure cooker

Why Does a Pressure Cooker Cook Food Faster?

Pressure cookers have become increasingly popular in home kitchens due to their ability to decrease cooking times.

Foods that traditionally take hours to prepare on the stove or in the oven can be cooked in a fraction of the time using pressure cooking.

In this post, we’ll explore how pressure cookers can cook food twice as fast owing to their pressurized environment.

What Is A Pressure Cooker And How Does It Work?  

A pressure cooker is a tightly sealed pot that does not allow steam to escape when heated. As the liquid inside forms steam, pressure builds up inside the pot.

This raises the boiling point of the water above 100°C. The trapped steam and high pressure cook food faster. Electric pressure cookers allow setting a timer so food is ready when needed.

The higher temperature and moisture preserve nutrients and flavors. This makes tough meats and fibrous foods tender quickly.

Benefits Of Faster Cooking With A Pressure Cooker

Cooking in a sealed pressurized vessel has many benefits compared to regular open pots:

  • Saves cooking time – Food can be prepared in 70% less time thanks to the higher temperature.
  • Saves energy – Less boiling time means less energy used for cooking.
  • Retains nutrients – Vitamins and minerals are preserved instead of leaching out.
  • Intensifies flavor – Food absorbs spices and seasonings for more flavor.
  • Tenderizes meat and beans – Hard veggies and grains become soft and palatable faster. 
  • Versatile – Can be used to cook meat, veggies, grains, curries, desserts etc.

How Does Pressure Create Faster Cooking?

Two factors that enable pressure cookers to reduce cooking time significantly:

1. Higher boiling point

The pressurized environment allows water to boil at above 100°C which is the standard boiling point. At higher temperatures, food cooks much quicker.

2. Trapped moisture

The tightly sealed lid traps steam and moisture. This moisture helps food cook evenly and deeply. The added humidity tenderizes meat, lentils and rice.

Common Food and Cooking Time

Here are approximate cooking times for everyday foods in a pressure cooker compared to a stove-top:

– Chickpeas – Cook for 12 mins instead of 1 hour on the stove

– Rice – Takes 6 mins instead of 15 mins to cook

– Chicken/mutton – Ready in 15 mins instead of 45 mins 

– Lentils – Cook for 8 mins rather than 40+ mins in a pot

– Potatoes – Cook in just 7 mins instead of typical 20+ mins

Tips For Faster Cooking In A Pressure Cooker

Follow these tips to reduce cooking times using a pressure cooker:

– Cut food into smaller pieces to reduce cooking time.

– Use the minimum amount of water needed.

– Start pressure cooking on high heat then lower once pressure builds. 

– Release pressure quickly for veggies and naturally for meats.

– Use delayed start function on electric cookers to time meals.

– Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fill in the levels and timing.

– Adjust cooking length based on quantity, size and type of ingredients.

Sample Recipes and Cooking Times

To see the dramatic reduction in cook times, here are some sample recipes with pressure cooker directions:

Chicken Biryani:

– Ingredients – chicken, rice, spices 

– Stovetop time – 45 mins

– Pressure cooker time – 12-15 mins

Chana Masala:

– Ingredients – chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, spices

– Stovetop time – 1 hour

– Pressure cooker time – 15 mins

Veggie Biryani:

– Ingredients – rice, mixed veggies, spices

– Stovetop time – 25 mins

– Pressure cooker time – 6 mins

Conclusion

Pressure cookers can reduce cooking time by up to 70% by quickly tenderizing meats, grains and beans using pressurized steam. This makes food ready faster while retaining more nutrients.

Learning the ideal cooking times and following recipes will help you prepare dishes quicker. With a pressure cooker’s accelerated cooking power, you can save time and energy in the kitchen!

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