GCS Forum: Pressure Cooker Vs Thermal Pot Vs Conventional Stove Cooking - GCS Forum

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Pressure Cooker Vs Thermal Pot Vs Conventional Stove Cooking

#1 User is offline   jade 

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  Posted 18 March 2009 - 02:50 PM

Hi GCS cooks, I am considering getting a pressure cooker or thermal pot mainly for soup cooking and other cooking that requires a few hours of cooking (e.g. stew). Main reasons are to save on gas usage and also to reduce the risk of stove fire going off without me noticing (it has happened a few times in these 2 mths) when I turn the fire real low.

I remember reading that a pressure cooker or thermal pot cannot be compared to conventional stove cooking, taste wise. Are we really able to tell the difference? I think I am not very sensitive to taste though I can differentiate what food is nice and what is not...lol...

The disadvantage of thermal pot over pressure cooker is that you need that certain volume in the pot before it can take effect. I also heard that thermal pot may lose its thermal effect over time, not too sure about pressure cooker though. Otherwise, they're quite comparable, unless my understanding is not right.

In terms of soup, which one (i.e. pressure cooker or thermal pot) gives a closer end result to stove cooking? I always boil my soup over low fire for at least 3-4 hrs. How about other kinds of cooking? Can ladies share with me your experience? Esp those who have both kinds of pots.

TIA!
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#2 User is offline   rummi 

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 03:06 PM

hi jade, i dun do slow fire cooking soup on the stove for my pet's safety.

all the times, soup/porridge/congee is cooked in rice cooker. we r using hitachi, many cooking options, inc'g soup. afteri its cook, can put on mode to stay warm too.

tho tat means i will hv to schedule cooking rice before/after, then keep the rice/soup seperately.

editing to add the following :

rice-cooker like the one i hv, r non-stick pots. as far as soup is concern, i'll let it cook up to 4hrs-setting. and tats really quite enuff for most soup liao ;)/>

were using slowcooker while staying in nz. ok la, nice soup too. but rice-cooker quicker n nice too, hehe.

This post has been edited by rummi: 18 March 2009 - 10:46 PM

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#3 User is offline   scatterseed 

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 03:19 PM

Jade,

I grew up on soups and stew. My mum is totally anal about cooking. Good soups are a must in my family. So, here's my 2 cents worth.

For Chinese soups, braising and stew, best method is a charcoal stove. I kid you not. The taste cannot compare with anything else. I know, I know.... most ppl can't use charcoal stove... so, the next best alternative is the slow cooker. It's made of clay, so, no risk of Al poisoning (go google and you will see that it's medically proven that it is a contributing factor to Alzheimer's). With slow cooker, also there's no risk to kids or pets getting burnt.

Pressure cooker. Don't like the taste of the soup. It is just not the same. I have one but used it only a couple of time a long time ago. It's now a white elephant sitting in my cabinet. Also, the hissing sound that it gives scares me off.

Thermal cooker. Got this as a gift but didn't like it because I can't control the heat and it does lose heat pretty fast. Ok to cook vegetable soup but to make traditional soup with herbs and to make 'mei chye kou rou', cannot lah.

Rice cooker is an option too but careful about the Aluminium pot. If using rice cooker, maybe can consider double boiling it Cantonese style in small clay pots if your family is small.

Good luck.

SS
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#4 User is offline   k0k0 

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 03:54 PM

Hi wf

personally i prefer using thermal pot to cook soup as compared to pressure cooker.
if u want to buy thermal pot, please get a better brand .. like tiger or zojiroshi becos some of the cheaper models cannot maintain the heat for long
do not add too much water as the water does not evaporate like stovetop cooking

i find that if i boil soup using pressure cooker, everything becomes disintegrated, tho' it is much faster than thermal pot.
but pressure cooker can be used to make double-boil soup and rice dumplings la
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#5 User is offline   Ah Kee 

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 05:36 PM

my mother uses
i) charcoal cooker when we were young
ii) slow cooker when we grew older and till now
iii) thermal cooker once or twice and the cooker is now with me

I think it depends on type of soup
eg peanut soup, lotus root soup, etc that needs to boil long long for the favour to come out, I find slow cooker works better
thermal cooker is good for soup that does not need long boiling

why dont you ... borrow a thermal cooker and a slow cooker and try ... then you decide ...
I can lend you my thermal cooker, if you dont mind to pick it up from me :)/>
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#6 User is offline   jade 

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 11:32 PM

Thanks ladies for your very helpful input. I'm deciding between Tiger Thermal (which costs near to $400 during sales) and WMF pressure cooker (I think $200+). I know both cannot be compared with stove (or better still, charcoal) cooking. So I'm just trying to find the next best alternative.

I do have a slow cooker, but don't think it's big enough to cook soup for the family of 5 and I don't feel like investing in another again. But I haven't been using that for a long time, so will probably check its capacity again. Btw, does a slow cooker consume a fair bit of electricity? I don't want to end up incurring more electric bill while cutting on the gas bill.

Now likelihood is to get the pressure cooker as I think it has more usage than a thermal pot. I've actually bought one small thermal pot (2.5l). Will probably try a dish or two with that first to see how it is.

Oh yes, forgot to add, all along I'm cooking soup in those black claypot on the stove. So the soup turns out quite decent.

This post has been edited by jade: 18 March 2009 - 11:34 PM

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#7 User is offline   solanum 

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 07:04 AM

I have been using a pressure-cooker for more years than I care to remember or to admit... The main trick with a pressure-cooker is that there is little to no reduction or evaporation while cooking so things tend to taste a bit bland when you first open the lid. So, to correct this, you just simmer the dish, without a lid, for another 10-15 min until the right taste and texture has been achieved. Perfect soups and stews every time, in a 1/3 of the time... (some are even faster nowadays!)
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#8 User is offline   maeyi 

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 09:36 AM

I have a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. I use the slow cooker to braise meat or cook cantonese style porridge. The pressure cooker is mainly for cooking stew , as it only needs half the normal cooking time and the meat is tender every time. I also use it for cooking chinese style soup like bak buk teh when I want the meat to be tender or if I am in a hurry.

I don't find the taste inferior compared to stove top or slower cooker cooking. The trick is as mention by Solanum to reduce the water amount as there is no/little evaporation. Mine is a german brand Marke Tischfein Express which is a cheaper range carried by WMF. The price is about 30% cheaper compared to WMF's sale price.
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#9 User is offline   feliciatehhp 

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 11:40 AM

Hi Jade,

Soups almost a must for every dinner at my mom's.
She's been cooking soup over the stove previously.
Then she changed to using a slow cooker for her soups. Taste as good still.
Recently(abt 3 months now) she discovered thermal pots, she bought 1 from OG at special price (abt 80+ i think), and she has never gone back to the others already.
She still boils the soup for about 2 hours over stove, and then placing them into the thermal pot and it sits there for about another 4 hours. When dinner is served, the soup is still scalding hot and taste as wonderful.

Felicia
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#10 User is offline   jade 

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 11:51 AM

Thanks ladies! Looks like pressure cooker is a good choice, with RIGHT use. At least now I learn a trick on that.

I check my slow cooker this morning. The capacity is only 3.5l, pretty small for soup, but should be ok for stew. But I think pressure cooker may be a more ideal choice since it'll definitely be faster than slow cooker and save a bit of bill.
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#11 User is offline   xbliss 

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:20 AM

i'm too slow to read uh? u got your pressure cooker already?

i'm a convert to thermal cooker. I cook main stews and soups with this, and sometimes steam egg. Basically i am a lazy mummy who need to cut time so i can spend more hours on GCS.. ehhe..

So far the thermal cooker (i got 5L for soup - it usually comes with a top section which can hold about 2l, so u can cook soup below and stew on top) has worked miracles for me. everything comes out nicely soft and tender without me having to watch it. I even make porridge in the 1.8l one for my boy cos it cooks faster and i dun have to watch fire. I play around with it to ensure maximum heat.. for e.g. if i only need 3L of soup, i fill the base with soup, then fill the 2L section with boiling water, this will keep the entire pot hot until you eat it!.

forgot to add.. u dun need an expensive one. :)/> mine's all cheap brands.

This post has been edited by xbliss: 24 March 2009 - 12:22 AM

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#12 User is offline   keroleen 

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 08:06 AM

View Postxbliss, on Mar 24 2009, 12:20 AM, said:

i'm too slow to read uh? u got your pressure cooker already?

i'm a convert to thermal cooker. I cook main stews and soups with this, and sometimes steam egg. Basically i am a lazy mummy who need to cut time so i can spend more hours on GCS.. ehhe..

So far the thermal cooker (i got 5L for soup - it usually comes with a top section which can hold about 2l, so u can cook soup below and stew on top) has worked miracles for me. everything comes out nicely soft and tender without me having to watch it. I even make porridge in the 1.8l one for my boy cos it cooks faster and i dun have to watch fire. I play around with it to ensure maximum heat.. for e.g. if i only need 3L of soup, i fill the base with soup, then fill the 2L section with boiling water, this will keep the entire pot hot until you eat it!.

forgot to add.. u dun need an expensive one. :)/> mine's all cheap brands.


Sorry to ask where u get urs and how much.
Correct me if I am wrong, so u have the 2L of session filled with water to trap the heat within the thermal pot right?


Actually I have with me all the gadets at home. :P/>
Pressure cook to cook my desert and soup; thermal also to cook soup, curry chicken etc and the slow cooker is now like annual use stuff to cook my mini buddah jump over the wall for the CNY.

These days I am only a weekend cook. :P/>
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#13 User is offline   rocky 

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:40 AM

View Postkeroleen, on Mar 24 2009, 08:06 AM, said:

Sorry to ask where u get urs and how much.
Correct me if I am wrong, so u have the 2L of session filled with water to trap the heat within the thermal pot right?


Actually I have with me all the gadets at home. :P/>
Pressure cook to cook my desert and soup; thermal also to cook soup, curry chicken etc and the slow cooker is now like annual use stuff to cook my mini buddah jump over the wall for the CNY.

These days I am only a weekend cook. :P/>


Yes, If the 5L pot is half filled, is turn cold easily due to Air inside, is a good idea to filled other top pot with hot water to trap more heat....for me, i always cook 5L (maximum capacity for lunch and dinner for both my kids), normally i cook in the morning at 8am, by 1pm my sons back from school, the soup is ready for them... :)/> as if i have half filled soup, i will use the top pot to steam eggs or others stuff.....

Pressure cooker........... white elephants now in Store Room, as the taste not that nice compare to Thermal pots. :closedeyes:/>

cheers

rocky
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#14 User is offline   pot2wok 

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:13 PM

View Postrocky, on Mar 24 2009, 11:40 AM, said:

Yes, If the 5L pot is half filled, is turn cold easily due to Air inside, is a good idea to filled other top pot with hot water to trap more heat....for me, i always cook 5L (maximum capacity for lunch and dinner for both my kids), normally i cook in the morning at 8am, by 1pm my sons back from school, the soup is ready for them... :)/> as if i have half filled soup, i will use the top pot to steam eggs or others stuff.....

Pressure cooker........... white elephants now in Store Room, as the taste not that nice compare to Thermal pots. :closedeyes:/>

cheers

rocky

interesting..............
have always wanted to try a thermal pot but not sure if it can boil nice soups. i just might try it out since most of u seem to think it's pretty good.
rocky, i like the idea of cooking 2 items in one pot. but am not sure about the 'steam eggs or other stuff" part. do u mean that u put the soup in the bottom pot, u put eggs (maybe the century, salted and fresh egg combination , yumm.....) and put it in the top pot. and the eggs will be steamed by the heat of the soup underneath? how about steam prawns or fish? does it work too? and how cheap is cheap? since i'm trying it out, i dun want to spend too much..........
sorry hor, very suaku :P/>
tia
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#15 User is offline   jade 

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:05 PM

Ok, add my 0.2 cents worth on thermal pot.

If you want to get a thermal pot, invest in a good one (like Tiger). Yes, it's very much more exp, but definitely can last you longer (like 10 years or more). I bought Endo brand 2.5 litre to test out how thermal pot works. According to the promoter, the mechanism of the outer pot is different for Endo and Tiger (though they're from the same company), which explains the diff in price. Endo uses form inside the outer pot to retain heat, Tiger uses vacuum.

As for usage, so far I've only used it to test out red bean soup (my first guinea pig recipe) and beef/chicken stew. I only bought the pot last week, so can't test out too much. And mine is a 2.5 litre, so cannot cook soup for the whole family. Quite a lot of people "complain" the soup quality using thermal pot is inferior to stove cooked. After testing the 2 dishes, I arrived at a conclusion (gosh, I sound like a scientist carrying out experiment). It's not that thermal pot produces inferior soup, it's how we use it.

In conventional stove cooking, we usually boil our soup over low heat for a few hours. How to convert this to thermal pot cooking? We must understand how thermal pot works. During the first hour or so, the high heat in the pot will enable the food inside to continue cooking. The rest of the hours are mainly to keep the food warm. So if you want to have good stew/soup, remove the inner pot after 1+ hour, put it on the stove to boil for 5-10 mins, then put it back again for second or third round of cooking. It's more troublesome, but guarentee to have better results, as tested in my beef stew. The beef (I use normal beef cube, not briskets) are tender and flavorful. :)/> But do note that if you cook chicken the same way, it'll disintegrate to little pieces! For me, I won't use thermal pot for steaming, esp seafood, coz I believe steaming seafood needs control of heat and timing. Will be easier to do it using the stove.

So I guess, similar to pressure cooker, it depends on how we use the pots to make the food taste better. ;)/>
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#16 User is offline   Monica 

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:43 PM

I had both Tiger & Endo thermal pot (both abt 5L size). After trying both brands, my maid keep the Tiger Thermal pot in the store room. Reason, Endo can keep the heat longer. Well.. I oso first started out by thinking I should get good brand, but now it's I had proved that cheap brand can be good too.
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#17 User is offline   xbliss 

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:55 PM

i second jade's method, take out after about 1-2 hours reheat and put back in for maximum stew effect. esp if you buy smaller quantities like 2.5l, 1.8l. Cos they lose heat much faster than the bigger ones. It really is about how you use it. :)/>

I got my thermal pot (brandless) 5l at $49 during an OG fair. The smaller 1.8l i got from endo cost about $20, if i remember correctly. So far, both are working perfectly.

YOu can steam food on the upper layer, and they will turn out just nice too, cos it is "slow steaming" compared to the usual steaming where the vapours circulate all around. But i will recommend you to take them out once cooked, cos you don't want them to harden or lose nutritional value. (Esp veg, fish and prawn) Normally i will still heat the upper layer a bit before i put in... KS scared the food wont cook lah.. for steam eggs, no need to heat it at all before putting in, cos they cook fast.

So far, i have tried chap chye, broccoli with scallop, herbal chicken (i improvise to use drumlets and wings wrapped individually), and also the white fungus dessert (buy from eu yan sang and just dump half a pack in) not bad leh..
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#18 User is offline   rocky 

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 09:16 PM

hi pot2wok,

so many member input think is enuf for you now, i bought mine at RM180 (ox head brand 5L) so many year back....i use it to boil soup (most of the common chinese soup incl bak kut tea, salted veg duck etc.... ), top pot will use to steam rice, steam eggs, steam chicken wings, steam pork rips... etc depends what i wanna cook lor.... but not for seafood as fish or prawn will turn very hard like chewing gum after 4 hour in the pot.... for soup u have to bring it to boil, slow fire cook for another 30 min, add salt, pepper etc for taste, then put the top pot on top of the 5L pots, steam the dish i needed on it, cooked for another 5 to 10 min depends what is in the 2L pot, transfer all into thermal pot, that's it....

try it out all combination if you want, find the best way u like.....

happy cooking

rocky
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#19 User is offline   pot2wok 

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 09:54 PM

thanks to all. very good feedback. i will try this out and bear in mind all ur tips :notworthy:/> once i get the hang of it, i'll let u know :)/> xie xie!
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#20 User is offline   Abby Lim 

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:30 PM

View Postjade, on Mar 18 2009, 11:32 PM, said:

Thanks ladies for your very helpful input. I'm deciding between Tiger Thermal (which costs near to $400 during sales) and WMF pressure cooker (I think $200+). I know both cannot be compared with stove (or better still, charcoal) cooking. So I'm just trying to find the next best alternative.

I do have a slow cooker, but don't think it's big enough to cook soup for the family of 5 and I don't feel like investing in another again. But I haven't been using that for a long time, so will probably check its capacity again. Btw, does a slow cooker consume a fair bit of electricity? I don't want to end up incurring more electric bill while cutting on the gas bill.

Now likelihood is to get the pressure cooker as I think it has more usage than a thermal pot. I've actually bought one small thermal pot (2.5l). Will probably try a dish or two with that first to see how it is.

Oh yes, forgot to add, all along I'm cooking soup in those black claypot on the stove. So the soup turns out quite decent.


In fact, your black claypot is one of the best, beside the problem of forgot the fire, if you get a electric hotplate with timer control, you will solve the problem.

Getting more pots for difference usage in fact is very good, only problem is storage space, difference pot serve difference dish, with the economic downturn, in fact, one should collect those difference pot when it is cheap.

The Thermal pot is very good if you serve porriage for gathering, your black pot sit on electric top on keep warm feature can serve nice soup, your presure cooker save your time and turn your dessert perfect.

Even with your daily cooking, it help you to keep your meal hot for lunch for your kids or those come home late for dinner when you are not around, esp the thermal pot. For presure cooker, a lot of them are not too user friendly for little kids and even for the hubby who don't cook, it always heavy and need a certain method to open and close properly.

For those who tend to forgot about the stove fire, with young kids, old parents, it is better to have a induction cooker or cooker with timer and sensor, it do cut the fire risk.

This post has been edited by Abby Lim: 24 March 2009 - 10:34 PM

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