Thursday, October 23, 2014

Simple Pressure Cooked Brown Rice and Tofu (No Added Fat)

I teach photography many Thursday nights and usually stop to eat out on the way home. Tonight, I had a desire for a tofu dish; since my wife, who doesn't eat tofu (she can't digest it well) and the rest of the family had eaten, I decided to try a simple tofu and rice dish in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and use this opportunity to try cooking rice under pressure; I picked up some medium grained brown rice.

Back in July, I enjoyed my experiment with 3-minute pressure cooked tofu. But I wanted a simple dish with one cooking time. I knew that the ingredients other than the rice may be overcooked, but I decided to add all the ingredients and cook together.

I found different approaches to cooking brown rice in the Instant Pot:
  • The company's website suggests a rice to water ratio of 1 : 1.25, and a high pressure cook time of 22-28 minutes
  • A site called Simply Daily Recipes describes cooking with the same ratio for 22 minutes, letting it stay for another 10 minutes in the default "keep warm" mode, then releasing the remaining pressure slowly and serving.
  • The pressure cooker itself has a multigrain button. By default, it cooks in 40 minutes - but that's not much savings over 45m being cooked conventionally on the stove, though I did read on the company's site that pressure cooked rice tastes better. With the multigrain button, the adjust button could be used:
    • Less cooks in 20m - but would this cook fully?
    • More soaks the grains for 45m then pressure cooks for 60m, and is recommended "for harder grains such as dry split corn" (I'm not familiar with dry split corn.) It's neat that grains can automatically be soaked!
I decided to try the second approach, but am intrigued about the 20m third approach, and will have to try it sometime.

  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 3/4 x 1.25 (i.e., about a cup) cup water
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • 1 1/2 cups of large 3/4" cubes of tofu (it ended up being about 10 ounces from a 16 ounce packet of tofu with herbs)
  • 3 cloves garlic roughly cut into 1/4" or so cubes
  • 1/2 medium onion cut into 3/8" x 1" cubes (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper cut into 1/4"x1/2" cubes (approximately 1/2 of a medium pepper)
  • Approximately 1/2 t salt

  1. I put all of the ingredients into the Instant Pot pressure cooker, stirred, and cooked on high pressure for 22 minutes.
  2. I let the pot stay in its keep-warm mode for 10 minutes, then slowly let out the remaining pressure. (I actually got busy doing something else and let it go for about 14m.)


Dinner was good! The rice was cooked nicely to a welcome fluffiness, and there was no sticking to the instant pot surface, for easy cleanup. Surprisingly, the tofu and vegetables didn't seem to suffer by the extra cooking, though I'd prefer the pepper less soft. I was also surprised that the rice, while quite nice, had a few kernels that were a bit undercooked and crunchy. I hesitate to add much more cooking time without more liquid as the liquid was just fully absorbed without any rice sticking to the pot.

The tradeoff of being able to cook everything at one time is well worth the soft peppers, in my mind. I don't understand why the tofu didn't really degrade with longer cooking.

Ideas for the future

Next time, I think I'll try one or two more minutes of cook time. I was thinking of adding jalapeno, but am sending some with my daughter's lunch tomorrow, so kept the dish from being spicy. I did add some hot sauce at the table. I should explore making similar dishes in the future with a bit more flavor, such as with Brussels sprouts or other vegetables, and with some turmeric, perhaps.

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