Sunday, January 17, 2016

Instant Pot- Indian Butter Chicken

Last post I briefly mentioned my Instant Pot. It definitely has a learning curve if you're not used to using a pressure cooker but little by little I am figuring this out and getting more and more excited using it.

I received my Instant Pot as a Christmas present from my awesome in-laws who happened to find the bluetooth enabled version during an amazon lightening deal which brought the price down to the same as a non-bluetooth one. Score! At first I was thinking "geez bluetooth? Why would I need to control my pressure cooker from the next room instead of just getting up and walking to the kitchen?" However, after using my cooker for several recipes I can actually say "I get it!" and am relishing the usefulness of this feature. That said, if you are looking to buy one and it's not on sale, I would hesitate to recommend the one with bluetooth which is nearly $60 more than the standard 6qt Instant Pot. I'm not sure yet if it is really worth the extra money. Would I miss it if I didn't have it? Time will tell. For now, I am pretty psyched to have this extra feature and play around with it.

With the bluetooth, I can download the Instant Pot app onto my phone/iOs device and either find a recipe and press the start button (which starts the Instant Pot and runs the recipe program, adjusting the temp and pressure as needed automatically. It also sends you alerts if any actions need to take place on your part.) OR I can write my own recipes and plug them into the app to run my own program. Pretty neat.

The concern I had with bluetooth enabled is, what if I end up getting a new phone, the app or bluetooth function becomes glitchy, or I don't want to use this function? Well, the Instant Pot works totally normal without the bluetooth function, so if you don't want or can't use it then it works exactly like the standard non-bluetooth pot. No biggie.

After receiving my Instant Pot, reading the manual, and then scouring the internet (I'm nodding at you, Pinterest) for recipes and tips I started slow with things like squash, other veggies, rice, a few meals, and finally yogurt. So far everything has been pretty much a hit. I don't think I will ever cook butternut, spaghetti, or acorn squash, or any type of potato any other way. Roughly 8-10 minutes of pressure cooking time and I've got perfectly cooked squash that is super moist and easily mashed. Such a time saver.

Check out Hip Pressure Cooking for a plethora of recipes, reviews, and tips for your electric pressure cookers. Also, NomNomPaleo has a few wonderful recipes, one of which is Michelle Tam's bone broth. I made three batches the other day with chicken bones and chicken feet left over from our neighbor-friend's meat birds they just butchered (I admit I dry heaved a little putting those feet in my pot). My daughter eagerly drank FOUR helpings of the super healthy broth. Nom Nom indeed!

I'll leave you with this amazing recipe by Barbara Schieving's blog "Pressure Cooking Today".

Pressure Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

Yield: 6 - 8 servings
  • 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cans (14 oz.) diced tomatoes and juice
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds (roast on the stovetop in a small pan)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed minced cilantro

  1. Cut the chicken pieces into quarters.
  2. Put tomatoes, jalapeno and ginger in a blender or food processor and blend to a fine puree.
  3. Add butter to pressure cooking pot, select Browning. When butter is melted and foam begins to subside, add the chicken pieces, a few at a time, and sear until they are nicely browned all over (about 2-3 minutes per batch). Remove them with a slotted spoon into a bowl and put aside.
  4. Add ground cumin and paprika to the butter in the pot and cook, stirring rapidly, for 10-15 seconds. Add the tomato mixture, salt, cream, yogurt and chicken pieces (with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl) to the pot. Gently stir the chicken to coat the pieces. Cover and lock lid in place. Select High Pressure and 5 minutes cook time. When timer beeps, turn off and use a natural pressure release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes use a quick pressure release to release any remaining pressure.
  5. Stir in the garam masala and roasted cumin. Whisk together cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir in to sauce in the pot. Select sauté and bring to a boil. Turn off pressure cooker and stir in minced cilantro.
  6. Serve with rice and naan.
My alterations:
1. Cowboy isn't keen on chicken thighs so I used a bunch of chicken breasts chunked, added extra spices, and left out the jalapeno since the kiddo would be eating it.
2. After I pureed the tomatoes and ginger, I slow mixed in the salt, cream, and yogurt to the blender.
3. Next time I would try a little less butter. The butter and chicken splattered a ton while sauteeing. Either use less butter altogether or saute chicken in less butter then add the rest of the butter called for later.
4. Because I used breast meat, I was afraid of overcooking them so I just sauteed until no longer pink, not fully browned. Did not affect the flavor one bit.
5. I did not remove the chicken from the pot but just added the cumin and paprika to the already sauteeing chicken and stirred around for a few more seconds. Then I added the blender full of tomato mixture to the pot. This saved dirtying extra utensils and saved a little time. Worked out great.

I made Jasmine rice using this recipe which made me want to throw my old rice cooker away it was so good! Are you kidding me? ONE minute of pressure cooking time followed by a 10 minute natural pressure release and I had absolutely perfect rice!

I was in the cooking mood and L-bug was busy either entertaining herself or jumping in here and there to "help mama" stir or measure out ingredients so I decided to cook up some potatoes to go with the meal. Here's the Roasted Potato recipe. I used red potatoes and my homemade bone broth for the stock then sprinkled with coarse Kosher salt afterwards. Cowboy raved about these potatoes. We don't really eat many non-sweet potatoes but these might be a total game changer.

Stay tuned for my adventure in pressure cooking yogurt!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Time Is Just Slippin' Slippin'

It's been forever since I blogged last but there was a moment of crazy uncertainty about little man and also complications with my body so I just had to chill for a bit. Actually little man is doing JUST FINE! and as it turns out my body (specifically my placenta) is also hanging in there.

I'm not going to go into an entire birth story but let's just do a semi-short version where at time of delivery baby L-bug's head was cock-eyed and face up leading to a not so easy labor. 36hrs heard me right.....and several attempted interventions led to a c-section because although baby was taking it like a champ, mama was getting really sick and there was no way L-bug was going to fit down that tunnel.

Post c-section and the sound of an amazing little cry from L-bug, mama hemorrhaged. No bueno. Several packs of blood products and a few extra hospital nights stay and everyone was home safe and healthy. THEN two weeks later I hemorrhaged again at home. Smarty pants critical care nurse in me says, stalling to go to the hospital again, "well I don't think that's a lot of blood. I mean, I've totally seen worse."

Yeah, it was a LOT of blood and I should have gone into the ER sooner. All was good though and I got shipped off to a bigger hospital where I received more blood products and a pelvic embolization after finding a very rare AVM (Arterial-Vein Malformation: the artery to vein pathway is mixed up, usually seen in brains more often than any other part of the body) in my uterus which may or may not have caused the bleeding. **A pelvic embolization means that under sedation they poked a hole in the artery of my groin, threaded a catheter up through the artery and into my uterus's main blood stream, and shot in a bunch of teeny tiny beads that expanded and clotted off the cause of the bleeding.

Ten days later, after a closeful watch that there was no more bleeding, I was discharged (L-bug got to stay with me the entire visit!) and this time everyone was truly healthy and happy. I was assured the embolization wouldn't affect future fertility and indeed this past August we implanted little man. Because of the embolization though, I was at high risk for a not so nice thing called placenta accreta. This means abnormal areas in your placenta which, although doesn't affect the health or growth of the baby, can adhere to the uterus and (in severe cases) grow through the uterus and attach to the bladder and bowels. Placenta accreta leads to an extremely high risk of hemorrhaging leading to an hysterectomy: Ugh not again!

The docs thought they saw some holes or "lakes" in my placenta and I had to wait until a recent ultrasound to verify there was no blood flow to them meaning everything is great. So, here I am now, on my home stretch of pregnancy and feeling great. Docs are insisting on a c-section due to my incredible history which I am fine with and Cowboy is going to donate blood ahead of time just in case. Ward off the bad ju-ju.

On a side note, after scouring the internet for information on second pregnancies and c-sections I am incredibly irritated by the ignorant opinions (always stated as facts, mind you) towards women who schedule c-sections. There are pages and pages of people saying why not to get a c-section and how vaginal deliveries or VBACS are the "best thing" for your baby and your body and "you should just try". Seriously? I had planned to have both my children delivered through the chute, and as naturally as possible, but in the end you have to decide what is safest and healthiest for both parties. In many many cases women are completely unable to do this and a c-section is indeed the healthiest and safest delivery route for baby and mama's health (I consider avoiding tearing end to end with a stage IV to be medical reasoning enough to have  a C-section as that event can emotionally and physically handicap you for life). C-sections are still a birth and not exactly a pleasant piece of cake either. People need to shut their yaps when they have no idea what they are talking about.  It's infuriating.

Anyways, Little man "R" is kicking like the little cowboy he is and practicing his rodeo skills. He is STRONG, I tell you. I don't recall L-bug being this much of a heavy hitter. L-bug is working on her big sister-ness, doling out tea at her little tea parties (sugar and cream please, stirred not shaken), learning her ABCs and crayon colors, and fostering a healthy addiction to stickers. She's so super awesome in every way possible.

Meanwhile, I've been homesteading and starting to feel the nesting wash over me. I want to clean and organize everything. I received an Instant Pot for Christmas and I am making all kinds of things in it!!! This thing is awesome! I've got yogurt going in it as we speak and I'm finding new recipes on Pinterest. You guys, if you haven't explored the endless depths of Pinterest I'm tell you you must. It is so addicting and a wealth of info on all sorts of topics.

I will be back to give you tried and true recipes using my Instant Pot! I promise!!!