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.