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DavyJonesLocker

Pressure cooker 电压力锅

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DavyJonesLocker

I have seen a few nice recipes (e.g 家常红烧牛肉炖土豆) whereby you need a pressure cooker (电压力锅) . I have never used one however looking online they don't seem expensive .

Anyone use one to cook Chinese food? Will a rice cooker suffice for 顿 styled dishes or do you need the increased pressure ?

 

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abcdefg

I use mine a lot, once or twice a week. It has been a very good investment. 

 

Suggest getting a free-standing, electric pressure cooker 电压力锅 so as to be able to cook some ingredients in it, usually the meat, while having the burners of your stovetop free to carry out other tasks. An old-fashioned, non-electric, pressure cooker ties up one of your burners.  

 

A rice cooker won't do the same job. Interestingly, however, most pressure cookers also have a setting to enable you to use them to make rice. 

 

Here are a couple of pressure-cooker beef recipes I like to make:

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/57290-yunnan-top-shelf-beef-stew-牛肉炖山药/?tab=comments#comment-444476

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/57044-yunnan-flavors-beef-with-mint-薄荷牛肉米线/ 

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DavyJonesLocker

Thanks, whats the main advantage? To soften beef etc?

I think I'll get one. I have a rice cooker where I have done chicken curries (Indian style curry)  in the rice cooker but beef didn't really work well. Also you can't cook rice at the same time.

 

Edit: thanks for the recipes @abcdefg! Those look great. OK decision made. Will buy one this morning . Think 300 to 400 kuai range 5L will be OK.  I generally go for Midea or supor as the other kitchen appliances haven't let me down do far. (Unlike the far more expensive Panasonic!)

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abcdefg
1 hour ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

Thanks, whats the main advantage? To soften beef etc?

 

The main advantage is to save time. You can cook a tough piece of meat in 20 or 30 minutes instead of being required to simmer it over low flame for 3 or 4 hours to reach the same level of tenderness.  

 

Rice cooker is fine for things like chicken curry or chicken wings. Better for "gentler" cooking. Rice cooker is not a sealed system.

 

Here's a snapshot of mine. It came with two pots, one non-stick coated and the other ceramic or enamel-coated stainless steel. I use the non-stick pot for rice alone.

 

431396888_IMG_8531-50.thumb.jpg.0b98cf026eff179bb8e01ec5b4d851ae.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stainless steel inner pot is fine for preliminary frying of seasonings and browning of the meat. For example, in the 红烧牛肉 dish you mentioned in your original post, often the beef is first browned with some of the seasonings, then water is added and it is cooked under pressure. You can do that whole process in the stainless steel inner pot of pressure cooker. Just have the lid off when you do the initial frying. Then put it on to cook the meat under pressure.  

 

(Coincidence: I'm planning to make this today or tomorrow. Maybe we can compare notes afterwards.) 

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DavyJonesLocker

Excellent, great information. Yes I noticed many coming with two pots. Glad you mentioned that . Thats what I'll opt for. 👍

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abcdefg

5 liters is a good size for a small family -- I generally cook for one or two. 6 or 8 liters is too big. And 4 liters is too small. 

 

One of the things I like to do with my pressure cooker is make stock 高汤 out of bones (pork, beef, chicken and duck) that I've saved up over time in the freezer. 4 liters is too small for that project. 

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DavyJonesLocker
16 minutes ago, abcdefg said:

5 liters is a good size for a small family -- I generally cook for one or two. 6 or 8 liters is too big. And 4 liters is too small. 

 

It's almost always just for 2 people (decent appetite). However it's nice to have a spare capacity for the odd time I have someone over. 5L it is then

 

Browsing online and the choices are endless , can't really see much difference though. I'll just opt for the stock standard. Don't want to go too cheap though as I'd made that mistake before and they end up not being fit for purposes. Really glad I paid extra for the wok last year. It's used everyday and still perfect! 

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Bibu

rice, soup and congee, my cooker .

IMG_20190713_094812.jpg

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somethingfunny

Best ribs are made using pressure cookers.  The process has some special effect on the connective tissue between the bone and the meat meaning it just falls away and melts in your mouth.  Cook the ribs in the pressure cooker and then finish on the barbecue with some barbecue sauce.  Seriously, can't be beaten.

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DavyJonesLocker

Well I ordered one from JingDong after reading replies today , and came in the afternoon! Quick. Tried a 土豆红烧牛肉。 Was a bit complicated but actually came out excellent! Very fragrant . I never have any idea how much to add of the 调料 as recipes often don't state quantity but it was just fine. The  陈皮 was very expensive but I was curious about it.

You are all 100% right. The beef was very tender and I know that was a tough old bit I used!

 

Should have bought the pressure cooker  years ago . 

 

 

 

IMG_20190713_215732.jpg

IMG_20190713_193550.jpg

IMG_20190713_215555.jpg

IMG_20190713_191739.jpg

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abcdefg
10 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

The  陈皮 was very expensive but I was curious about it.

 

I bought some at a big tea expo last year. Turned out to be well worthwhile. 

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/57348-kunming-tea-industry-expo-2018/?tab=comments#comment-444897 

 

It's pictured and discussed about half-way down the page. 

 

This year I've started using it 陈皮 combined with chrysanthemum 菊花 as a beverage. Supposed to be good when you are overheated internally 上火, since both ingredients have "cooling" properties. 

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DavyJonesLocker

Thanks, Chinese beverages are something I haven't ever looked into before . 

 

I seem to be running out of space in my kitchen with all the new gadgets and ingredients!

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Balthazar
On 7/13/2019 at 2:18 AM, abcdefg said:

Suggest getting a free-standing, electric pressure cooker 电压力锅 so as to be able to cook some ingredients in it, usually the meat, while having the burners of your stovetop free to carry out other tasks. An old-fashioned, non-electric, pressure cooker ties up one of your burners.

 

The main advantage of the electric ones are, as you say, that they leave you with another free burner. Also, you could (although I wouldn't advise it) leave your apartment with the thing on, as it will automatically shutdown when the program is finished.

 

The advantages of the stove top ones, imo, are that they usually come in stainless steel (18-8/18-10) which makes them really easy to clean thoroughly and there is no need to worry about the coating (which, depending on brand quality, may come off or leach into the food over time). Stove top pressure cookers also have a higher max working pressure (psi), it's easy (if you buy from a big brand like WMF) to find replacement parts (the silicone ring and vent will need to be replaced after years of usage), and, like most cookware made of quality steel, they'll last for a couple of generation (provided that the replacement parts are available that long, heh). Also, it's portable and can be used on any source of heat (including campfires, for those who like to go camping).

 

As might be deduced from the paragraph above, I am a happy owner of a stop top pressure cooker. We have a model from Zwilling, and absolutely love the thing, it's probably been used 2-3 times per weeks every week (save for when we're not at home) for the last two years. Nothing beats cooking up a "Sunday dish" in 30-45 minutes, preparation and cooling down included. It excels at everything from 红烧肉 to Coq au vin to Pinnekjøtt (beats my mom's traditionally cooked Pinnekjøtt each time, which is no small feat when factoring in the nostalgic benefit of the latter). I was a skeptic when my wife insisted we should get one. Now I am a proselytizer.

 

However, if I lived in China and only had two burners in my kitchen, I might have considered an electric model. Although we mostly use our pressure cooker to cook a bunch of ingredients at the same time (sometimes a full dish), so having a single burner left over would normally be enough for our purposes...

 

My mother in law has an electric (国产) model, and it's been working great for a good year now.

 

PS: One thing to remember, if you like to cook with wines and am planning to do so with your pressure cooker, is that the whole "alcohol evaporates when heated" thing is largely a myth (or rather: that it does so instantaneously is). I only realized this after making Coq au vin in our pressure cooker some weeks ago. Used almost a full bottle of red wine, and we definitely felt it strongly after consuming the dish (not placebo, as we expected not to feel anything from it, believing that the high pressure and heat would remove 99% of the alcohol contents in mere seconds/minutes). I mention this in relation to pressure cookers because they drastically reduce cooking time. Informative Stack Exchange thread for those interested.

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abcdefg
32 minutes ago, Balthazar said:

...it's probably been used 2-3 times per weeks every week (save for when we're not at home) for the last two years. Nothing beats cooking up a "Sunday dish" in 30-45 minutes, preparation and cooling down included. It excels at everything from 红烧肉 to Coq au vin to Pinnekjøtt (beats my mom's traditionally cooked Pinnekjøtt each time, which is no small feat when factoring in the nostalgic benefit of the latter). I was a skeptic when my wife insisted we should get one. Now I am a proselytizer.

 

Like you, I was initially a skeptic. But became won over under the influence of one of my Chinese friends. BTW,  Pinnekjøtt looks very interesting and also very Norwegian. I'd like to try it some time! 

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DavyJonesLocker

 My mother a way back yet to use the traditional one however the electric ones seem so convenient and very reasonably price. My hot pot in. restaurant the other day cost more! 

I am usually sceptical of  prebuilt settings in electrical appliances, Ie beef,lamb etc but yesterday it timed it perfect. Most tender beef I had in a long long time when cooking at home

 

very happy with it. More new dishes to try

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Balthazar

 

25 minutes ago, abcdefg said:

Pinnekjøtt looks very interesting and also very Norwegian. I'd like to try it some time! 

 

It's really delicious, although it might be hard to tell from the pictures. Fårikål (literally "mutton in cabbage") is another extremely pressure cooker friendly and tasty, but ugly looking, Norwegian lamb dish that is worth trying. (As I'm becoming increasingly sinicized in my food culture, I've started adding 花椒 to the dish.)

 

5 minutes ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

however the electric ones seem so convenient and very reasonably price

 

They definitely are. I was impressed by the program settings of my mother in law's electrical cooker, too. (Speaking of price, she got hers for free from her bank, as a token of appreciation for her year's of loyalty. Same brand as the one you bought. As mentioned, it's held up great for 1+ years with frequent usage.)

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abcdefg
2 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

I am usually sceptical of  prebuilt settings in electrical appliances, Ie beef,lamb etc but yesterday it timed it perfect. Most tender beef I had in a long long time when cooking at home

 

Davy, and @Balthazar -- I always have to struggle with beef here in China to get it tender, even when I use my pressure cooker. Did you do anything else to it besides just putting it in and selecting the program?

 

For example, did you marinate it before cooking, or pound it with a meat mallet? Did you blanch it with ginger and toss out that water before starting the actual pressure cycle? Did you brown it first before adding liquids and fastening down the lid? I've tried all those tricks at various times. 

 

I guess it could just be that I'm buying the wrong cut of beef. I usually go for 牛腩。(Not shoulder, rump or leg.) Costs between 40 and 50 Yuan per kilogram. The butcher usually tosses in a piece of marrow bone. (That's what's in the top of the frame, below left.) I trim away thick pieces of scrap fat (below right.) 

 

32123713_IMG_6602-925px.thumb.jpg.123de30fdfcad27cd55beb566eb24b4e.jpg     1970088927_IMG_6604-925px.thumb.jpg.e20e013f23ba5400da376b8b74e29a8b.jpg

 

 

Diagram on the right shows 牛腩 as possibly being from several different locations. In other words there are different grades of 牛腩。

 

 

1319456950_(2)-80.thumb.jpg.377cadcea9560d51732f126572950258.jpg

   1153800719_--902.thumb.jpg.e247caf11576cfc5a1c2a30e2a8b546d.jpg

 

 

 

Added: A little more digging around shows brisket to be defined differently in the US and in Britain. (Wikipedia.)

 

1067737713_usbrisket.thumb.PNG.b813d619d7e174a920c9f4dfd3410e09.PNG   913713443_Britishbrisket.thumb.PNG.38e9ef8c45d007daf56929b52f2c566b.PNG     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does that really matter? Whew! (Ignorance might be bliss.) 

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Balthazar
3 hours ago, abcdefg said:

I always have to struggle with beef here in China to get it tender, even when I use my pressure cooker. Did you do anything else to it besides just putting it in and selecting the program

 

Hmm, we don't cook beef in our pressure cooker all that often (beef is really expensive here), and when we do it's mostly "chuck" pieces. We don't do any pounding or preparing of the meat, except cutting it to pieces of a suitable size. We usually brown the meat first, then add spring onion, ginger, garlic etc., then add soy sauce/vinegar/rock sugar/bean sauce/chili sauce, etc and then in the end add water and start the pressure process. That's another benefit of stove top pressure cookers, everything can be done in the same pan...

I usually select the highest level pressure and cook in accordance with the suggested times given by the overview in the instruction book that came with the cooker. It's worked really well.

 

Could be the cut of meat, though, I don't have much experience with "flank" beef.

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imron
6 hours ago, Balthazar said:

is that the whole "alcohol evaporates when heated" thing is largely a myth (or rather: that it does so instantaneously is).

Evaporation occurs, but with a pressure cooker once the alcohol vaporizes where does it disperse to?

 

There's nowhere to go, so it stays in the pot and gets absorbed by the ingredients.

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Balthazar

That's probably correct. I would have thought it was just patiently waiting beneath the pressure cooker's lid, and that it would immediately escape once the lid was opened. My body reaction to the food told me that was wrong :D. Or at least that much less of it escaped than I had guessed.

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