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Slow to the party

Early on in the initial Instant Pot craze, we bought one. It sat for a while before we tried it. I remember we made brown rice and were unimpressed. It did not compare favorably to the rice cooker. (We started using a rice cooker years ago, and I don’t think we could ever go back.) Maybe we made one other thing? And then the poor thing sat in a cabinet collecting dust for three years. Honestly, I thought about posting it to Freecycle more than once.

But my recent foray into Indian cooking provided a lifeline for my poor, neglected Instant Pot. I have been trying to go beyond individual recipes to learn the spices and ingredients. We got out of the habit of using cookbooks, but I am trying to learn a cuisine, not find a recipe, so cookbooks offer more background info and basic cooking tips. I check cookbooks out of the library first. One of the Indian Cookbooks I checked out is Pavani Nandula’s Vegetarian Indian Instant Pot Cookbook: Authentic Recipes Made Quick and Easy. Twice the learning! And this cookbook is one that I will buy. We have used the darn Instant Pot more in the past week than we have in the past three years. It’s quickly on its way to becoming indispensable now.

We made black-eyed pea stew and rice pudding. We used dried peas. My track record is not great using dried peas and beans. I mean, I want to. There are so many more options in dried versus canned beans. The recipe claimed that black-eyed peas were creamy and nutty. Sounded lovely, but you know what they say: your mileage may vary, and my results haven’t been great. But it was delicious, and the beans were perfect. We tried Bob’s Red Mill 13-bean soup mix again. It’s an amazing mix—navy, black, red, pinto, garbanzo, great northern, kidney, baby lima and large lima beans; black-eyed, yellow split and green split peas; and brown and red lentils. Our first outing with this mix was a disaster. We soaked the beans and used a crock pot. The beans were hard and crunchy. I think we finally switched to the stove. Only hours after starting did we finally have something edible.

This time, We cooked the beans in the Instant Pot, and an hour later, they were perfect. They tasted great with nothing added. It made a great soup.

Back to the Indian cookbook for tofu and sweet potato vindaloo. Yummy! We also used a heretofore unused attachment for our Kitchenaid immersion blender: the chopper attachment! Worked great for making the spice slurry for the vindaloo!

And suddenly, we are four for four with the Instant Pot!

I was looking for a way to clean the ring of the Instant Pot, and the internet delivered: a new foam craft paint brush dipped in some soapy water and dried with a washcloth made it good as new.

There are a few more recipes from Vegetarian Indian Instant Pot Cookbook to try including Mulligatawny Soup and Indian Mac and Cheese. If you have a favorite Instant Pot recipe or a favorite Indian dish, I hope you will reply to this email and share it!

Photo by Katherine Chase on Unsplash