It is a safety requirement that you always check that the steam vent / vent tube is clear immediately before closing the lid for pressure cooking.
Cooker is full of pure steam. Food cooks better, faster in pure steam.
Expels all hot air out of the cooker which if present as a mixture with steam, can affect the fusing characteristics of the safety valve and it may not fuse when required at the right time.
Yes - there are three methods to release pressure in the pressure cooker:
"Allow to cool naturally" means to remove the cooker from the heat and leave it until the pressure has dropped to normal and the lid can be opened. This takes from about 10 to 20 minutes. This method is required for soups, legumes, recipes containing leavening agents and custards. Some cooks believe that the texture, tenderness and taste of food, especially meat, are improved by allowing to cool naturally whenever possible.
"Release pressure with slight lifting of pressure regulator" means to lift the pressure regulator slightly with a fork and allow steam to escape so the lid can be opened immediately (in the case of the Futura pressure cooker, press finger-tip control lightly to release steam). This method is required for easily overcooked foods such as delicate vegetables and fish. This method cannot be used when the cooker contains predominantly liquid foods as the food/liquid may come out of the steam vent.
"Release pressure by placing cooker in about 4 inches/10 cm of cold water in a basin or in a sink for 2 minutes". Open when the pressure has fallen. Do not run water over the lid. This method is required when the cooker contains liquid or frothing foods and you wish to open immediately.
The method of releasing pressure is always specified in the recipes in our cookbooks. Changing the method will have a bearing on the pressure cooking time. If you change from immediate opening to cooling naturally, reduce pressure cooking time by 2 to 3 minutes. Similarly, if you change from cooling naturally to immediate opening, increase pressure cooking time by 2 to 3 minutes.
All our pressure cookers – Hawkins, Futura and Miss Mary – are suitable for use on domestic gas and kerosene stoves. Hawkins Ekobase and Futura pressure cookers are suitable for use on electric, ceramic and halogen cooktops as well. In addition, Futura Stainless Steel, Hawkins Stainless Steel and Hawkins Hevibase pressure cookers are suitable for use on induction cooktops as well.
Use a burner/hob to suit the size of the cooker - gas flames should not lick the sides of the cooker. The cooker can be used on wood or coal fires provided it is not in direct contact with hot coals. WARNING: DIRECT CONTACT WITH HOT COALS CAN DAMAGE THE METAL. There should be at least a 1 inch / 2.5 cm gap between the burning coals and the base of the cooker. On improvised fires or commercial burners, limit the heat to the level usually found in domestic stoves. The Hawkins pressure cooker (except the Bigboy) must not be used on an industrial burner.
It is a safety requirement that deep-frying, involving more than ½ cup oil or frying for more than 20 minutes at a time, is not done in the pressure cooker body of an aluminium or anodised aluminium pressure cooker. This is because the high temperatures reached while deep frying can weaken the aluminium to a level which makes the cooker unfit and unsafe for subsequent use as a pressure cooker. You may deep-fry for longer periods in the Hawkins Stainless Steel or Futura Stainless Steel pressure cooker body.
Do not pressure fry in the pressure cooker. It is designed to be operated only with liquid which produces steam.
If the pressure cooker is not cleaned thoroughly after each use, a thin layer of food or grease may remain. When the cooker is heated next, this food/grease becomes "baked-on" and very difficult to remove. Avoid "baked-on" fat or gravy stains; wipe off any fat or gravy on the cooker base before placing on hot stove. Ensure stove surface in contact with pressure cooker is free of fat drippings.
If you do get "baked-on" stains on the base, tackle them while they are still fresh. Soak in hot water. Make a thick paste of a chlorine-based kitchen cleanser and apply it to the surface. Wait 5 to 10 minutes, then scour with steel wool using a circular motion. Wash and wipe dry.
If food is stuck to the cooker, remove with a plastic scrubber and a non-abrasive cleanser or an aluminium cleanser. If food is badly stuck or burned: pour into cooker enough water (not above half full) to cover the area of burned food. Close cooker. Bring to full pressure on high heat. Reduce heat and cook 5 minutes. Allow to cool naturally. Open cooker. Wash and wipe dry. Do not use abrasive powders or bleach. For stubborn spots, a fine soap-impregnated steel wool pad may be used sparingly, knowing that the cooker surface may get damaged.
According to our studies it takes an average of 53% less time to cook in a pressure cooker when compared to conventional open pot cooking. The longer an item takes to cook, the greater is the time saved through pressure cooking.
The chart below gives examples of five basic foods of an average Indian home and the time saved when they are cooked in a 5 Litre pressure cooker with maximum recommended quantities:
Some foods will require some oil or water or careful control of heat to prevent sticking. All frying requires the correct oil temperature for good results. Excessive heat may cause sticking and burning of food and wastes fuel. Insufficient heat may also cause sticking.
If sticking occurs while cooking food other than dosa: heat pan for some time before adding oil; add oil and heat briefly; add food. For subsequent batches, food can be added immediately after adding oil. This technique may be used for cooking Alu Tikki, Besan Poora, Spicy Fish Fry etc.
To minimize sticking of dosa: before heating pan, rub 1/4 tsp/1.3 ml vegetable oil using a clean cotton cloth or paper napkin on the inside base of pan. Heat pan on medium-high heat till oil just begins to smoke. Reduce heat to medium. This is the point to pour batter into pan. Heating pan to the correct temperature is critical: if pan is heated beyond the point when oil just begins to smoke, pan will be too hot and batter will be difficult to spread; if pan is not hot enough (before oil just begins to smoke) batter will spread but dosa will stick. For cooking subsequent dosa do not add oil in pan before pouring batter.
If pan is not cleaned thoroughly, a thin layer of food or grease may remain. When the pan is heated next, this food/grease becomes "baked-on" and very difficult to remove. "Baked-on" food and the stains from "baked-on" food may be impossible to remove without damaging the pan.
If you get "baked-on" food/stains, you may try the following methods (knowing that the pan surface may get damaged):
On the Hard Anodised Surface: Make a thick paste of a cleaning powder such as 'Vim' and apply it to the "baked-on" food/stain. Wait 5 to 10 minutes. Scour with steel wool using a circular motion. Wash.
On the Nonstick Surface: Make a thick paste of a cleaning powder such as 'Vim' and apply it to the "baked-on" food/stain. Wait 5 to 10 minutes. Scour with a plastic scrubber using
a circular motion. Wash.