Mealtime just got a makeover around here. Dinner doldrums and ruts be gone . . . there’s a new pressure cooker in town.
Ok, maybe I’m being a little over-dramatic, but there is a reason that the Instant Pot has become all the rage. Open Pinterest and there are countless recipes to whet your appetite; look it up on Amazon and your mind will spin at all the different options.
I’m not a food photographer — nor am I a food writer or critic — but I am a mom who, after over 20 years, was in desperate need of a good shovel to dig me out of the dinner rut. Enter the Instant Pot.
The second it arrived, Husband said “Oh, it’s just a pressure cooker! My mom had a pressure cooker — one of those that sat on the stove.” I never cooked with a pressure cooker before because they terrify me.
One wrong move and . . . KAPOW!
The Instant Pot is different, I learned. There seem to be safety measures in place for trying to pull off the cover too soon. It’s easy to operate — electric so it plugs into the wall and has a timer for everything. The pressure valve twists easily — and the inner pot (where you do all your cooking) is removable and cleans up in a flash. But that’s not the best part.
It’s so FAST and everything comes out tasting like it’s been on the stove simmering — or in the oven braising — for hours. (You braise things in the oven, right? I’m not too sure about that, but it sounded good.)
Baked sweet potatoes? Five minutes. Stroganoff? 7 minutes. Lamb stew? 20 minutes. Bone broth? Just about an hour (if memory serves, but of course, that’s going). That’s been my whole repertoire — until last night.
Last night, I made butter chicken. Butter chicken is one of my favorite Indian dishes and, other than making a little curry from time to time, I have shied away from tackling Indian food. Why, when the restaurants downtown are SO GOOD?
But yesterday I also started a month of Whole30 eating. Pinterest came to the rescue and this recipe didn’t seem too taxing. The long pole was the cutting up of the chicken — but you could cut all that out and just put in the whole pieces. Since I always opt for following the recipe closely the first time, I spent about 20 minutes chopping. Then another few minutes to saute the onions — right in the pot.
After that? 8 minutes of Instant Pot wonder.
While the Instant Pot was working its magic, I doctored up a bag of cauliflower rice. I first sauteed some almond meal — my go-to mock breadcrumbs — in some coconut oil. Then, using the same cast iron pan, I threw in the cauli rice. Sauteed that with some garlic and cilantro flakes — and a little bit of salt — and then threw in my almond crumbs.
When I finally removed the top of the Instant Pot, the house smelled like a delicious Indian restaurant. Paprika, tumeric, garlic, and garam masala filled the air. I had to taste — and when I did, I was stunned at how tender the chicken was. If there had been bones, it would have fallen off the bone.
Husband’s eyes lit up when he took a bite. When we were cleaning up, he announced happily that we have enough for dinner tonight.
As for me . . . I’m in heaven. I went back to work yesterday and I love to cook — but I hate the tedium of doing it every night. My new Instant Pot has brought dinners back to life around here. What better way to start in January?