Saturday, June 07, 2014

Kale-Asparagus-Seitan Waterless Medley, Brown Rice (prepared under pressure) (No Added Fat)

I have been excited about waterless cooking especially over the past month or so (see my explanation from May 11th). I decided to make a main course using this healthful technique.

I have been wanting as well to experiment with my Instant Pot in making brown rice. I believe that pressure cooking is less sensitive to the actual rice : water ratio, with more water resulting in a stickier rice and less water in a more fluffy rice. I like fluffy, so thought I'd try making rice with a bit less water than the 1 part rice : 2 parts water ratio and 50m way of traditionally cooking rice.

  • Bunch of kale, hand cut into approximately 1" pieces (stems discarded for compost)
  • Dozen asparagus spears; after cutting hardened inch or so off ends, cut into 3/4" lengths
  • Two baby red onions (not commonly found - alternately, a half dozen scallions), cut into 3/4" lengths with thicker bulb also halved
  • Half red bell pepper cut into approximately 1" x 1/4" strips
  • Two carrots cut into 1/4" slices
  • 8 ounces of seitan strips
  • Dash or two of salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • (Optional) hot sauce to taste


  1. I put the kale, asparagus, onion, bell pepper, carrot, and seitan in a 3 quart Salad Master stainless steel stock pan, ensuring that the pan was nearly full.
  2. I covered the pan (in hindsight, I could have first warmed the pan then added ingredients) and heated on medium high till I heard the vapor lock clicking.
  3. I then immediately reduced the heat to a low enough heat that the clicking just stopped, and cooked for 20m.
  4. I turned the heat off, opened the top, and mixed in the remaining ingredients.
I haven't cooked brown rice in a long time. I more typically use other whole grain rices like Madagascar pink, or brown and wild rice blends. Surprisingly, even on high, pressure cooking just reduces the time of cooking from 50m to 40m.

I didn't measure, testing how easy it is to quickly make brown rice with little effort, and added approximately 3/4 cup of brown rice to the Instant Pot. I could have also added a vegan bouillon cube, but just added enough water to more than cover the rice, but not be twice as much by volume. I selected the "Multigrain" button, which gave me a 40m high pressure cook. When the 40m were up, I let the pot slowly cool down, finally gently releasing remaining steam when I needed to serve.

Unfortunately, my Dad, visiting for a few weeks, wasn't feeling well and ended up in the hospital yesterday. He's stable and should be home within a few days. He wanted a little bit of food from home, and asked for mashed sweet potatoes. Sweet potato cubes are supposed to take about 7-9 minutes to cook in high pressure in the Instant Pot. To be sure they would be soft, I cut a sweet potato into 1 1/2" or so cubes and cooked with about 2" of baby red onion stalk cut into 1/4" pieces, along with about 1/2 cup of water, on high for 10 minutes. Mashed, and they were ready for my Dad.


I loved dinner! The vegetables were so tasty and even the thicker portions of asparagus were nicely cooked. I need to more regularly cook waterlessly.

I really liked the rice, too! It was indeed fluffier and somehow tastier than when I cook it in a rice cooker (surprise!) or in a standard pot. Maybe indeed pressure cooking will have me replace my excellent Zojirushi rice cooker?

The sweet potato came out well. I'll have to make mashed sweet potatoes for my wife, daughter, and myself.

Ideas for the future

I want to continue to experiment with brown rice in the pressure cooker so that it really does become a quick "throw it together" technique that does not require measuring. I should try a batch with an excess of water to see how the rice turns out.

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