Wednesday, 13 July 2016

How to get started with your Instant Pot. A guide for beginners

So, you bought an Instant Pot, it's already at home or on its way and you're panicking that you're not going to use it enough or that you won't know how to use it, that it might be difficult to use...

Fear not! It's really easy to use and help is at hand at all times. As social media girl for Instant Pot UK that help might often come from me on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as well as the official Instant Pot® UK Community (an extension of Instant Pot UK's customer care) but don't forget that I also run my own Pressure Cooking with Feisty Tapas Facebook group.

Basically you will have no choice but to use it. No kitchen gadget worth the money will sit gathering dust on my watch!

The two models in the UK market (and markets covered from the UK) are the Instant Pot DUO 7 in 1 and the Instant Pot LUX 6 in 1. They work in similar ways. The DUO has a low pressure setting and a yoghurt function. They both can pressure cook, slow cook, steam, cook rice, cook porridge and keep your food warm at the end. The DUO also has a low pressure setting and a handy yoghurt function.

Feisty Tapas tells you the first steps to follow, recommended first recipes, tips and tricks

Both are really easy to use. They save time and money and, in my case, they totally save my sanity (I have one of each at home). They work silently for you while you have more time to get on with other stuff. Then they keep your food warm automatically at the end, even if you open the lid and help yourself to some of it, it will stay on Keep Warm for the next person. This is ideal in a household with a 6 year old (the little Tapita is six now!) who eats around 6pm and a commuting husband who doesn't get home until 8.30-9 most days. I can cook for my daughter, then I eat whenever I am ready (6pm is way too early for me to eat dinner), then food is kept warm for my husband when he gets home. 

Now, I know I own a lot of kitchen gadgets and that I now work with Instant Pot but this is me being totally honest: it's a great kitchen gadget that can make life easier so a great investment. Above all if you are stressed out trying to juggle work and family. If you happen to have a health condition like me and my chronic pain and fibromyalgia, you will appreciate how easy it is to use and how much it can save your sanity on a daily basis (and the fact that it's so silent it's a huge bonus if you have a problem with background noise).

There are a ton of recipes for it. Another bonus.

Now, what to do when you first receive it? Here are my tips.


First steps


1. Take it out of the box, admire it, isn't it shiny? Is that Michel Roux Jr on the sticker? Oh yes it is. Ooooooh.

2. Do the WATER TEST, it's called Initial Test Run on the instruction manual. If you have an 8 litre Instant Pot DUO, then do the water test with at least 1 litre of water. You'll find a handy water test video here, it's really easy! All you need is water.

3. Get cooking. Don't delay. Below are my recipe recommendations, a few types for different tastes. The key for many people is to find a couple of tried and tested recipe recommendations, follow those to get to know their Instant Pot and then get creative. Some other people prefer to always follow recipes. There is no right or wrong way but there are a few things to take into account so keep reading to find out what they are.


Learning curve


Yes, there is a tiny learning curve as part of the Instant Pot way of cooking. To make things easier I have created a couple of PDF documents for Instant Pot UK which you can print out, save to your mobile or tablet and have handy:

How to adapt/convert conventional pressure cooking recipes to the Instant Pot

Download the guide to adapt conventional pressure cooker recipes to the Instant Pot
Click the photo to download the file


The Golden Rules of the Instant Pot Way of Cooking
Download the Four Golden Rules of the Instant Pot way of cooking
Click the photo to download the file


Recipes


I always recommend you start your Instant Pot journey by reading the manual (yes!), doing the water test, reading the above documents and then cooking a couple of tried-and-tested recipes.

Here are a few recipe suggestions to get you started with your Instant Pot, these all work well:

Risotto



Butternut Squash Risotto (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Quinoa

One minute quinoa: from the cookbook that comes with your Instant Pot, try it with stock. It's very versatile, try turning it into a salad with lime juice, coriander, nuts, avocados, olives...

Meat


Lemony Whole Chicken

Healing Gourmet's Whole Chicken

Sticky Sesame Chicken

Lamb Tagine 

Nom Nom Paleo's Kalua Pig (I've made it successfully with boneless pork joints and very lovely it is, 5 pounds is 2.268 kg)

Nom Nom Paleo's Mexican Beef 

Beef and Broccoli by Pressure Cooking Today

Forking Foodie has a few recipes that are really good, the Normandy Pork Cheeks in Cider get raving reviews, try her Ragu alla bolognese too. Find all her Instant Pot recipes here.

Pasta


Jayson's Mac and Cheese this one is so easy and delicious

One-Pot Seafood Pasta

All-in-One Sausage and Tomato Pasta 

All-in-one bolognese (less washing up and very tasty)

Dessert

Lemon Cheesecake! (don’t worry about the Meyer part, we don’t have them here in the UK, just use normal lemons)

You can find all my Instant Pot recipes here.

CUPS

PS-in American recipes 1 cup of water is 250 ml, which is also the rule of thumb for pressure cooking in your Instant Pot: always 250 ml of liquid (water or stock). The measuring cup that comes with your Instant Pot is designed to cook rice. It's worth getting a cheap set of measuring cups to follow American recipes.

How to reheat frozen homemade food in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot

How to reheat frozen homemade food in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot

You may use your Instant Pot a lot to get organised through batch cooking and, like me, you may tend to forget to take things out of the freezer in time for them to thaw. Here's a really nifty solution, reheat them from frozen to piping hot in your Instant Pot, it couldn't be easier. Click here to find out how.

Tips and Tricks

As part of my work with Instant Pot, I get to chat to a lot of customers and, if you are a member of my Feisty Tapas Facebook groups you will already know this, I have two mottos:

- There are no silly questions 

- We all learn together

So I share a lot of tips but I also learn a lot from other Instant Pot owners so please don't be shy, always ask questions. As I always say, if you're wondering it, chances are other people are too and you will be helping them too by asking.

There is a lot of help online, from me and my communities, from me through Instant Pot UK, from other owners. The Instant Pot has a huge and very supportive community.

Here are a few tips but you also MUST download the pdf files above, really really important to keep those in mind, soon you won't need them anyway.

Tip: Always scrape the bottom of your Instant Pot with a wooden spoon and some liquid (water/stock/wine) to deglaze it before pressure cooking. You'll see me remind you of this a lot!

Tip: tomatoey sauces, flour, packet mixes, sauces like Dolmio, can burn the bottom and make your Instant Pot overheat. So avoid flour, packet mixed and Dolmio and with tomatoes, make sure you have plenty of liquid in there with them, some people place the tomatoes on top of the other ingredients and don't stir before pressure cooking.

Trick: Download the Manual to your computer, phone or tablet so that you always have it handy (you can do quick searches for what you're after too!). Download them here

Tip: if you have version 2 of the Instant Pot DUO 7 in 1, do not wait to add the ingredients until the display says HOT when using the Sauté button, as indicated in the manual. Strong safety feature mean it cuts out for a few minutes if it overheats during the Sauté mode, instead just press Sauté and add your ingredients when it starts getting warm just like you would in a frying pan.

If you bought the Instant Pot DUO and your anti-block shield doesn't look like the one on the Manual, it's ok, it is there. It's just that the lid was redesigned. No need to panic


Accessories

It is handy to accessorise your Instant Pot. First of all with a steamer basket or insert, I have a list of the best ones available in the UK right here.


Another handy gadget to have with your Instant Pot, particularly for cheesecakes, is a springform pan. I use this Master Class 18 cm / 7 inch Springform Cake Tin with Loose Base (I also use it for lasagna cooked in the Instant Pot, no need to turn the oven on!).

If you get stuck, give me or Instant Pot UK or the various fan groups a shout. There is always someone to help.

Ready? Let's get cooking!





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