Burnt food is hard to clean and quite cumbersome to clean. While in case of pans we can keep an eye on the food and stir it to avoid burning, this is not an option when using a pressure cooker.
As the pressure cooker cooks at high pressure and in vacuum, its not possible to check on the food as it cooks. This is a frequent cause of charring and having burnt pressure cooker bottom.
With my experience of pressure cooking for more than 15 years, here are some tips that I have learnt, tried and tested over time. These should help you avoid burnt pressure cooker bottom and food.
- 1. Leaking pressure cooker
- 2. Not enough liquid
- 3. Overcooking the food
- 4. Food stuck to the pressure cooker base
- 5. Cooking too much food
- 6. Do not cook dense or thick liquids
- 7. Base of the pressure cooker is thin
- 8. High starch content in the food
- 9. Liquid not reaching all the way to the bottom of the pressure cooker
- 10. Cooking on high heat
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1. Leaking pressure cooker
No matter how much liquid you add while cooking, if the pressure cooker is leaking steam then it will not be enough.
The cooker will lose all the water as steam and then eventually the food will start burning.
You can check this post for more details on the reason why the pressure cooker is leaking and how to fix it.
2. Not enough liquid
When cooking in the pressure cooker there needs to be plenty of liquid in it to create pressure when cooking. If there isn’t enough liquid present then it will cause the bottom to get charred and burnt.
The right ratio usually is 1.5 cup water for every 1 cup of rice or lentils that you are cooking.
Water is used in cooking to provide moisture and regulates the cooking temperature as well. If there is less water then temperature and moisture regulation does not happen and food burns. Please make sure you add enough water as per the recipe.
3. Overcooking the food
I am definitely guilty of this where we keep the pressure cooker on the gas for too long. When the food is cooked beyond the advised time then it can lead to burnt bottom.
Thankfully, the fix is easy just set an alarm for the cooking time to remind you and also make sure you check the cooking time in the manual of your pressure cooker as they vary.
4. Food stuck to the pressure cooker base
When you add the cooking liquid make sure to always deglaze the pot using a spatula.
What this means is that go around with the spatula and scrape off any food bits stuck to the base.
Since the bottom gets really hot, the food stuck to the base has a high chance of getting burnt.
5. Cooking too much food
Do not overfill the cooker as adding too much food will put pressure on the grains that are at the bottom of the pressure cooker’s base.
As the base is the hottest part of the cooker the food that is closest to it, is more likely to burn.
Only fill the pressure cooker to 2/3rd of its capacity.
6. Do not cook dense or thick liquids
Pressure cooking is best suited for water or broth to be used as cooking liquid as these are runny and do not burn that quick.
If you use a thick sauce to cook in then it will burn if you do not add enough water to it to reduce its consistency.
7. Base of the pressure cooker is thin
The food is less likely to burn if you use a thick base pressure cooker it regulates the heat that reaches the food at the base of the pressure cooker.
The thick base not only spreads the heat uniformly but it also stops the pressure cooker base from getting overheated.
The thick base pressure cookers are also suitable for all cooking surfaces like induction, stove tops etc.
8. High starch content in the food
Food items with high start content are more likely to burn like rice, potatoes.
Sometimes the only way to avoid this is to use a cooking utensil within the pressure cooker.
You place the food in the container and then place it in the pressure cooker.
Also, add water to the base so there is steam generated to heat and cook the food.
9. Liquid not reaching all the way to the bottom of the pressure cooker
When cooking recipes make sure that the water or broth added for cooking can reach all the way to the bottom of the pan.
If cooking potatoes then make sure you stir them so there is water in between the potatoes and the pressure cooker base.
10. Cooking on high heat
The gas flame should cover the pressure cooker base well and if the flame it too big then it will burn the pressure cooker base and especially the sides.
The pressure built inside the cooker helps in cooking the food much faster and there is no need to cook on high heat.
Once the pressure is reached you can lower the gas flame or heat and this will cook the food well without burning it.
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