Instant Pot Usage for Beginners, How to use and Things to know before you buy. A detailed explaination about what is instant pot its uses and most of all the basic things you need to know about Instant Pot is explained in this post.
Instant pot was first introduced to me by my friend Sowmya though have seen many instant pot recipes across the web.Though she kept telling about how versatile and how helpful it is in the kitchen, I still was least bothered about it as I am really not fond of electric appliances.
Actually I don’t own any other electric appliance other than the basic mixie,grinder and oven.I did buy a sandwich maker but use it only for posts here otherwise I prefer to toast it in tawa itself.I got a electric rice cooker as a gift which I did not use at all so gave it to my aunt.So having all these in mind, I always had a hesitation whenever she said she will buy and come.But on a sale she urged me as it was great 50% deal and I said yes but still my mind had a lot of question whether I will put it to good use or will I keep it idle etc.When I saw Instant pot for the first time, I was excited and curious to use it at the same time a bit of scary too.
Earlier the moment I heard the woes and awes about Instant pot from my US friends my thought was like : its just an electric pressure cooker and why this hype, and I didnt change my mind even after a weeks usage.But slowly my mind changed,trust me after using it for almost 6 months I am soo loving it.Actually the more you use it the more you will love it for the convenience and ease.
And you know how amma loves it?! Actually, she adapted to it so easily than I did 🙂
If you ahve any more questions that is not covered here please comment will try to answer them and update the post too.
What is Instant Pot?
Instant Pot is a multi- programmable device that works as a one pot for saute & cook,slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, steamer,rice cooker, yogurt maker etc.Many new versions even have the option to bake,grill and airfry too.There are many functions inbuilt that will suit our cooking style and am sure you will stop using pressure cooker after getting used to Instant Pot.
How to buy?
There are various models of Instant pot available now, just check and do a quick research to buy one that suits your needs.
You can either buy in person if you are residing abroad or buy online from India itself through Amazon but it may be a bit expensive so look out for sale time.Finally I got my instant pot when Sowmya came to Coimbatore but I waited for few days to use it as I had to buy a converter for it to work here in India.Yes if you are bringing Instant Pot from abroad then you will need to buy a converter to make it suitable to work here but if you buy it in India you don’t need a converter for it.And the indian version has a more indianised programmable menu.
You can buy from:
www.amazon.in – If you planning to buy , keep checking the price keeps varying and you can get it for around 10K when its on sale.
My Instant Pot Model
Regular visitors here will surely know about me , I usually do a lot of research before buying anything especially kitchen appliances but for this instant pot I left the decision completely to Sowmya as I knew she would choose the best one for me and yes I am so content and happy with my IP.
My model name is Instant Pot Duo Nova 6 quart which is the ideal size for a family of 4.There are a lot of accessories that you can buy but I just bought only the IP, it came with a extra sealing ring and trivet(steamer basket) to steam vegetables.Each version has some variation or the other if you see mine I dont need to set the steam release valve each time to seal position as in other models and the menus are slightly different from the basic model.
Cost was 49$ in a sale and the converter I bought here costed me 4800 Rs.
This is my Instant Pot with menus
This is one my friend bought it from Amazon India costed around 9k.Thank you Aarthi for this pic.
Difference between Pressure cooker and Instant Pot:
Instant pot is a multi use electric pressure cooker which does the same job as pressure cooker with few differences:
- Pressure cooker needs monitoring to switch off – Instant pot automatically switches off and no whistles and is silent.
- Pressure cooker needs inspection that we need to correctly count whistles and switch off – Instant pot comes with automatic switch off and preprogrammable menus for each type of food like dal,bean,meat,rice,poultry etc.
- Pressure cooker if unattended burns food – Instant pot has a food burn feature which alarms you when the food starts to burn.
- Pressure cooker is inexpensive – IP is expensive if you are buying on a nondeal day.
Differences between Electric rice cooker and Instant Pot:
- Rice cooker is meant for cooking rice only may be few models have options for steaming – Instant pot is one device with many pre-programmable menus for each variety of food.
- Rice cooker has no delay start timer – IP has delay start timer.
- In most rice cookers the inner pot is nonstick – Instant pot comes with heavy base stainless steel inner pot.
- Electric rice cooker is a bit cheaper when compared – IP is costly.
Why only Instant Pot?
Okay now there are so many brands which gives you the same features at a lesser price too but what I suggest is if you opt to buy this then buy the orginal brand as I strongly believe it does make a difference.This is my opinion but if you prefer you can buy any other brand too but make a quick research before you invest.
Instant Pot – Why should I buy?
- Though it does occupy space it can replace many of your kitchen appliances like steamer, kadai,pressure cooker etc.
- It keeps your food hot for almost 10 hrs so you can cook your meal well ahead of time especially for parties and when guests arrive.
- You do not need to keep checking and counting for whistles like in pressure cookers.
- Safe to use because if the lid is not closed properly it gives an alarm.Also only after the pressure valve comes down the lid can be opened.And there is alarm for food burn so safety features are more.
- The inner pot is easy to wash as its heavy bottomed and stainless steel, its dishwasher safe too.
- It also has a preset delay timer which helps you do the pre-preparations in advance and set the timer for automatic switch on and off.For eg if you want to make pongal or porridge for breakfast you can saute everything night itself and set delay timer and morning when you wake up, ur breakfast is 95% done.But I havent used this feature much as I always prefer fresh food, but have tried soaking channa overnight, cooking and it was perfect.
- There is a option to increase or decrease pressure level either low or high.Also while in saute mode you have 3 options low,medium and high just like we have in our gas burners.
Disadvantages I found :
- It takes time to switch on then start cooking so if you are in a hurry then this sure will test your patience.Instant pot itself is more of slow cooking so you need to pre-prepare accordingly.
- The one I have is 6 quart so its quite big and occupies a certain amount of space in your kitchen.
- If the power switches off in middle then there may be a mess especially if you are cooking biryani / pulao.
How to get started:
- First go through the manual completely and install the parts as mentioned in it.
- Wash the inner pot thoroughlly before use.
- Do a water test as per the steps given in the manual.
Know more about Instant Pot:
- First of all if you are setting 10 mins of cooking time for a particular food you should understand that the exact cooking time is not 10 mins as it may take few mins extra for starting then few more mins for pressure releasing.
- You can either leave it to naturally pressure release or you can manually pressure release.Pressure release is PR as I may refer to it in my future posts.
- Each mode is different and is specifically designed for different types of food.
- Always open the lid only when the valve goes down(after either natural PR or manual PR)
This(the white one)is the converter I bought here in Coimbatore.
The side holders can be used to hold lid like shown below.
This is the condensation water collector to be installed as shown which collects water.
So the steel button is the one you should notice – it should go down only then its safe to open the lid.Usually while cooking, the button automatically lifts up and after the cooking time finishes, it takes extra mins for natural pressure release – the timing varies according to the food inside.This is not the same in all models, in basic models you will have to manually keep the valve in sealing position
This is the trivet which came with my instant pot.
Instant pot in action
I have cooked many dishes like pav bhaji,dal makhani, pulao, biryani, steamed idli,idiyapam,kozhukattai etc.So stay tuned for more instant pot recipes.
If someones asks me I would surely recommend buying IP if:
- You have space in the kitchen to accomodate a electrical appliance
- You are looking for a device which minimises the standing time in kitchen
- You are looking for one appliance which has mutifunctions like steaming,sauteing,pressure cooking etc.