With leading e-commerce portals fined by CCPA for selling substandard pressure cookers, consumers are in a fix as to how to choose a safe and durable pressure cooker for their needs.
Many fly-by-night operators import pressure cookers and other appliances from China and sell them without adhering to any safety standards. As marketplaces were largely unregulated, they got by selling inadequate appliances for long. However, recently, government has dealt with such issues with iron hand.
Pressure cookers especially need to adhere to safety guidelines because any mishap related to it can cause grave danger to both people and property. When you look at user reviews of the brands that were fined for non-compliance with BIS, some of them report about exploding pressure cookers too.
So, how do you choose a safe and durable pressure cooker that suits your needs? Let us explore.
As per the law of the land, pressure cookers and most other home appliances need to adhere to BIS standards to be sold in India. Renowned brands like Hawkins, Prestige, Pigeon, Butterfly, Stahl, Bergner etc sell pressure cookers that adhere to BIS. But, many unknown brands sell imported pressure cookers that are bought cheap and sold cheaper. Fortunately, as CCPA has cracked down such players, you won’t find such substandard pressure cookers on leading ecommerce portals. But, they are likely to be rampant in small local kitchen shops.
So, always check if the pressure cooker has a BIS marking. If in case you do not find it on the product, return it back to the seller immediately. Even if they are cheaper than usual, using them is not worth the risk.
One of the most important aspects to decide on when buying a pressure cooker is its capacity. A 3 litre pressure cooker is sufficient for making curries for a 3-4 member family and a 5 litre cooker would be apt for making rice for a nuclear family. A larger family would need a 5,7 and 9 litre pressure cookers to cater to the needs of the family members and guests. Ideally, a full-fledged kitchen should have at least 2-4 pressure cookers to cater to the needs without having to clean and reuse the same pressure cooker in between.
Pressure cookers are available in aluminium, stainless steel and hard anodized aluminium. Aluminium pressure cookers are the most inexpensive among the options. They are lightweight too. But, aluminium may leach into food, especially when it is acidic in nature. Consumption of aluminium may end up as a health hazard in the long run.
Stainless steel is comparatively expensive. But, it is safer and more durable. They are dishwasher safe too. Further, stainless steel pressure cookers have better heat retention capacity too, which results in lower fuel consumption.
Hard anodized aluminium has a top layer of aluminium oxidized in electro-chemical reaction. This layer is stronger than stainless steel and conducts heat well. But, after a period of time, it may peel off.
Pressure cookers are available in different shapes. They are pan shaped with wide base and short height; tall with narrow base, handi shaped etc.
Pan shaped is best for making curries and when you need to saute before cooking. Tall cookers are ideal when you need to use food separators. Handi shaped is aesthetically more pleasing than other options.
Induction Stove Compatibility
With rising LPG costs, many people are using induction stoves on a regular basis as it is faster and cheaper. Stainless steel pressure cookers are induction friendly. But, aluminium cookers, unless they have a separate induction base do not work on induction stoves.
Ideally, opt for pressure cookers that have an induction base so that if in case you run out of LPG, you can always cook in induction stove and save the day!
Aftersales Service Availability
Brands like Prestige and Hawkins have extensive network of sales centres. The spares like weight, gasket, valve etc are easily available in kitchen shops in most localities too. As most pressure cookers need valve and gasket change every 1-3 years, it is important to opt for popular brands that have easy availability of spares.