What is a multi cooker?
A multi cooker is a modern kitchen appliance that is a combination of a pressure cooker and a slow cooker. Most multi cookers are automatically controlled and work well even without any human intervention. You are likely to hear people throw around the term instant pot while referring to a multi cooker as instant pot is among the most successful multi-cooker brands
How to use your multi cooker
You get a multi cooker because you know how well it handles its business around the kitchen. Remember that a multi cooker is a 2 in 1 appliance that combines a pressure cooker and slow cooker and thus eliminating the need of purchasing both appliances.
First things first, clean your multi cooker before you load any food. You can now then proceed and plug in the appliance into a power outlet. A multi cooker as we have said earlier is an automated appliance and most of the multi cookers in the market today have preloaded programs that aid your cooking.
Some multi cookers have more programs than others but you can always use the program that is closer to the food you wish to cook (if it is not available) Load your food thereafter and start the multi cooker after selecting the cooking mode.
For slow cooking, it is advisable to coat the multi cooker with butter and for pressure cooking, add an adequate amount of water. For a first timer, do not fiddle too much with additional settings but rather use the available modes to cook. If you have someone with previous experience, they can always help out with these additional settings and as you continue using your multi cooker, you too will get the hang of it.
To get the best out of your multi cooker, you need to always observe some tips. Most of these are as expected no different from those that apply to your pressure cooker and slow cooker. Most of the things you need to observe are the do’s and don’ts as they are universally apply to any meal you need to cook with your multi cooker.
1. Always fill it up to the required volume
Most multi cookers have clear markings on the volume they are expected to hold. If you want to play safe, it is always advisable to fill your multi cooker to about two thirds of its overall capacity. The volume of water and food material inside the multi cooker is always important and dictates if your food comes out under cooked, overcooked or just right. Judging the volume required for most meals will become easy as you continue working with your multi cooker.
2. Keep water levels high
Water is the basis of pressure cooking as a pressure cooker takes advantage of the high temperatures steam can achieve to cook food rapidly and effectively. Always ensure that your multi cooker has adequate levels of water to avoid dry food or burnt food. Burnt food may stain your new and shiny multi cooker. Burnt food is not safe for consumption as well. Water levels may be food specific but always make sure that the water is just right.
Ten foods that you can cook with your multi cooker
Most foods that suit slow cooking and pressure cooking are the best for cooking in a multi cooker. Pressure cooking is faster as well as a good method to soften your food e.g. tough meat. Below are just some of the best foods you can cook with your multi cooker
Rice is a very versatile meal but simple to prepare. Most people hate cooking rice especially because they cannot get the rice-water ratios right. With a multi cooker, you can conveniently prepare rice with a 1 to 1 ratio as well as have the added advantage of a preloaded program optimized for rice.
Ribs prepared in the multi cooker have the meat falling right off the bone. If the meat is tough, a multi cooker will ensure that it comes out very soft for consumption. Remember to add sauce to your ribs. If you are not licking your fingers after having ribs, they were not any good!
Multi cookers are best for cooking whole chicken. A multi cooker can cook a whole chicken efficiently and thoroughly as it is cooked slowly. Heat is evenly spread throughout the whole chicken which is very convenient if you do not want to chop your raw chicken.
4. Boiled eggs
A multi cooker is well suited to boiling eggs as it works with principles associated with boiling. This means that your eggs are evenly boiled and the process takes no time at all. They are also less likely to crack while boiling in a multi cooker.
5. Mashed potatoes
Multi cookers are excellent for preparing mashed potatoes. A multi cooker will have your potatoes ready for mashing easily and effectively as opposed to the traditional boiling approach. It is also better as the potatoes preserve most of their nutritive contents as well as flavor.
Beans are very popular meal for preparation in the multi cooker. They take a long time to get ready and always have to be soaked beforehand often overnight. With a multi cooker, you can have your dry beans ready in very little time. They also hold their flavor better when cooked with a multi cooker.
As with other types of meat, pork is softened by cooking in a multi cooker. Pork also has a high fat content and when left to cook slowly in a multi cooker, most of that fat is eliminated. Pork prepared in a multi cooker should be fat free and tender.
Fish fillets cook very fast in a multi cooker therefore saving your time. It is advisable to keep the fish of the base of the multi cooker and instead use the steam to cook the salmon. Most of the salmon fillets are not yet ready steamed this way but are safe to consume. They need a little “adjustments” for presentation at the table.
There are thousands of ways to prepare your beef with many recipes to choose from. Beef is most likely to need softening and tenderizing as it can be quite tough. Beef that has been in a multi cooker will need less time in the oven as well. In some beef dishes, a multi cooker can completely replace an oven and in most cases get the work done faster.
Chilli is a spice that really brightens up your taste buds. With traditional boiling, you may lose the strong pepper flavor and for this reason therefore, a multi cooker is a good choice for preparation of meals with pepper flavoring. In the best case scenarios, just imagine ribs flavored with pepper and barbecue sauce that have meat falling right off the bone. Yummy, right? Get yourself a multi cooker and start living the above fantasy.
Tips to maintain your multi cooker
A multi cooker is relatively easy to maintain as long as you observe a few precautions. Multi cookers can last quite a long time needing only tiny replacements and tweaks. For proper maintenance, make sure to do the following:
1. Clean your multi cooker
Cleaning seems like an obvious point as far as maintenance is concerned but it cannot be overlooked. Your multi cooker needs thorough cleaning to lengthen its lifespan. While cleaning, pay attention to your pressure release valve. A clogged pressure release valve can result in a catastrophe as too much pressure builds in your multi cooker. A clean and working pressure release valve means that your multi cooker is always working efficiently.
2. Buy another lid
Buy another lid to suit slow cooking. The manufacture of course provides a lid that works both for pressure as well as slow cooking. But let’s face it, that lid is best suited for pressure cooking. Buy a lighter lid for when you wish to slow cooking. This little tip preserves your proprietary lid which is a nice step as that lid contains important hardware such as a pressure release valve.
3. Follow instructions
The manufacturer’s instructions are among the best guide to follow as you desire to maintain your multicooker. Observe water levels and use the right programs for the right types of food. Proper maintenance starts with proper usage because that way, nothing will go wrong in the first place.