Wednesday, April 03, 2019

SCRUMPTIONS MORISH Jamaican Pumpkin and Lentil Curry Stew Vegan INSTANT POT

I'm starting to love the Instant Pot for a couple of reasons, quite possibly unique to me.  I love my slow cooker but I don't like the idea of the amount of time and electricity it takes.  Also I'm not super super nuts about leaving it unattended either.  BUT i love the idea of flavours blending and amalgamating over time in a stew.   Then there's the smell.  Koreans and Indians have aversions to smells in their house.  Hence alot of houses designed specifically for Koreans or Indians often have what's called a "spice kitchen".  That's a small kitchen next to the real kitchen, about the size of an old fashioned butler's station.  The difference being there is a full oven in there and ventilation and it's fully enclosed.  That's because not only do Koreans cook smelly foods, we all do, hello? garlic! but Koreans like to use spices and oils that are very penetrating and clingy, particularly sesame oil.  It latches on to all synthetics.  So back to my Instant Pot.  I get the long stew effect without the long cooking time, which not only uses alot of electricity but alot of cooking smells in the house.  Not only does the Instant Pot do it quickly but once the pressure seal is up, the smells aren't coming out.  Like what I call the curry Lamp Berger into the house.  Also, I'm a bit of a germaphobe and the idea of food left freaks me out, like when you delay cook a slow cooker.  With the Instant Pot, I prep the night before or the same day and it's ready fast enough for that night's meal. 

This is a bit of a take on a stew I've done before in a slow cooker but I wanted to document for the Instant Pot. 

Jamaican Pumpkin and Lentil Curry Stew

2 lbs or 3-4 cups Jamaican Pumpkin (or Butternut Squash), 1 inch cubes (Sweet Potatoes will disintegrate)
3 medium-small Onions Diced

2 c Red Lentils washed and soaked overnight (you can do less but then don't exceed the 50% mark)
4 cloves Garlic minced
1 inch Ginger, brunois (means julienned then diced)
1 large can diced Tomatoes
3 cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth (maybe 1 cup extra water after cooking IF there's room)

1 t Black Mustard Seeds
2 t ground Coriander
1 t ground Cumin
2 t ground Turmeric
3 Kaffir Lime Leaves (optional but gives awesome curry flavour)
2-3 Jamaican Curry Powder
1 t Salt
Black Pepper
2-3 T ground Mushroom Powder (a necessity for Vegan/Vegetarian cooking to add depth)

1 can Coconut Milk (if you like it extra, add 2 cans, I wish I had but actually it was still DELICIOUS!)


Don't exceed the 2/3 mark.... the annoying thing I've discovered is the less the 'air space' in the pot, if the contents are largely solid, the longer the pot takes to get to pressure.  Lentils will take like 10 minutes or less in the Instant Pot but I was worried about the Pumpkin, so I set it for 20 minutes and it took more than 20 minutes for the little pressure sealing thing to pop up.  BUT in the process I discovered you can add a minute here and there.  My Cuisinart Slow Cooker and doesn't do that.  You have to shut and restart on mine anyway.  So I kept adding 3 minutes until it sealed and then added 5 minutes so it would be cooking at least 5 minutes under pressure. In total, I added 9 minutes. Probably didn't have to but I'm learning with this thing.  All the veg were well done and probably a little too done so maybe don't add the time.  I let it Natural Release.... again because of the lack of air space, meant that the Natural Release happened in like 5 minutes instead of the 20 it takes when I make a small portion of congee.

I was originally worried I didn't have enough Pumpkin so I added half a Sweet Potato.  In the end I had too much.  Anyhoo, when I added the Veg to the Pot, I had already mixed up the Sweet Potato and the Pumpkin so some Sweet Potato got in.  Under pressure for the amount of time I put on, it basically dissolved.  Which might be okay for you because some Squash soup recipes used canned puree.  The contrast of the smooth thickened broth and Squash pieces was nice.  I put the extra in a Ziplock and put it in the Freezer for a green curry another day.

This was SOOOOO good.  I mean sometimes when I make a big AND THIS IS A BIG pot like this, I'm sick of it by the end of the week, to be honest.  Not this time.  This makes like 10-12 servings.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

EUREKA - INSTANT POT - Brown Rice Jook - 죽 aka Congee trial #3 GOT IT!!!

I THINK I DID IT!  No white rice.  Ha!  And it is creamy and luscious even without the evil white carb :D

That said, I may try to push the water slightly.  If you like it soupy like a clam chowder... this might be a bit think for you.  But this is the way I like it.  It has the consistency of hearty Oatmeal.

What's the magical ratio you may ask?  Well, first I want to emphasize that this proportion works in the Instant Pot or a pressure cooker.  I can't guarantee that it will work in a regular pot.

5:1 Water to Rice!!!  It wasn't soupy at all when I first opened it like with the other ratios and what I've read from other bloggers.  It was the right consistency even without mixing.

PERFECT Brown Rice Jook - 죽 aka Congee trial

1/2 c Short Grain Brown Rice (washed and drained)

2 1/2 c Water or Veggie Stock

2 T Pot Barley
2 T Quinoa
1 t Mushroom Powder (ground dried Mushrooms... optional)
1 t Better than Boullion paste (optional if you've used Veggie Stock)
pinch salt aka 1/8 t of salt

1/2 C Water... if I leave out these additional grains, leave out the additional water.

Put into a 6 Qt Instant Pot on Porridge for 40 minutes.  Let it Natural Release.  I had gone out for my kid's soccer so it had been on Keep Warm for like an hour.  Maybe that helped.

It was PERFECT! AND no need for White Rice to add the starchy binder.  Yay!

#Congee, #Jook, #Porridge 죽

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

INSTANT POT - Vegan No Fat Split Pea Soup

Vegan, No Fat, Instant Pot Pea Soup
I'm on a mission to figure out why I can't manage to appropriately soften dried Yellow Peas.   Slow cooker results were variable and still aldente no matter how many hours and hours they cooked.  I thought this has got to be it!  Instant Pot will save to the day.  Well, yes and no.  It made homemade soup made the day of seam achievable.  I mean even with the slow cooker, it seemed like a big deal and even though I do it alot, I was never nuts about the idea of an unattended appliance for 6 hours, particularly since it gets SOOOO hot to the touch.  The Instant pot is slightly warm on the sides but the lid where it's not plastic does get hot.  I love the idea of flavours melding for hours but I don't like my house getting a dousing into the pores of food smells and in the winter it's highly inefficient, heatingwise, to leave a fan running all day to suck out the heat.

This pea soup is fast and super easy.  I did run a hand blender in it at the end but you don't have to.

Vegan No Fat Split Pea Soup

2 cups or 1 lb dried Yellow Split Peas
1 medium/large Onion, minced
4 cloves Garlic, sliced
1 large Carrot, diced SMALL... i don't like big chunks of carrot in a soup... blech
1 large or 2 medium stalks of Celery, diced small too
2 small Potatoes
1 1/2 t Himalayan Salt
2-3 t dried Thyme
1 1/2 T fresh Rosemary Leaves..  Now they are from brown woody stems, you'll want to strip the needles off and chop them.  If they are from green stems (we keep our rosemary indoors in the winter) then just remove the needles from the stems and just throw them in.
Black Pepper
2 Bay Leaves

8 cups of liquid:
4 cups Veggie Stock
4 cups Water with...
1 No/Low Salt Veggie Stock Cube
2 T Dried Mushroom Powder.... now, I'm writing it this way because this is how I made it and it was delicious and I want to remember what I did.  You can just as easily just do Veggie Broth

The night before.....

Wash and rinse the Yellow Peas and set aside in a large bowl with Water... make sure the water is at least a couple of inches above the peas.  I changed the water a couple of times during the evening but that's just me.  I like to avoid the scum in the pot.

I minced the vegetables and put them in a sealable container until the next morning... EXCEPT the Potatoes.  I don't want them to brown.  I just washed them and set them aside where I wouldn't forget to put them in :D  the next morning, peel and dice them into 1cm cubes

The morning of....

Drain and rinse the peas.... throw out any discoloured ones.

Dump into the instant pot with all the veg and veg cubes.  I minced the cubes into a powder since I won't be able to stir and didn't want chunks.  Add the Water/Broth.  Add the Potatoes.  Stir to combine.

Close the Instant Pot and set the vent to Sealed.  I chose the soup but could have picked beans/chili but this time I chose soup.  Alot of recipes I came across said 15 minutes ... quite a few.  No way in heck... maybe it's Canadian Yellow Spit Peas or the air pressure in my house but there's now way that that particular legume is getting cooked in 15 minutes.  I set the soup for 30 minutes.  I set a delay timer too.... WORD OF ADVICE. unlike my  rice cooker or my bread machine.  The delay timer on an Instant Pot is the time before the cooking starts.....NOT THE WARM UP and not including the TIME TO COOk.  The Rice Cooker and the Bread Maker, interpret delay for the time it should be ready and the time to cook or bake in included.  But for an instant pot a delay of 9 hours means after 9 hours, it will start the warm up of 3-5 minutes... or even more if the contents are cold or it's really full.  then the time to cook AND THEN natural release.  So when I got home, the soup was just done.  Literally.  I had hoped it was well after natural release .

Since the kids were hungry, I manually vented and then ran the hand blender for all of 30 s.  I wanted to leave texture but I wanted some creaminess.

I closed the pot and with the heat of the soup, it sealed again... which was good cuz dad and I ate later.

I may cut back some of the liquid next time but just for density of the soup.  Not the flavour.  It was SOOOO flavourful and comforting.  I will make this again and again which is why I wrote it with the way to achieve 8 cups of broth I did.