Pomai’s Pressure Cooker “Local style” Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs

Some readers might already know I have an unabashed love for all sorts of gadgets, especially kitchen gadgets. I love gadgets that are fun but most importantly, I love gadgets that make my life easier, or at least give me the perception.  I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a pressure cooker for some time. I’ve seen them used on Iron Chef America. Heck, I’ve even seen Montel Williams selling his brand on QVC.  Double heck, QVC sells 9, yes 9! different brands of pressure cookers, electric and stove top models combined. Yes, I do Q. And if you know what that means, here’s a cyber {{ hug}} to a fellow Q’er.

But even with all this, uh, “pressure” to get one, it wasn’t until I read Pomai’s (Tasty Island) post about his first pressure cooker that finally made me hit that “buy” button. Of course I did a bit of research on all the various brands and features before I bought one. The only thing I knew before that was I wanted a stove top version versus an electric one. In the end, I got a great deal on the Duo Combi 5-Piece Set that came with some accessories that I wanted.

Pomai owns the Rapida 6-quart model. If you check out his post, you’ll see it’s quite large, handles a good amount of food. It has one setting (the standard 15 psi) and various accessories available directly from Fagor for those who like to accessorize. The one I bought, the Duo line, comes with a 4-quart as well as an 8-quart pot, a glass lid, steamer and trivet, and it has 2 psi settings (8 and 15). The Duo line also offers a 4-Quart and 6-Quart versions. Most of the recipes I’ve seen use the standard 15 psi setting. So if you want the combo set but not the extra psi setting, there’s also a Rapida 5-piece set available. The cheapest I’ve seen so far is from Costco.

The first thing I tested was white rice. I used a pot-in-pot method to eliminate scorching of the rice, which apparently can happen sometimes. I used the trivet that came with the set and a stainless steel bowl that fit into the 8-quart pot. Using Miss Vickie’s rice chart as a guide to start, I added 1 cup of  washed white short grain rice to 1 1/2 cups of water in the stainless steel bowl. I added another 1/2 cup of water to the pot for the steaming action. Once it got up to pressure, cooked the rice for 8 minutes and used the natural release method. The rice wasn’t completely done so I brought it up to pressure again and cooked for another 6 minutes and natural release. This time the rice was cooked but a bit too soggy. So I tried it again, this time with only 1 1/4 cup of water to rice ratio and a total of 14 minutes cooking time. Perfect! Now I was ready to cook up some ribs!

I followed Pomai’s recipe for the most part but I made some modifications so it’s Paleo friendly (which also happens to be gluten free). It turned out really good although it was a little too much pineapple for us. I would have liked more daikon so next time I’m going to adjust the amount a bit more heavily on the daikon. Like slow cookers, I’ve read that some dishes can lack a certain depth in taste that slow stove top cooking (braising) has. So I decided to brown the ribs first just like I would if I was going to use a slow cooker, which leads to another benefit with a pressure cooker other than speed. I can brown and cook all in one pot. This is something that I can’t do with my slow cooker although there are some slow cookers out there (not many) that can do this. But a slow cooker can’t cook my ribs in 10 minutes!

Adapted from Pomai’s Tasty Island

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb pork spare ribs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or Canola oil)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 medium daikon, peeled and diced into 1″ cubes
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced into 1″ cubes
  • 1 cup low sodium Tamari sauce (or shoyu)
  • 1 cup maple sugar (or granulated sugar or brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 can (20 oz) of chunk pineapple in 100% pineapple juice, including the juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Cut the spare ribs into pieces that will fit into the pot. I had to cut mine into 2 pieces to fit. Salt and pepper the ribs. 

Heat oil on medium heat. Add ribs and brown on both sides. Take out the ribs and cut into individual riblets. I did it this way because it was faster than browning each individual riblet. It’s up to you.

Add riblets back into pot as well as all the other ingredients: ginger, carrots, daikon, Tamari sauce, sugar, cider vinegar, pineapple and its juice.

Close and lock the lid properly.

Bring cooker up to 15 psi using high heat. As soon as cooker is at 15 psi, turn the heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes. Make sure the timing starts after the cooker has come to pressure. It took about 2 minutes or so to come to pressure in my cooker. I used the 8-quart pot although the 4-quart pot would have been plenty big.

After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the cooker from the stove. Let the pressure reduce naturally, which took about 10 minutes. And when you open the lid, you’ll get something like this!

There you have it! My first pressure cooker and delicious local style ribs (thanks, Pomai!) in about 32 minutes. Total prep time was about 10 minutes, including browning (I diced the veggies while browning the ribs), 2 minutes to get up to pressure, 10 minutes of cooking time, 10 minutes of naturally reducing pressure. One other thing, clean up was easy, 1 pot + 1 lid. I’ve also steamed fresh beets in my pressure cooker. These were some gigantic beets I got at the Farmer’s Market, bigger than the Mister’s fist and it took about 25 minutes to get to the tenderness that we like. It would have taken longer to boil and even longer in the oven. So needless to say I’ll be using the pressure cooker for many more things.

2 Comments

  1. Aloha Cab,

    Just to clarify, I have the Fagor 6-quart Rapida Pressure Cooker model. Not the 4-quart, which I think would be too small, considering these pressure cookers need 1/3 its capacity FREE in order to build pressure.

    Diggin’ the adaptaptation of maple sugar to the ss.spare ribs recipe, which surely must have given it more depth.

    • Aloha Pomai! Oops, thanks for the clarification! The other pot that came with my set is a 4 quart so maybe I had that stuck in my head. I made the correction to the post. I agree that a 6-quart pot would be an ideal size to start with. I think the 4 quart would be nice to cook vegetables with but you’re right, anything larger than say a head of cauliflower would be too large. I say cauliflower since that’s what Fagor shows in the 4 quart on its website.

      Thanks on the Maple Sugar. It turned out ono and just a tad less sweet than regular sugar or brown sugar. I’m waiting to see how your oxtail turned out!

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