Instant Pot Coconut Rice

Instant Pot Coconut Rice

Soggy, strangely sweet, and topped with bland tofu, my first experience with coconut rice was terrible. It was also my first experience with tofu, and that probably didn’t help. Being seven years old didn’t really lean in my favor, either. I remember picking at my bowl and barely eating, even though the rule in our family was “you eat this now or you go hungry.” 

I eventually learned to like tofu, but managed to steered clear of coconut rice for twenty years, traumatized by that experience. So, I’m not really sure what possessed me one day in February when I decided to make my own coconut rice. I shocked myself further when, halfway through the first bowl I thought, needs more coconut, and served myself seconds. 

Instant Pot Coconut Rice
Instant Pot Coconut Rice

It turns out, I love coconut rice. That first sample was far too long ago for me to remember what was wrong with it. But, now I find myself on quite the coconut rice kick — it’s the perfect side for Thai dishes. 

All you need is rice, water, coconut milk and a sprinkle of salt. I find that the salt is necessary because it keeps it savory rather than sweet. In other applications, maybe you would want to swing more sweet and in that case you could skip the salt.

Of course, cooking it in an Instant Pot (affiliate link) is also key, which is the only way I cook rice because it’s fool proof and SO EASY. (I’m a home cook that tends to get distracted, or maybe just tried to juggle too many things at once. Cooking rice on the stove is a gamble: Will she burn it this time? But cooking rice in the Instant Pot is right on the mark every time, no matter how many other things I’m trying to do.)

Instant Pot Coconut Rice goes wonderfully with this Thai Basil Beef, or any stir fry, really.

Instant Pot Coconut Rice

Instant Pot Coconut Rice

Published April 24, 2018 by
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Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice 
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 pinches salt 
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut
  • Minced cilantro or green onions for garnish

Directions:

  1. Add rice, coconut milk, water, and salt to Instant Pot (affiliate link!) and set to Rice setting with the vent turned to the sealed position. Timer should be set for 12 minutes.
  2. When timer goes off, open vent to release pressure. Serve hot topped with minced cilantro/green onions and/or toasted coconut.

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The Tamale Project (Paleo Plantain Tamales v. Traditional Corn Tamales)

So this past weekend, on a bit of a whim, we drove down to Taos, New Mexico. The original plan had been to drive north, to Wyoming, but the menacing grey clouds over our own house had become so large that New Mexico was our closest escape to sunny weather. 

Since we decided no more than 5 hours before leaving the house where we were headed, we had a pretty limited plan, and a very limited idea of what we were headed towards. We drove and we drove, and what was a long drive felt short, thanks to the Serial Podcast

The sun was tucked behind the mountains by the time we arrived to the Taos area, and the only light was that deep glow you only get between sunset and nightfall. It was raining on and off and I was beginning to worry that we weren't going to escape the rain at all.

That's when it happened--right then, out of the blue. There was a sign that read "Rio Grande," which I read out loud, and then BOOM! There we were, 565 feet above the Rio Grande, on the Gorge Bridge. Welcome to New Mexico, the view said.

While I really wanted to stop right then to check it out, we needed a camp site. We hadn't eaten, it was getting dark, and our tent needed pitching. Did you know that finding an open campsite along the Rio Grande Gorge at 9pm on the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend is virtually impossible? You did? Oh. Lesson learned. Make a reservation. After looking and looking, we gave up, found a quiet dirt road, and pitched our camp alongside it. (This killed my Type-A insides. We had no idea if it was ok to camp there, and my mind was running circles of "what ifs". Turns out, you can camp anywhere in the BML lands around the gorge). 

So what does this all have to do with tamales? Well, my Dad's ancestors were some of the first to settle Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. Their Hispanic cooking flare has left a big mark on how I cook and what foods I crave. Tamales? Tamales are one of my all time favorites. I've been thinking about creating a Paleo tamale for probably as long as I've been following a Paleo diet. Being surrounded by so much hispanic culture and tromping through my ancestor's old lands pushed me over the edge. I had to make some tamales. I hurried home, and made two versions, one using corn masa (a sort of "control" to my experiment) and one using plantain, which is the Caribbean style, and Paleo-friendly, but new to me. The Tamale Project. 

I stuffed these tamales with leftover Green Chile Pork, but you could use Pork Mole or any sort of Red Chile Pork, too. The plantain masa was smoother and stickier than the corn masa, but it was almost the exact same color and was easy to work with. My hopes were high! I stack up a pile of both types of tamales, and got them ready for steaming. 

Here's a look at the final result: 

The verdict: Both were good. The plantain masa cooks a bit faster and comes out a bit darker in color. It holds it's shape really well, almost better than the corn masa. It's also a bit sweeter, and has a smoother texture. Overall--it's still a tamale. Still, I have to be honest with you, I preferred the corn version. I enjoy the slightly grain texture and classic flavor of corn masa. I guess I'm stuck in my ways! ;) In my book, The Tamale Project is not yet done. These plantain tamales are a good substitute (maybe even better if you aren't sitting there comparing it to the corn version), but I can see more experiments in my future. 

Until then, I'll lay out my recipes for Paleo Plantain Tamales here! And, of course, share a few pictures from the trip: 

Paleo Plantain Tamales

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Egg-Free    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

An experimental tamale recipe that uses plantains instead of corn masa.

Yields: 10   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups leftover Pork Chile Verde, sauce and meat roughly separated into different bowls
  • 2 green plantains
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons bone broth
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil or lard
  • 10 corn husks
  • Garnish: chopped lettuce, lime, cilantro

Directions:

  1. Peel the plantains, and chop them into 1 inch pieces. Add them to a blender along with the salt, baking soda, bone broth, and coconut oil. Puree.
  2. Soak the corn husks in warm water for 10 minutes, until soft and malleable. 
  3. Pull a husk from the water, and pat dry. Using a spatula, spread a small amount of plantain batter in a thin layer just in the center. Line a small amount (about 1 tablespoons) of pork in the center of that. Roll husk up tight, closing the tamale. Tie the ends with excess pieces of corn husk (I tear small strips from an extra). Repeat until all of the batter is used. 
  4. Steam the tamales: If using a pressure cooker, and 1 inch of water to the pot of a pressure cooker and stack the tamales in a steam basket in the pot. Set on "steam" setting and cook for 15 minutes. If steaming on the stove, add 1 inch of water to a large soup pot with a lid, and stack the tamales in a steam basket in the pot. Bring to a simmer, and steam, covered, for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check the tamales by peeling back the husk on a single tamale. If the dough is firm, holds it's shape (is not soft and mushy), the tamales are ready.
  5. To serve, bring the reserved sauce from the Pork Chile Verde to a simmer. Open the corn husk of a tamale on a plate and smother in green chile sauce. Top with chopped lettuce, cilantro leaves, and/or a squeeze of lime. 

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Paleo Pork Ragu with Grain-Free Garlic Bread

This Sunday, it snowed. It snowed the big soft flakes that float in the air for longer than normal. The world was a flurry of white before it melted away (not long after touching the warmer ground), and the chill in the air seemed to make everyone pull their slow cookers out of storage. No really--we had a potluck and the counter was lined with slow cookers! 

This pork shoulder, slow cooked in a savory tomato sauce spiced with fennel, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf was actually Oliver's dish. But it was so perfect for the snowy weather, and paired so well with my dish--the garlic bread- that I have to post them both! Hours before dinner started, the entire house was smelling like spicy marinara and garlic bread, and with grumbling tummies we refrained from starting without our guests (it was hard!). 

Have you tried making anything out of yuca root? Until a few months ago I had only eaten it steamed. Who knew that are only a bit of mashing transformed yuca into a pizza dough-like goop, that's sticky and get this--even tossable, so you can work on your pizza dough throwing skills!  Once the dough is ready, I just brush on some garlic-infused avocado oil and pop it in the oven. 

Do you know what I had forgotten? How glorious it is to dip a chunk of bread into a brothy, savory stew, lapping up the last drops like it's your job. 

Now, before you run away, thinking all paleo "breads" have way to many ingredients for me, just hear this one out. The bread technically only has three (yes THREE) ingredients. Are you ready for this one? 

 

Pork Ragu

1-1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder, trimmed

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 small white onion

4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup dry red wine

2 large carrots

1 24-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup bone broth

1 tablespoon fennel seed

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

Black pepper to taste

1 bay leaf

 

1. Slice the onions, and sauté with the coconut oil in the bottom of a large pan. Mince the garlic and add it to the pan. 

2. Add the pork shoulder, and brown each side. Once the onions are starting to turn brown and the pork is browned, add the wine. Allow to simmer off. 

3. Transfer everything to your slow cooker. Add the bay leaf. Grind the other spices, adding them in, along with the tomatoes, salt, and broth. 

4. Dice the carrots, and add them. Give everything a final stir and cover the pot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until pork is tender and comes apart when pulled with a fork. Serve hot. 

 

Grain-Free Garlic Bread

2 pounds yuca root (also called cassava)

3 tablespoons coconut flour

2 tablespoons coconut milk (canned, full fat, unsweetened)

For topping: 

1/4 cup avocado oil

4 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

If you're new to yuca, you may want to watch this video to see how this process goes. 

1. Shuck the yuca. Chop off the hard ends and cut off the thick, waxy peel. Chop the root into small pieces. I generally do 3 inch long sticks that are about 3/4 of an inch thick.

2. Steam the yuca until soft. I use the pressure cooker, and cook them for 13 minutes. It's possible to do this on the stove top (boil the root instead of steaming it) but takes much longer). Test with a fork to ensure the root is tender-- otherwise, keep cooking! 

3. Remove the yuca from the pot. Place in a blender or KitchenAid stand mixer along with coconut flour and milk. I have found that the Yuca will actually burn out my blender rather quickly (it's think and sticky), and that the stand mixer does a better job, however, your blender may be different. (In some countries where yuca is a traditional dish, they just mash it by hand). 

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. 

5. Once the mash has turned into a smooth, even and gooey batter, use a spatula and scoop the dough into a pile on a baking sheet liner with parchment paper (or a silicon mat). Allow to cool long enough that it can be handled. Using your fingers, pull out the tough fibers bits (there's usually one or two dense fiber strings). If the dough is exceptionally sticky you have two options: allow it to cool more, or work coconut flour into the dough and grease up your hands with avocado oil.

6. Once the dough is smooth and workable, shape it into a pizza crust. Ensure that the dough is even. 

7. In a blender, combine garlic, salt and avocado oil. Pulse until garlic is well minced. Use a brush to spread this oil over the yuca dough. Pot the whole thing in the oven and bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until the dough is crispy and the top is golden. Slice into breadsticks and serve warm. 

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