Friday, July 13, 2012

Review of Instant Pot 6-in-1 Pressure Cooker 6.33 qt

I was about to buy myself a new stainless steel rice cooker when I came across the Instant Pot® IP-LUX60 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6.33qt, Latest 3rd Generation Technology, Stainless Steel Cooking Pot and Exterior (wow that's a mouthful) in stainless steel and got that instead. It turned out to one of the best buys I've made in a while!

Perfect fluffy grains of rice from the Instant Pot

What I look for in a rice cooker
  • Stainless steel. NO aluminum.
  • Large capacity - at least 25 cups cooked rice (the Pot is 6.33 quarts or about 25 cups, thusly 10 cups raw rice)
  • Perfect cooked rice 
  • Keep warm function that won't result in 'crusty bottomed rice'
Instant Pot Magic
The Instant Pot does all the above, and more. It also functions as a pressure cooker and steamer. You can even tell it to have dinner ready by say 7 pm, and it will magically produce a dish that makes you seem to have slaved over all day. (just a small exaggeration). But yes, you can throw all ingredients into the pot in the morning before going off to work, and program it to have your chilli, stew, casserole etc ready for dinner and it will automatically do it for you. 

So Far So Awesome
So far the Pot has conjured up chicken-falling-off-the-bone soup in 15 minutes, unbelievably tender and succulent baby back ribs in 30 minutes, and delicious fluffy rice in about 10 minutes.

Ribs in 30 minutes? For Real?
The '30 minutes' really means cook time under pressure, after the Pot has built up sufficient pressure to go into Super Pressure Cook Mode. So the actual total cook time would be the time it takes to heat up to Pressure + number of minutes in Super Pressure Cook Mode. For the baby back ribs, it was an amazing 40 minutes total. Ain't that something? None of my guests believed me, though that didn't stop them from devouring every tender tasty rib. Heck I wouldn't have believed me either, if I hadn't set the Pot timer myself!

Gracie's Verdict
The Instant Pot has met all my 'must-a-haves' in a rice cooker, with the bonus of an incredibly time- and energy-saving pressure cooker, in an easy-to-use design. I'll be sure to update if I find something I don't like about it, but right now I'm in the Honeymoon Phase! *love*

Would love to hear your experiences using the Instant Pot - Like, Love or Blech? :) Leave a comment!

xo Gracie

Asian Cooking Ingredients & Seasonings with No MSG, No Preservatives, No High Fructose Corn Syrup: Gracie's Pantry

I take great pains to find and use good ingredients in my cooking. Some of the most used seasonings in my pantry are sea salt, sesame oil, soy sauce (thin and thick), oyster sauce, fish sauce, ground white pepper, corn starch, garlic (fresh and powdered), five spice powder, cumene, coriander (fresh leaves and ground seed), fennel (ground seed), chilli paste.

It can be very difficult to find soy, oyster and fish sauces that do not contain MSG (monosodium glutamate) or preservatives (e.g., sodium benzoate, sodium bisulphite, potassium sorbate) and sometimes what is available can be pricey. Down at the Strip District in Pittsburgh I am limited in my choices, but still grateful that I can find many of the things I need and cheaply too. For those of you who can't get to the goodies at Asian grocer where you are, I have found the equivalent products (or better) on Amazon (see below right for Gracie's Amazon Picks). In most cases, buying online costs more than buying at the Asian grocer - I'll list the prices so you can compare.

Gracie's Strip District Picks!                                                                                                                            Gracie's Amazon Picks! 

Oriental Mascot Oyster
Sauce $2.29, 16 oz.

This Oriental Mascot Oyster Sauce is the only one I can find that doesn't contain added MSG or preservatives. Other brands eg Lee Kum Kee, all contain them. Oriental Mascot sauce may contain gluten though, as HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, this probably wheat) is one of the ingredients. I pay $2.29 for a 16 oz bottle (453 g or 420 ml). Ingredients: Water, sugar, salt, oyster extracts, corn starch, HVP and caramel. As this is made in Malaysia, the sugar is most likely cane sugar and not HFCS. However, I still use it sparingly in cooking my own food, because I avoid gluten as much as possible.