Japanese Ohsawa Pots and Pressure Cookers

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Pressure Cooking In "Ohsawa Pots"

Ohsawa Pots vs My PIP Cooking Technique

Simple Brown Rice in an Ohsawa Pot

Simple Brown Rice Using my PIP Method

Pressure Cooking In "Ohsawa Pots"

Japanese "Ohsawa Pots" are earthenware pots designed by a Japanese man named George Ohsawa, who advocated the concepts of macrobiotic eating, which he believed would lead to a healthier, more balanced life.

The makers of the Ohsawa Pot say to put the pot directly into the pressure cooker and fill the pressure cooker with enough water so that the water reaches half way up the side of the inner pot to reach the bottom of the rope holders on the Ohsawa Pot. the rope is pulled tightly up over the top to hold the lid in place. However, the turbulence makes the clay pot rattle and bang inside the cooker. To eliminate this problem, elevate the pot by setting it on the rack or trivet and adding enough water to the pressure cooker to last the length of the required cooking time. When completely elevated out of the water the inner pot heats uniformly around the entire surface of the pot including the sides and top, not just from the bottom.

Examples of Japanese Ohsawa cooking pots for the pressure cooker.

Small=1 qt - 7 3/8"w x 4 1/4"h

Medium=1 1/2 qt - 7 /38"w x 5 1/2"h

Intermed=2 3/4 qt 8 1/8"w x 6"h

Large=3 1/2 qt - 8 1/4"w x 7 3/4"h

Japanese Nabe Pot

The small 7 inch Japanese Nabe Pot serves a similar purpose. Often decoratively painted, this shallow, two handled, covered earthenware dish is designed for use in a pressure cooker and in the oven. "Nabe" means steaming, a style cooking of vegetables, often on a portable burner right at the table. Some pots have an unglazed rim on the bottom, others have "built in" legs. Some pots are handmade and decoratively painted, so it's important to certify that they are not just attractive, but the glaze is food quality and lead-free and also safe to use at high cooking temperatures.

As with any type of fired clay pot, you'll have to significantly increase the cooking times when using the thick walled Ohsawa pots compared to the stainless steel insert pans I recommend for recipes used in my PIP (Pan In the Pot) cooking method. All clay fired pots transfer heat slowly and evenly and this radiant heat penetrates the food and the convection currents within the inner pot will cook the food. For example, one manufacturer recommends 45 minutes to an hour to pressure cook simple brown rice in the glazed earthenware Ohsawa Pot. Compare that to only 15 minutes for the same brown rice when cooked in a stainless steel pan.

Ohsawa Pots vs My PIP (Pan In Pot) Cooking Technique

Can you use the clay Ohsawa Pots in my PIP (Pan In the Pot) cooking method?

Yes, but the cooking time will be significantly longer. The reason is how heat is transferred in fired-clay materials versus metal containers. Clay heats more evenly and stays hot longer than metal, but because of the thick walls, they also heat much, which means that it takes a very long time for the clay to heat up and begin transfering that heat to the food, and the heavy lid actually delays cooking even more

I much prefer the wide assortment of various stainless steel insert pans because they heat faster than any other material, and may even provide a slight amount of browning to make a more appealing presentation in some foods. Metal accessories are inexpensive, widely available, and come in a wide selection, including bowls, pans, steamers, trays and racks and they are easily cleaned is the dishwasher.

Many pressure cooker accessories are available from well known manufacturers like Kuhn-Rikon and Fagor. Check the diameter of both your cooker and the insert to assure they are compatible before purchasing. Substitutions for Ohsawa Pots and PIP insert pans can often be found in your own kitchen or purchased in the kitchen section of most stores and through many online websites.

Simple Brown Rice in an Ohsawa Pot

1 cup raw long or medium grain brown rice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups water

There are many varieties of brown rice, check the package  to determine how much water is needed for your particular brand. Place the rice in a one-quart Ohsawa pot, add the salt and water and secure the lid. Fill the pressure cooker with one inch of water. Place the Ohsawa pot on the cooking rack. Lock the lid in place. Bring to 15psi over high heat, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to stabilize and maintain that pressure. Cook 45 minutes. Remove from heat and use the natural release method. Carefully open the lid after the pressure drops. Serves 4.

Compare the Ohsawa pot method to simmering rice in a sauce pan on the stove for 40 to 45 minutes... no time savings here.

Simple Brown Rice Using my PIP Method

1 cup raw long or medium grain brown rice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon butter

To prepare this recipe using my PIP (Pan In Pot) cooking technique , place the cooking rack in the pressure cooker and add 1 cup water. Place the rice in a one-quart stainless steel bowl, add the salt and water. Use foil Helper Handles to position the bowl on the rack. Lock the lid in place. Bring to 15psi over high heat, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to stabilize and maintain that . Cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and use the natural release method. Carefully open the lid after the pressure drops. Garnish with a bit of crushed thyme if desired. Serves 4.

Cook's Note: adding butter and/or salt is optional but it does give rice a nice flavor, but brown rice has so much more flavor than white rice, you may skip the salt and butter, its totally your choice!

 

Find more information about cooking other varieties of rice...

 

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