It’s easy to see the appeal of an Instant Pot, a versatile multi-cooker that can cook food at record speeds, but there is definitely a learning curve when it comes to using one. At its core, the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, and if you’re unfamiliar with pressure cooking, there are a few basic things you need to know to avoid some major issues, like scorching your food on the bottom or overflowing. the pot.
Whether you’re new to the kitchen with an instant pot or still adjusting your cooking times and water proportions, you’ve come to the right place. We spoke with experts to learn about the most common mistakes made when using an Instant Pot and how to avoid them. Here’s what you need to know:
Mistake # 1: Adding Too Much Water
Water is essential for cooking with an Instant Pot, because you need steam to create pressure inside the pan and cook food faster. HHowever, too much water can cause problems. “Too much liquid can overflow and spill the contents,” Tracy Fadden, vice president of marketing at Instant marks, told HuffPost. The key? “Follow the ‘PC Max’ fill line inside the inner pot. “
If you’ve accidentally added too much water, you may still be able to save your dish using the Instant Pot’s stir-fry feature. In his next cookbook, “Authentic Indian cuisine with your instant pot“Vasanti Bhadkamkar-Balan explains,” you can remove the lid and press the sauté button, which boils the liquid and reduces it. “A key point to remember is to separate the cooked proteins (meat, beans, etc.) in another bowl using a skimmer before reducing the [liquid], otherwise it can get overcooked in the process, ”she said.
Mistake # 2: Adding too little water
On the other hand, adding too little water will put you at risk of burning your food and get the dreaded “burn” error on your Instant Pot. This message appears when the bottom of the Instant Pot overheats and the heating element turns off. When this happens, you should turn off the pan by pressing cancel, release the built-up pressure by turning the steam release handle to the vent position, then check the bottom of the pan for any burnt pieces before restarting the steaming process. cooking. It takes … well, forever. Not exactly what you expected from your “Instant” Pot.
“Having to restart the cycle definitely affects both the taste and texture of the food,” said Diana Manalang, chef and owner of Little Chef Little Cafe At New York. Since the Instant Pot has built up pressure, your food has already started to cook. She emphasizes the importance of adjusting your cooking time when restarting the cooking process to avoid mushy and overcooked foods.
To avoid having to deal with the burn error in the first place, check your Recipe to make sure you add enough water.
Mistake # 3: forgetting to deglaze the inner pot after jumping
Speaking of preventing the “burn” mistake, it’s essential to scrape food from the bottom of the pan after sautéing and before pressure cooking. “It’s something that happens all the time and I made sure to call it a milestone in my cookbook recipes,” Bhadkamkar-Balan said.
If you get the burn error, follow the steps under Error # 2 above, then scrape and remove any burnt food from the inner pot. If you find a large portion of the pot with burnt food, Bhadkamkar-Balan recommends transferring any food that is not burnt to another container. “Thoroughly clean the inner pot, then return the food to the pot to resume the pressure cooking process,” she said. “Add more liquid as needed, up to a cup, but not too much!” “
To avoid making this mistake, be sure to deglaze the inner pot after sautéing if there is food stuck to the bottom, or the bottom of the pot looks lightly browned or burnt. To do this, “Add a little liquid (about 1/4 cup of water, broth or mashed or diced tomatoes with their juice) and scrape the pieces of food stuck to the bottom of the inner pot using of a wooden spoon “, Bhadkamkar -Said Balan.
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Mistake # 4: ignoring the total cooking time
Even if your recipe tells you that something only takes a few minutes to cook, keep in mind that it takes time for the Instant Pot to build up the pressure to start the cooking process, plus the extra time to cook. relieve pressure after cooking if your recipe requires natural release.
Take dried beans, for example. Manalang told HuffPost that it takes about 10 minutes for the pressure to build, 30 minutes to cook dry beans that haven’t been soaked, plus 15 to 20 minutes for natural release. Quick-release beans are not advisable because they “lead to a huge mess as they release liquids containing solid food,” she said.
To avoid the temptation of quick release foods which should be allowed to naturally depressurize which in addition to creating a mess can also lead to undercooked foods – be sure to factor in the time it takes for your Instant Pot to pressurize and depressurize in your dinner plan.
Mistake # 5: cutting meat into small pieces
The Instant Pot is ideal for cooking tough cuts of meat like the brisket, as the high pressure tenderizes the meat in a fraction of the time. However, if you cut the meat into pieces that are too small, you’ll end up with something like ground beef or chicken rather than tender pieces, notes Katsuji Tanabe, executive chef of A’Verde Cocina and Tequila Library in Cary, NC. North. . To prevent this from happening, he recommends cutting the meat into 2-inch pieces. You can go bigger, but not smaller.