Pressure cookers are definitely handy with cooking ingredients which are hard to cook like beans, chickpeas and meat. They reduce the cooking time significantly but can also have a learning curve to using them and also an investment that not everyone wants to make for their kitchen.
If you cook beans and legumes often then I would definitely suggest looking into buying a pressure cooker. This post has more details on comparing aluminum and steel pressure cookers if you want to invest in one.
But meanwhile you can use these tips to make cooking easier without one.
- 1. Soak the ingredients
- 2. Quick Soak in hot water
- 3. Baking soda
- 4. Cook Covered
- 5. Add hot water when cooking
- 6. Use a slow cooker
- 7. Use the microwave
- 8. Cook in a Dutch oven
- 9. Use canned beans, chickpeas and lentils instead of the dried ones
- 10. Keep boiling
- Can you boil instead of using a pressure cooker?
- Related Posts
1. Soak the ingredients
Pressure cooking makes the cooking process faster but we can also achieve it by soaking the ingredients in water. The longer you soak them the better it is. The soaking makes beans/lentils softer and makes cooking much quicker.
If cooking dal you can soak it for 8-10 hours, kidney beans and chickpeas can be soaked for up to 20 hours to save cooking time.
2. Quick Soak in hot water
It’s not always possible to plan your cooking a day or 2 in advance to ensure ingredients are soaked long enough. When in a pinch you can do a quick 2 hour soak to achieve the same results.
A 2 hr. quick soak is when you soak the beans, lentils or chickpeas in boiling hot water. You leave them in the hot water for around hours and make sure you cover the container . This ensures that heat does not escape and the water remains hot for a long duration.
It will work even better if you use a thermos container that loses minimal heat.
3. Baking soda
Hard water stops the lentils, beans, chickpeas etc. from softening and no matter how much you cook and for how long there isn’t much difference.
This can be resolved by adding a pinch of baking soda into the pan while cooking. Make sure that you do not add more than that because it can spoil the entire dish and make it taste soapy.
4. Cook Covered
When cooking, cover the pan, this will stop the heat as well as moisture from escaping. The trapped heat and moisture will make the cooking process faster. If you do not cook the food covered then all the water will evaporate and you will have to keep adding more water.
5. Add hot water when cooking
While cooking beans, chickpea etc we need to add water. If you add cold or room temperature water then it will take time to heat up and then cook food.
You can speed up this process by adding boiling water to the cooking pan. You can use an electric kettle to boil the water or you can also boil the water separately in another pan.
6. Use a slow cooker
You can cook these ingredients in a slow cooker. If cooking on a high setting then it would take 3-4 hours for the beans to cook and 7-8 hours on low setting.
7. Use the microwave
The microwave is comparatively faster alternative and can cook the food in slightly more time as a pressure cooker. You can keep the ingredients in a microwave safe container with the same quantity of water as you use for pressure cooking.
8. Cook in a Dutch oven
You can also cook the beans in an oven by using a Dutch oven. It will take 1.15 hours for 1 pounds of beans to be cooked in a Dutch oven at 325 degree Fahrenheit. This time and temperature is for dry beans and can be speeded by soaking the beans overnight.
9. Use canned beans, chickpeas and lentils instead of the dried ones
Pressure cooking is very handy for cooking items like beans, chickpeas and other dry beans. We can completely eliminate the need for a pressure cooker by using these items precooked and canned. When using canned beans or chickpeas they can be cooked in a regular pan.
10. Keep boiling
You can keep boiling the dry beans or hard to cook ingredients in hot water. It will take much longer and more water to cook but constant boiling will cook them all the way through.
If it takes beans 30 mins to be pressure cooked, it will take them more than 1.5 hrs. to be well cooked.
Can you boil instead of using a pressure cooker?
Yes, you can cook the dry beans or other foods completely by boiling them in hot water. The rule of thumb is that it takes 3-4 times more water, time and energy to cook the food by boiling as compared to pressure cooking it.