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Instant Pot Recipes

Here's a list of Instant Pot recipes that I hope bring you delight as they did to me :)
- Szechuan inspired slow-cooked lamb shanks
- Cooked beans blend
- Beef broth

Tips on using Instant Pot: 
1. When pressure cooking is completed, it is better to cool the pot before venting the steam out. I wrap a cooled damp cloth on the lid to hasten the cooling rate. The best way is to let it cool with time.
2. When boiling soups or stews, it is better to fill the pot halfway. This prevent over-spilling.
3. It is better to avoid cooking acidic foods like tomatoes in the pot. I usually transfer the ingredients into a regular pot to finish off cooking with acidic foods.
Szechuan Inspired Slow-cooked Lamb Shanks
I had the craving for a hearty lamb stew and purchased a couple of Australian lamb shanks from the store. Since lamb has a strong flavor, I picked Szechuan style (red wine was a close second!) to balance the richness of the lamb. I like my food spicy so please adjust the spice level to your liking. 
I browned the shanks in the oven instead over the stove to reduce smell in the kitchen

Ingredients (Yields 2 to 3 generous servings):
2 lamb shanks- cut to large chunks, 1 large onion, 1 medium size carrot, 6 garlic cloves, 2 inch fresh ginger root, 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, 4 dried chili peppers, 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, 3 cloves, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 0.25 cup soy sauce, 1 tbs thick soy sauce, 1 cup warm water, 10 cherry tomatoes, and 1 tbs olive oil. Salt and sugar to taste

Procedures:
1. Preheat oven to the maximum temperature possible (mine went up to 250 degC/ 482 degF). Season heavy cast iron skillet with olive oil
2. Rinse and pat dry lamb shanks. Lay the lamb shanks on the skillet and place skillet in the oven.  Brown all sides (2 to 3 minutes per side, varies according to the oven temperature)
3. Rinse and soak shiitake mushroom in warm water (save water for step #5)
4. Cut onion and carrot to large chunks. Peel garlic and ginger. Crush them to release flavors- I didn't bother to chop finely since they will slow cook. I left the tomatoes whole 
5. Mix all the ingredients in the Instant Pot, ensuring the shanks are covered by the sauce mixture
6. Set the Instant Pot to "slow cook", "low" for 8 to 10 hours. Cover and let it cooked
7. Once done, season with salt and sugar to your liking. 
8. Serve with rice, noodles, crusty bread or mashed potato. Enjoy! 



Cooked Beans Blend
I used my 6 liter Instant Pot to cook my heirloom bean blend. I rinsed the beans a few times and soaked them in water twice the volume of the beans overnight. The beans expanded. I drained them and then added in the Instant Pot. I added a roughly chopped medium size onion and two dried bay leaves. I filled  water until it reached a couple of inches above the top of beans. I splashed in a tablespoon of olive oil since I read somewhere it would reduce foaming. I made sure the beans mixture did not exceed half of the volume of my Instant Pot. I then shut the lid, turned the knob to "Sealing", selected "Manual" and dialed in 45 minutes. When the cooking was done, I made sure it cooled down normally and not quick release mode.



Beef Broth
Beef broth makes a great base for Vietnamese pho, French onion soup and other variety of soups. 
 
Ingredients:
2 lbs organic oxtails chunks, 3 cloves, 3 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 large onion, 1 carrot, 1 ginger, 6 garlic cloves and 6 liters of filtered water

Procedures:
1. Soak oxtails in cold water for 30 mins. This is to remove any blood and bone debris. 
2. Remove onion and garlic skins. Cut into halves. Cut ginger into halves. Wash them and pat them dry. In a cast iron skillet, lay spices and aromatics in one layer. Set oven to broil and toast the aromatics and spices until they are charred but not burned ;)
3. Discard oxtails' soaking water. Trim any excess fat
4. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add oxtails into water and boil them for 10 mins. Drain the oxtails and rinse them under cold water to remove scums
5. Pour 3 liters of filtered water in the Instant Pot. Add the dry roasted aromatics and spices. Cut the carrot into chunks and add them in the pot. Cover and set the valve to "Sealed". Select "Soup" and timer to "45 minutes". Let the Instant Pot does it magic :)
6. After the pot is cooled down and the steam is completely removed (valve must be pointed to "Vented"), filter the broth in another pot.  Save the solids in the Instant Pot
7. Pour the rest of filtered water in the Instant Pot with the solids for a second boil. Repeat settings- set
 the valve to "Sealed", select "Soup" and timer to "40 minutes". Let the Instant Pot does it magic again
8. When done, filter the broth. The broth is ready to be used. You can store the broth overnight and discard any fat solids. Enjoy!

Tips: 
1. For more flavor, you can add daikon radish and star anise
2. You can substitute parboiling the oxtails in step 4 by roasting the chunks until the fat renders and browned or browning each side of the chunks at very high heat using a cast iron skillet
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