Best pressure cookers needs space in which to create and build up steam. Consequently, the cooker should not be filled more than two thirds full. Fill the pressure cooker loosely, since packing food too tightly will not allow the steam to penetrate the food properly for even, thorough cooking.Place the amount of liquid in the cooker (as called for in the recipe), close the lid, and lock it in place. To properly lock the lid there is usually a mark that aligns the handle properly. Some models come with an automatic lock and you can hear it click into place. Others will have a locking tab you slide into position.
Once you have the lid securely locked, then you can beging cooking. Turn the heat on high to begin with. The pressure cooker will build up pressure. There is usually a spring loaded valve or some sort of indicator on the lid telling you proper pressure has been reached, and it’s time to turn down the heat. Lower the temperature and start the timing process. Don’t turn down the heat too low that the cooking process stops. You need enough heat to keep the steam process going. It should be at a good simmering temperature.
Ther is one interesting trick is worth noting for electric stoves. The burners take much longer to go from a high heat to proper simmer level. Food can often overcook because of this. One way to overcome this is to turn on a second burner to the simmer level. When it’s time to lower the heat, just turn off the high burner and move the pressure cooker over to the burner that’s on lower heat, and begin the timing process.
Every stove is different, and you may have to experiment a bit to find out what your stove’s best setting is for the lower heat level. That level is best described as simmer–not so high as to cause overcooking, and not so low it stops the cooking process. Modern pressure cookers have come a long way when it comes to safety and reliability. In the “old days” horror stories about exploding pressure cookers were not that uncommon. Now they come equipped with safety valves, and some have more than one.