A few days ago, I took delivery of an Instant Pot
IP DUO 60 (6 quarts). It is a programmable pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, and yogurt maker. The idea of getting an Instant Pot came from exploring making homemade vegan yogurts. I've never before done pressure cooking, but now I will be able to explore that world, as well as having a larger slow cooker (6 quart stainless steel cooking bowl vs. 1.5 quart ceramic one in the dedicated slow cooker).
For rice, I nowadays use quick cooking whole-grain rices like Madagascar pink, jade pearl, and brown basmati, and will probably continue using my Saladmaster
and other stock stainless steel pans, and stick with the dedicated Zojirushi
rice cooker for longer cooking rices (I found a nice article on cooking rice
). I don't steam often but hope that this Instant Pot will work well to retire the plastic consumer vegetable steamer that I have.
Today, I was thinking of steaming kale, but then thought instead of making a kale soup. I found a kale soup recipe
on the Instant Pot website (submitted by Sandra K. - I hope to start submitting my own recipes)
- Onion cut into 1/2" cubes
- 3 Broccoli stalks (not florets); after cutting off 3/4" or so from the end, chopped into 3/4" pieces and then quartered
- Leaves roughly hand-cut into approximately 1" pieces from a stalk of kale
- Vegan bouillon cube
- 2 links of vegan apple-sage Field Roast sausage cut into 1/2" lengths
- Pinch or two of garlic powder, salt, and freshly ground black pepper
- I put all of the ingredients except the sausage and black pepper into the Instant Pot and added enough water to cover the ingredients.
- I programmed the Instant Pot for 6 minutes of pressure cooking at high pressure (the Instant Pot uses a lower pressure than non-programmatic pressure cookers, so this recipe would cook in less time using a traditional pressure cooker) and let it go. All this meant was selecting the "soup" setting, keeping the pressure release in "steam" mode, and manually dialing down the time to 6 minutes.
- Once the beeper went off that the soup was done, I opened the lid (being careful so that the little escaping steam was directed away from me), added the sausage and black pepper, stirred, and served.
I served the soup with rice (I sautéed some onion and 4 finely chopped Brussels sprouts, then added about 2/3 cup of Bhutanese red rice, 1 1/2 times as much water, and a cube of vegan bouillon cube, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes). A simple salad of locally grown pea shoots topped with heirloom tomato slices and hemp seeds completed the meal.
I call this almost no-added-fat because the only substantial source of fat was the vegan sausage. It has 10g of fat per link, but the soup was more than enough for the three of us, with at least 2 or 3 servings remaining as leftovers. I also ate three bowlfuls, so this really made at least 8-10 servings, or about 2-3 grams of fat per serving.
I am not sure that this brand new machine was working correctly, as steam came out for the whole cycle after coming up to heat, and ended with a diagnostic code that it hadn't hit the full pressure. I'll ask the manufacturer about this. (The manual is well written and gives good guidance, but in this case one of the suggested solutions is to call.)
That said, the soup seemed to be done. I thought that it was pretty good, but had too much broth; I'd make it with at least a third less water next time. It could have used a bit more flavor; perhaps some stewed tomatoes would have been good, as well (were I not cooking for my child, too) as some jalapeno.
My daughter liked the soup, but my wife "didn't dislike" it. She found that I didn't cut the kale down to small enough pieces, and found the soup more like a stew, and difficult to eat. She thought that this was a good first try with the Instant Pot.
The rice was good. I don't remember when I last used Bhutanese short-grained rice. I do like it, but much prefer Madagascar pink or jade pearl. I liked the pea shoots but neither my wife nor my daughter did.
Ideas for the future
I need obviously to ensure that the new Instant Pot is properly working. I am looking forward to using it for preparing dry beans
, soaked or not. My wife doesn't like steamed vegetables, unfortunately, but I do want, at least as side dishes (that hopefully she's tolerate), to steam kale and other vegetables with this pot. Here are some things that I soon want to try with the Instant Pot:
- I found a good baked bean recipe using navy or northern white beans (the beans are soaked overnight then rinsed, pressure cooked for 10m then froth removed, and finally pressure cooked for 45m with onion, garlic, molasses, maple syrup, mustard powder, vinegar, black pepper, salt, and water)
- Jill Nussinow ("The Veggie Queen") has a book as well as online recipes for vegan pressure cooking
- I was happy to find a blog of healthful vegan dishes called Plant-Based Junkies with a black-eyed pea soup recipe that looks tasty and easy (all the ingredients are cooked under pressure for 6 minutes - diced sweet potato, chopped spinach, broth, black-eyed peas, tomato, garlic and onion powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, thyme, and liquid smoke)
- Healthy Girl's Kitchen has a very nice red lentil chili recipe from my friend Chef AJ
- Plant-based fitness expert Lani Meulrath has a nice review of the Instant Pot that includes a variety of recipe ideas such as cooking lentils and potatoes
- A recipe for "Gagoots" (zucchini) that combines the pot's sauté and pressure modes sounds good
- Instant Pot has a number of recipes online - I hope to contribute some of mine - and a small recipe book that comes with the machine
- fastcooking.ca has a good list of hints about pressure cooking
- As to yogurt, hip pressure cooking has a video about making yogurt in the Instant Pot. A fellow Food for Life instructor suggested using Miyoko Schinner's cashew yogurt recipe, which sounds great (I've met Miyoko and had tasty cheese that she demoed)
I know that this is the tip of the iceberg even just about pressure cooking. I am impressed with the solid build quality of my new appliance and the promise of all that it can do, and look forward to exploring especially mixed cooking (maybe a sauté, followed by slow cooking and ending with pressure cooking) with my new Instant Pot.