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.

Monday, March 18, 2019

INSTANT POT: Vegan Baked Beans EASY - a mistake that turned out okay

Vegan Baked Beans - SUPER EASY - Instant Pot

I want to caveat that you should take all precaution in using the Instant Pot and you should follow all instructions as presented.

I did a few things wrong trying to make homemade VEGAN baked beans:

1. I thought the bag was 1 lb not 2lbs
2. I didn't read the note about not exceeding the 50% mark for stuff that expands. 

That I don't quite get. What is the point of getting a 6 Qt instant pot to replace a 6Qt crock pot if I can't use the full 6Qts?!! I feel like I should have been told. I wouldn't have wanted an 8 Qt because I'd be scraping my 1-2 person portions of Jook off the bottom of a too big pot.

I think somethings worked in my favour though:

1. I thoroughly presoaked the beans from the early evening to the morning on the counter, not the fridge.  In the morning, there was no water left and the beans which were flat, an inch below the lip of the big bowl were a mound above the lip.  I added more water and I did other stuff while waiting.
2. Navy beans don't expand that much.
3. I don't like heavily salted nor sweet food.  I had put the spices for the 1lb version of a few different recipes so it was fine for me, a tad bland for my husband who added Green Tobasco, and he thought it was great.  I added Chipotle hot sauce and it was good too.

I was a bit nervous when I realised I had passed the 50% mark of the Inner Pot but I hadn't passed the 2/3 mark.  I was having visions of the beans pushing up against the lid and either clogging the venting thing or exploding.  I don't know why I didn't just stop it.  It was well into the cook by the time I realised it and maybe morbid curiosity. Don't try that at home!

In the end, it was fine.  Acutally, the final product was exactly, if not slightly below the level in the pot that I had started the cooking at.  Which I think, goes to the good pre-soak of the beans.  So to be honest, I will probably do the same again but with the appropriate amount of spices.  But the water was even okay because of the presoak.  They weren't dry and I didn't have to add more water!!!!

The recipe below is what I did.  And it was 'fine' as far basic taste.  Below the main ingredient list, I will put what I WILL DO next time.

VEGAN BAKED BEANS - Simply and Easy 

2 lbs or one bag of Navy Beans, rinsed throughly and soaked for at least 10-12 hours on the counter with at least 2 inches of water over the beans all the time.  Discard any discoloured or rotten beans.

1 medium tennis ball sized Onion, finely minced (finely bc I want them to melt so my toddler who hates Onions can't complain)
1 t Olive Oil (or leave out and use 1/4 broth... or skip the prefry all together.
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tube (6oz can) Tomato Paste
2 t Paprika
1 t dried Thyme
2 T Maple Syrup
3 T Molasses
4 cups Veggie Broth or Water
1 t Salt
1/4 c Cider Vinegar
1 t Liquid Smoke

Drain and rinse the beans one last time, the morning of.

Open the Instant Pot and put on the Sautée function.  A bunch (dozens) of recipes I skimmed all said to do this so for the first go around, I followed along.  Next time, it will be a set it and forget it approach.  The Onions will melt away anyway... also, my toddler woke up complaining that the house smelled of onions :D.

Add 1 tsp of Oil and the Onions.  Sautee until softened, about 3-5 minutes.

Add the beans, spices and the Water.  Set to the Bean/Stew function and set to cook to 60 minutes and after that Natural Release.

Shockingly, it turned out ok.  Primarily because I presoaked the beans for so long and the type of bean.  I find that Chickpeas nor Split Peas don't puff up on a presoak as well as the Navy's did.  That said, I didn't pass the 2/3 mark.  It was in between but in the end the Water level was exactly or less than when I loaded it up.  Here are the proportions I would change for next time:

2 medium Onions, minced
1 T Paprika
1/2 T Thyme
2 6oz cans or 2 tubes of Tomato Paste
1/4 c Maple Syrup
1/4 c + 1T Molasses
1 1/2 t Salt
1 T Cider Vinegar (maybe it's because ours is old?  but it added a funky background flavour that my husband did not like) Ricardo uses Balsamic BUT I don't want to mix up recipes just yet.  Because he also uses ketchup instead of Tomato Paste which I think would make it too sweet.
2 t Liquid Smoke

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Disclaimer, use your Instant Pot as directed!  This isn't the hurt locker!  It ain't worth it for beans.

INSTANT POT - Brown Rice Jook - 죽 aka Congee trial #2

8:1 Water to Brown Rice Brown Rice Jook - 죽 aka Congee trial #2

Ok, I thought, it's the weekend, I'll immediately do another one since I have time and I have to figure out if I'm keeping the Instant Pot and sell my rice cooker ;)

This time, I upped the water and eliminated the White Jasmine Rice completely.  I know that Jasmine has a lot of starch and lots of people seem to like it for congee but I think I prefer regular Asian short grain.  Anyhoo, my goal is to reduce the white  rice to the lowest a Jook - 죽 can tolerate. 

This time it didn't turn out great.  It still tasted okay and it thickened with extra sitting time and later re-heating.  But off the bat to eat right out of the pot, not great.

Brown Rice Jook - 죽 aka Congee trial #2 - FAIL (too watery)

1/2 c Brown Short Grain Rice
1 l or 4 cups Water

2 T Quinoa
2 T Pot Barley
1 T minced Dried Mushroom (mainly for flavour. optional)
1/2 t Salt
3/4 c Water

Porridge Setting 35 minutes.  Venting set to sealed. 

Let it sit the full 'natural release', until the little metal thingy in the lid drops... i.e. no manual release of the valve.

After a stir, it was a bit less water than the photo but it was still quite loose. 

Served with Sesame Seeds, Chia, Dried Fried Onions, Cilantro and Smoked Tofu.

Next trial will put back some White rice and cut back the water.

Friday, March 15, 2019

INSTANT POT - Brown Rice Jook (Congee or Rice Porridge) 죽

Brown Rice Jook 7:1
I did it.  I bought an Instant Pot.  I got tired of boil overs on my rice porridge or as Koreans call it Jook - 죽.  Or as Chinese or most caucasians in North America call it Congee.  Basically a peasant food meant to extend rice during times when Rice was a rare commodity... not bought in 15kg bags by mom.  I even tried to cook rice and then re-cook it in the Rice Cooker or just add 'too' much water to the Rice Cooker.  Both ended in a goopy disaster.  Seriously, don't try it.  I have (had) a simple Aroma Rice Cooker because it rated tops against some $300 heavy hitters on Cook's Illustrated.  But it didn't have a porridge setting.  I research spiralled myself into a Cuckoo that has a pressure function BUT the inner lining didn't remove and that grossed me out so I returned it.  Thank you Amazon!  So then I replaced with the Aroma, deciding that just having not to babysit a pot to do Brown Rice alone was worth it and being able to have Jook everyonce in a while was not worth 200 bucks!  

Then over my Jan/Feb cleanse, when I was eating alot of Jook, I got super tired of the boil overs and babysitting and even brown rice, sometimes I didn't want to wait the 2.5 hours that my rice cooker takes to make brown rice, I tried to turbo boil it on the stove and that boils over so easily with the bubbles no matter how much you wash your rice before.  Anyhoo, i then decided my time and frustration was finally worth the $200 plus, now Instant Pot closed that gap to just like $100 or even just $50 more if you buy a damaged box from Amazon.

Hubbo agreed, mainly out of practicality but I also suspect, to get me to agree to change a chair in the living room.  I added the added bonus after the fact, after he saw it was an Instant Pot and not just a fancy rice cooker, that MAYBE we could get rid of my crock pot.  He's not sure it's big enough because we bought a 6qt.  I'll do the measuring later.

Over the next few posts, I will post different proportions of Water and Brown Rice and White Rice.  I could not find any recipes on Jook or Congee directly from Instant Pot nor anyone who didn't put Chicken in it. 


Serves 2

1/2 c Brown Rice (I used short grain)
1/4 c Jasmine Rice (or short grain white)
3 tried Mushrooms, chopped into 1 cm sized pieces
1 inch Ginger, julienned (or chunks if you don't mind, I don't mind and after pressure cooking, it was SOFT)
2 cloves Garlic, sliced (this basically melted under pressure)

5 1/4 c Water (or veggie broth)
1/4 t Salt (optional)

1/4 c Grain/Lentil Mix (from Costco, it has lentils, quinoa, barley and dried onion)
1/2 c Water

With or without the Extra,  CLOSE and lock your Instant Pot, make sure the vent is on SEALED.  Choose "Porridge" and manually up the default time to 35 minutes.  The default time is presumably for White Rice or Oats.  Brown will need more time.

Now, let it 'Vent Naturally".  I heard from some posters, it gives the rice extra time to soften.  I may try just a longer cook time and a manual vent later.  What that means is the little silver do-hicky next to the vent will drop down into the cooker once the 'Pressure is Off and safe".  I'm afraid to ask or check but I'm not sure the lock is idiot-proof and I'm not about to test it.  So even after the "natural vent", I checked the manual to ensure it was ok.  Long story short "DO NOT TRY TO OPEN IT EVER DURING COOKING OR UNTIL PRESSURE IS OFF".

When you open it, it will look like a soupy mess.  I'd read that before about the brown Rice jooks because there's no stirring.  I tried jiggling the whole pot while cooking, careful not to touch any part of the lid, particularly not around the handles.  DO NOT TRY THIS PLEASE!!! but it didn't matter, I don't think.  Anyhoo, a quick stir of the pot and the lid back on for a few minutes, (it was still hot), and it looked great!

So this was TRIAL:  7 to 1, Water to RICE, 35 minute cook, natural vent.


Serve with Chopped Cilantro, Sesame Seeds, Chia Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Fried Onions, Green Onions, what ever you want.  

#congee, #Jook, #instantpot