Instant Pot Saffron Rice with Currants and Pine Nuts

Instant Pot Saffron Rice with Currants and Pine Nuts

“Yellow rice,” as I called it then, was my dinner request. Just yellow rice!

The stand-in name was just about right, at least in this instance, because the rice I so craved was a mix my mom would make from a little foil packet purchased at the store. I’m not sure what exactly was in that mix, though I have a hunch: yellow coloring, natural flavors, and salt. It felt like I could eat that rice for days without getting tired of it.

This version of yellow rice is not that yellow rice. It’s made with Saffron—real saffron— and studded with pine nuts and currants. It’s beautiful, and tastes beautiful too. I could eat it for days without getting tired of it. At first bite, I was immediately transported back to Mom’s yellow rice. It’s a bowl of nostalgia, but also global flavors. It’s vibrant, and homey. And, it’s made in your Instant Pot! (affiliate link)

(It seems like as a kid, I often identified foods by their color: get the recipe for grown-up Pink Sauce here).

Instant Pot Saffron Rice with Currants and Pine Nuts
Instant Pot Saffron Rice with Currants and Pine Nuts

For a video of this recipe, click here!

Instant Pot Saffron Rice with Currants and Pine Nuts

Published May 21, 2019 by
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Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white rice (such as basmati)
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 pinches saffron
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley, plus more for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Turn Instant Pot to sauté setting and heat 1 tablespoon of butter. Add diced onion, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent.
    2. In a mortar and pestle, grind the saffron so that it is almost a powder—a few larger pieces is OK.
    3. Add rice, water, remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, saffron, and salt to pot. Stir.
    4. Secure lid on Instant Pot, and set to “Rice” setting, with the vent in the closed position. Timer should set to 12 minutes.
    5. When the timer goes off, release the pressure. Add currants, pine nuts, and parsley to the pot. Use a fork or spatula stir everything together, fluffing the rice as you go.
    6. Serve hot, sprinkled with additional parsley for garnish.

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    Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Satsuma Mandarins

    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

    Two delicious fruits are currently in season: Pomegranates and Satsuma Oranges.

    When I was a kid my dad would buy pomegranate as soon as it appeared in stores. Back then the fruit wasn’t “cool” and no one was talking about how it was a good source of antioxidants. In fact, I would take it to school for lunch and other kids would ask, “What is that?” (I got that a lot — I always had the most “interesting” brown bag lunches.) I’ve adopted my dad’s habit, and hop on pomegranate season as soon as the fruits look bright and red and juicy. I put them in salads (like this one with kale and delicata squash or this one with brussels sprouts) and add the juice to smoothies. My favorite is my dad’s Pomegranate Sorbet (!), but this wild rice salad is a a healthier way to enjoy the flavor.

    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins
    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

    When it comes to citrus fruits, I’ve never been the biggest fan — it’s not that I don’t like oranges, there are just other fruits I like more. BUT during citrus season, when everything is at it’s peak and you can find blood oranges and ruby red grapefruits and mandarins… that’s when I get on board. Satsuma Mandarins are the best, aren’t they?!

    These two fruits together sing winter to me — they are a pop of fresh in an otherwise dull season, little gems in this wild rice salad.

    Wild rice, by the way, is another key here. It’s nuttier than white rice and gives this salad great texture and flavor. Either use leftover rice or cook the rice ahead of time. You can do this in an Instant Pot (affiliate link!) by placing 1 cup water and 1 cup wild rice in the pot and setting it to High Pressure for 28 minutes, and then allowing the pressure to release naturally.

    The whole thing is tossed with arugula (which is why it can be called a salad 😏). The bitterness of the greens are a good balance to the sweetness of the fruit and nuts. Add toasted pecans on top of that, and every bite is a combo of nutty and fresh and savory and sweet.

    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

    Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Satsuma Mandarins

    Published January 10, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled wild rice (leftover rice does great!)
  • 3-4 Satsuma Mandarins, peeled
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate perils 
  • 3/4 cups toasted pecans
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Directions:

    1. Make the vinaigrette: Add all ingredients for the vinaigrette to a jar. Close jar and shake to combine.
    2. Assemble salad: In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, wild rice, mandarins, pomegranate perils, and toasted pecans.
    3. Drizzle vinaigrette over rice salad to taste, adding additional salt & pepper to your preferences. Toss and serve.

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    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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