All about the ‘pressure cooker’

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Heard the famous saying, ‘life is like a pressure cooker, when you heat it beneath and put weight above, all it does is whistle!’ Well, technically that’s how a pressure cooker works isn’t it? On a serious note, without a pressure cooker, we might have lost so many precious hours all together sweating and toiling hard in the kitchen. So, when it has contributed so much towards our lives, we must know about this humble cooking equipment in detail.



‘Cooker ki 2 sitti bajne ke baad band kar dena beta’ is how we all have grown up! Afterall, Indian rasoi is incomplete without the pressure cooker’s whistles blowing to prepare our beloved dals, chawal, rajma, pulaos, etc. It is all because of the comfort and the fast cooking way that it has made its presence so indispensable in our day-t0-day cooking schedules. 

It all started post 1960, when India felt its considerable presence for the first time. Each brand had by then made its special place in various regions, yet the passion with which food was made remained the same. Here’s an interesting timeline to know how the invincible ‘pressure cooker’ came into being.   


1689: The French physicist Denis Papin comes up with this  invention and names it as the ‘steam digester.’ Since then there has been no looking back! 

1915: ‘Steam digester’ officially changes to ‘pressure cooker.’ 

1917: Operating pressure standard for pressure cooking declared as 15 psi. Operational till today. 

1939: An engineer comes up with an easier sealing mechanism with a rubber gasket clamped between the upper and lower handles. This makes every day cooking easier, faster and safer. 

1955: Pressure cookers imported from England, commencing the revolution of pressure cookers in India.

1959: The well-known Indian brand Hawkins collaborates the same brand entity of England. Similarly, Indian manufacturer Prestige collaborates with its doppelganger in UK.


Working of a pressure cooker 

It’s an airtight cooking pot which is been locked with a liquid proportionate to the contents put in it. It heats the contents till the steam creates pressure and the liquid boiling point becomes high. The high-temperature aids in cooking the food faster, if the steam is let to escape.


The valve present on the pot ensures that only sufficient steam is put in order to evade out of proportion pressure. In addition, the moisture existent inside backs in making the hard ingredients soft at a faster rate as compared to other methods of cooking like roasting, etc. The beauty of pressurised steaming is that enhances flavours, accelerates even browning and even caramelises the food. Once the food is ready, the steam is mindfully released till the pressure becomes normal and it’s finally safe to open the lid.


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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.