Perhaps back in the day your mum had a pressure cooker. They were stovetop numbers that produced brown stews and used to explode every so often and spew food all over the kitchen. That’s our memory of pressure cookers, anyway. Well, nowadays pressure cookers are super advanced and we know we’re late to the party, but the Instant Pot is our Find of the Week, because we just found it! We first heard those two magic words from an American friend who had one and raved about the convenience and the speed of the Instant Pot. So, after a bit of research we decided to invest in one. We’re hoping this gadget proves as successful as that time a SodaStream saved our marriage…
So the burning question is…what is an Instant Pot and why do I need one?
An Instant Pot is a smart electric pressure cooker. Pressure cookers seal in the cooking liquid (like water, wine or stock), then trap the steam that rises from the liquid. This then increases the pressure inside the pressure cooker along with the maximum temperature that the liquid can reach. The higher temperature and pressure dramatically speed up the cooking process. For example, you can make a tender beef stew using a cheap cut of beef in 35 minutes or cook a bone broth in two hours.
The Instant Pot claims to be a 7-in-1 appliance – it’s a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yoghurt maker and warmer all in one. Full disclosure here – we have not made yoghurt in our Instant Pot (and probably will never be that Martha Stewart-ish), but we have used it to create loads of different meals, from salmon, to quinoa, bone broth, soups, curries and rice.
If you’re the cook in your household and wrangling the kids too, there’s something very attractive about one pot recipes. Just chuck everything in and let the Instant Pot do the rest – no stirring and no pot watching to ensure it doesn’t boil over. The Instant Pot has a sauté function, so if you’re making a bolognese sauce, you can cook the onions and garlic and brown the beef inside the pot first before adding the remaining ingredients.
For time-crunched parents, the Instant Pot is a winner. As well as the ‘set and forget’ simplicity of the Instant Pot, it also allows you to cook meat from frozen – just pull out your frozen salmon fillets, pop them in the Instant Pot and cook them for five minutes at high pressure (yes, you read that right – five minutes of pressure cooking, but it actually takes a few minutes for the pressure to build, so you can expect to have a beautifully cooked, moist piece of salmon in 15 minutes from freezer to plate). You can cook all meat from frozen, even a whole chicken. It’s awesome.
Another huge convenience factor is not having to soak beans, chickpeas and lentils. Just whack them into the Instant Pot and let that high pressure and steam do the rest.
We also love the ‘Keep Warm’ function. If your family has staggered eating times (picking food off your toddler’s plate at 5pm doesn’t count as dinner) it’s super handy to be able to keep your meal warm while you wait for your partner to come home.
Less washing up and cleaning
The stainless steel pot is really easy to clean and it’s just one pot. We also love that because the meals are cooked with the lid on, there’s no stove splatter to worry about either. Oh, and it’s great if you’re cooking stinky foods like fish or sambal, as the sealed unit keeps smells contained.
Chuck away your rice cooker and slow cooker right now! The Instant Pot does just as good a job at cooking rice and slow cooking, so you don’t need to hoard your appliances any more.
Loads of recipes and ideas
The Instant Pot has one of those weird, cult followings, kind of like people who have a French Bulldog or a Thermomix. Instant Pot owners love their Instant Pot and want to shout it from the rooftops. So lucky for us, that means there are hundreds of thousands of recipes online, there are apps and cookbooks all dedicated to the Instant Pot (with step-by-step guides). You can be really specific in your searches too – there are kids Instant Pot recipes, Paleo recipes, vegan recipes and recipes for those who like to cook naked (joking…although there’s a business idea).
Some of our favourites are Two Sleevers’ Malaysian Beef Rendang, Fit Men Cook’s Creamy Red Curry Lentils, Seasons & Suppers’ Vietnamese Inspired Salmon and Pressure Cooking Today’s Honey Sesame Chicken.
Where to buy an Instant Pot
Sadly, it’ll cost us more to buy an Instant Pot here in Singapore than it will for our American and British friends. You may like to wait until your next trip abroad, or keep your eyes peeled on the FaceBook groups or online classifieds for a second-hand model.
Make sure you do your research on which model will best suit your needs.
So the question is – have you been converted? Will you become an Instant Pot-Head?
Top image: instantpotofficial via Instagram
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