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 it' 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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    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    An unopened bottle of orange blossom water had been occupying precious real estate in our fridge for months as I debated the best thing to do with it. Finally I opened the bottle, just to smell. One whiff is all it took, and my thoughts were drifting away on a cloud of delicate blooms — soft and white, immensely fragrant. From that cloud, I landed in a darkly lit room, sitting at a large round table surrounded by smiling faces. My tenth birthday party.

    We perch on round, gilded pillows at a low table. Silky fabrics hang from the ceiling, lining the walls and giving the room a sense of mystery. Someone has given me a warm, floral-scented cloth for cleaning my hands. A waiter is sprinkling us ceremoniously with orange blossom water, and the droplets land on my shoulders like the sweetest rain that ever rained. Talk about feeling like Queen for the day.

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    There are candles artfully lighting the space, but the most notable ones are balancing on a women’s body. A belly dancer. She gracefully juggles fire from her head to her elbows and back again, never missing a beat. We eat couscous, chicken with almonds, and b’stella pastry (a dish my dad would later take to making at home).

    When it is time for tea, it is time for the greatest show of all. The waiter stacks drinking flutes in a pyramid. He makes a show of pouring the mint concoction from an ornate tea pot, starting with the top glass, and pouring until it pools over, filling the next two. The cascade continues, until each glass is full. (In my mind, the memory is almost a dream-state. I can’t quite figure out the physics of these glasses. How is it that they only spill in two directions? Did they have little spouts? Did he actually pour into glasses individually, and it is my memory that falters?)

    We each take a glass and sip. It is, to this day, glorified as the best cup of mint tea I’ve ever had.

    To say the least, I’ve been on a Moroccan food kick since I stole a breath of that orange blossom water in the fridge. I bought The Food of Morocco (affiliate link) and searched for something reminiscent of that day. I bought harissa paste and slivered almonds and actually started to use the orange blossom water.

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato
    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    The flavors of Moroccan food are so different from what you find in other cuisines. Flowers take on a large role. Both roses and orange blossoms. Herbs are used fresh. Citrus is a star of the show. Lamb, goat, cumin, paprika; Roses, pomegranate, dried fruits.

    But, this stew is not traditional. It was never supposed to be. Rather, it’s approachable. It’s a one-pot wonder that has been Americanized, Instant Pot-ized, and everyday dinner-ized. It doesn’t ask you to buy a bottle of orange blossom water, which you would surely have to get at a specialty store (or on Amazon (affiliate link), like me). It also calls for quinoa in place of couscous (Couscous is a hand rolled pasta, so not GF, despite it’s millet-y looking appearance). The recipe calls for ingredients you know, but combines them with Moroccan flare in mind. Cumin — lots of cumin. Paprika. Turmeric. And cinnamon, a small amount, something we rarely add to savory dishes here in the US.

    I know it’s starting to look a lot like spring in somewhere, but here — and lots of places - it will still be winter for at least a month. On a snowy evening, this stew is absolutely warming and cozy. Just my style.

    For the curious: The restaurant I had my tenth birthday at, Boulder’s Mataam Fez, has since closed. There is a Mataam Fez in Denver that provides a similar (but IMO, not quite as magical) experience. Plan to make an evening of it.

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    Published March 5, 2019 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cubed
  • 1 16-ounce can chickpeas, strained
  • 1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • For serving: minced parsley or cilantro

  • Directions:

    1. In the bottom of an Instant Pot, heat coconut oil using the Sauté setting. When oil glistens, add onion, garlic, ginger and celery and sauté until onion is transparent.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine.
    3. Secure lid on Instant Pot and press the “Manual” button. Set to “high pressure” (labeled “more” on some models) and set timer for 1 minute with vent in the sealed position.
    4. When the timer goes off, turn off the Instant Pot and allow it to set for 10 minutes with out releasing the steam. This will ensure the quinoa is cooked through.
    5. After 10 minutes, release any remaining pressure. Stir, and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.

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    Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

    Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

    This is an older recipe from Foraged Dish. I wanted to give it a little update, so here it is! 

    There is a Thai restaurant in Estes Park, which we drive by after visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. After a long day outside, when it's starting to get a bit chilly, nothing is better than a stop at that restaurant for a cozy Thai soup or spicy curry. 

    Tom Yum soup is also the ultimate soup when you're sick. It's brothy, with chicken and veggies, and scented with lemongrass and ginger. This version is an Instant Pot recipe -- easy is key when you're not feeling your best. 

    Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

    Some typical Thai ingredients can be hard to find here in the states! Here's where to look and what to do if you can't find it: 

    You can find lemongrass in the herb section of some grocery stores, at a local Asian Market, or online. Use it while it's fresh! The Asian Market near me sells it in sets of two stalks. This recipe only calls for one, but I try to use the second one for another batch of soup within a week because I find that as soon as the lemongrass dries out it loses it's flavor. I've had poor success in freezing it, unfortunately. (Anyone have tips?) 

    In this recipe, I call for ginger and not galangal. Most Tom Yum recipes call for both, but galangal is another ingredient that can be hard to get your hands on. If you do go to an Asian Market, look there and use half galangal, half ginger in the recipe. Otherwise, don't worry about it for one minute -- the favor of ginger is very similar to galangal (galangal is just a bit more mild), so using all ginger is just fine!

    Kaffir lime is in a lot of Thai recipes but I don't include it in the instructions below at all because I've found it's nearly impossible to buy in the states! (That said, it has an amazing aroma, so if you can find it, add 3 leaves to the pot before closing it up, and then remove them before serving). It's also very hard to buy kaffir lime seeds in the United States, but I would love to grow one! I have seen a few companies that will ship a grafted plant, so I might try it. 

    Last but not least: fish sauce isn’t for everyone (but you can usually find it in the Asian section of your grocery store). If you're not that into it, use Worcestershire sauce instead (it's ok, I have my own trepidations). It's not quite the same, but it will provide some of that Unami flavor that rounds out the broth. 

    Phew! Thai food is an adventure on it's own! But don't let that stop you -- this soup is delicious, nourishing, and cozy. And this version has been adapted to make it a bit more approachable. Enjoy! 

    Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

    Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

    Published December 11, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 15 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons ginger, finely minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 1/2 pound boneless chicken breast
  • 3 green onions, white and dark green parts removed, then sliced
  • 2-5 minced Thai chili peppers, depending on spice preference
  • 8 cups chicken or bone broth
  • 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1/8 teaspoon fish sauce
  • Optional for serving: chili oil, cilantro, lime wedges

  • Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of an Instant Pot on the “Sauté” setting. When oil is melted, add diced onion, and minced garlic and ginger. Sauté until onions are translucent.
    2. Add diced carrots, diced zucchini, sliced mushrooms, chicken breasts, green onions, Thai chili peppers, broth, coconut milk, lime juice, stalk of lemongrass, and fish sauce.
    3. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to “Soup” setting with timer set to one minute. Turn vent to sealed position.
    4. When timer goes off, release the pressure through the vent. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, pull chicken from soup and use two forks to shred it into bite-sized pieces. Place shredded chicken back in soup and stir. Remove lemongrass stalks (you can use them as garnish, but they are not great for just eating -- they just add flavor to the broth).
    5. Serve hot with additional chili oil, cilantro, lime, or hot sauce (such as Sriracha).

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