Friday, December 2, 2016

Winter Squash Vadas and Brown Basmati Basmati Rice (Instant Pot Recipe)

Kobacha Squash Vadas in Korma Sauce

I have fallen madly in love with an electric pressure cooker, the Instant Pot (IP). I agonize over purchases since I like to keep my kitchen lean, but this kept on calling to me. If it wasn't for a birthday and a husband who was completely tired of discussing the pros and cons of an Instant Pot for several consecutive weeks, I would still be in my analysis/paralysis stage. 

What I find the most interesting about pressure cooking is something I haven't quite mastered: stacking multiple dishes in the cooker. For example, you can cook rice, dal, and steam vegetables in one pot. Indian cooks have mastered it, and I've been reading Indian cooking blogs and pressure cooking forums like crazy to try to learn how they do it.

Looking around the kitchen, I had a kobacha squash and some cashew/soy yogurt (also made in the IP) that were ripe for the picking. I also wanted to experiment with stacking, so I scoured my Indian cookbooks for a recipe using both. I came across a recipe for vadas, Indian dumplings that are either steamed or fried, and often added to a sauce. 

This experiment turned out great! While the rice was cooking and the vadas were steaming in the IP, I made the korma sauce and a mustard green stir-fry on the stovetop. The longest part of the process was grating the squash. While winter squash is in season I'm going to make these a lot! I bet they freeze well, too.
Raw vadas and rice, ready to be cooked

Winter Squash Vadas and Brown Basmati Basmati Rice
The vada recipe is adapted from Laxmi's Vegetarian Kitchen by Laxmi Hiremath.
Mix together all the ingredients listed below:
1 1/2 C grated winter squash (I used kabocha, but butternut and acorn squashes would work as well)
1-2 fresh chiles, minced
1/2 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
2 T besan (chickpea flour)
1/2 tsp each ground coriander, ground cumin, and salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
Shape the vadas into balls and place on an oiled steam tray that fits in your IP. I use a rack and try that came with my WMF stovetop pressure cooker. I was able to make 16 vadas with this recipe.

Steamed vadas!

Brown Basmati Rice
There are a lot of different methods I've read about for making brown basmati rice, but the following works for me. I like my rice firm, not mushy.
Measure the amount of rice you want. For the two of us, I use 1.5 cups. Rinse the rice well. In the Instant Pot, add an equal amount of water to dry rice (1:1). Add the rinsed, drained rice to the pot. 
Put a rack and the steaming tray with the vadas into the pot. Put the lid on, and set the valve to sealing. 
Cook the rice and vadas in Manual high mode for 22 minutes, then natural pressure release for 10 minutes.


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