People are impressed with (and a little envious of) the French and their relationship to food, especially a meal. So much so that UNESCO added the gastronomic meal of the French to their list of Intangible Cultural Heritage designations. The gathering around the table to eat is something most cultures engage in, of course, but it seems to carry special importance in France. A French friend told me that in France, people don’t dine out so for the food as they do for the company. Which it’s why its nice with the two converge.
There are plenty of places to do that in France, but you find them elsewhere, too, which we did at Bistro Pierre Lapin in New York. Inspired by the easygoing bistros of France, this West Village spot was founded by Harold Moore and Julia Grossman. Harold is the chef while Julia is in charge of desserts and drinks, two of my favorite things to focus on as well.
Continue Reading Bistro Pierre Lapin…
My very first vegan Instant Pot recipe is here! I finally took the plunge and purchased an Instant Pot after being on the fence about whether I wanted a new appliance to take up real estate on my counter (it would have to fight for space next to the kids’ piles of artwork, after all). Thanks again for the Ask Angela weigh-in back in February. I’m usually suspicious of new trends and like to wait a good while before I take the plunge, but I’m loooving it so far. I had totally underestimated how nice it is to put the lid on a recipe and walk away! But this same convenient feature also makes it challenging to develop recipes because you have ONE SHOT to get the cook time/pressure correct. No big deal. This curry took over 10 trials to get perfect…I changed up the flavours, cook time (6 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute, 4 minutes…ahh!), liquids-to-solids ratios…you name it, I tweaked it! Nicole and I love a challenge, though, so it’s been fun figuring it out and I do think we’ll get quicker as we go.
I had a stovetop pressure cooker back in the day and that thing used to scare the bejesus out of me with all of its rattling and clanking around. So the first two times I cooked with my new Instant Pot, I handed Eric a wooden spoon and instructed him to release the steam while I hid. I’m not proud, but hey, at least I’m now doing it myself! It’s really not that bad at all, and it feels so much safer than my old stovetop pressure cooker ever did.
Don’t worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot, though! I got yo’ back. We’ve tested this curry on the stovetop as well because I want everyone to be able to make these easy recipes at home! I haven’t had a chance to test this curry in a slow cooker yet, but if any of you do, could you please leave a comment and let us know how it goes? The beauty of this curry is that you literally throw everything (except the greens) into a pot, stir it, and cook. It couldn’t be easier! Of course, I wouldn’t call this an authentic Thai curry by any means, but it’s delicious and comes together quickly on those busy weeknights.
Anyway, if you have any questions about this recipe or the Instant Pot in general, please fire away below! If I can’t answer your question, maybe someone else can help by chiming in with their experience.
5 from 2 reviews
Instant Pot Cauliflower Thai Curry
I love the soft, stew-like texture of this spicy curry and how serving it over a cup of fluffy rice lends just the right amount of chewiness! This dish is one of those crave-worthy comfort foods that I reach for again and again. I created this recipe out of a need for more go-to pantry dinner options that take advantage of my speedy new Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Not to worry if you don’t have one, though—follow my directions in the tip below to make this curry on the stovetop instead. It’s important to follow the Instant Pot directions carefully to avoid overcooking the veggies. This recipe is adapted from my 8-Minute Pantry Dal.
5 1/2 cups (1.3 L) or 4 servings
For the curry:
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can light coconut milk
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes
- 2 1/2 cups (325 g) chopped cauliflower florets (1-inch pieces)
- 2 cups (340 g) peeled and cubed (3/4-inch) butternut squash
- 1/2 cup (100 g) uncooked red lentils
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) red curry paste*
- 1 teaspoon (7.5 mL) dried flaked onion**
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups (75 g) packed stemmed and finely chopped kale or chard
- Cooked jasmine rice or grain of choice
- Fresh chopped cilantro leaves
- Fresh lime juice
- Add all of the curry ingredients (except the kale/chard) to an Instant Pot and stir until combined. I like to press down on the veggies and lentils to ensure they are completely covered in liquid.
- Secure lid in the lock position and check that the Steam Release Handle is pointing to the “Sealing” position.
- Press the “Pressure Cook” button (or “Manual”, on some machines) and set the cook time to 5 minutes on high pressure. After 5 seconds you’ll hear a couple beeps and the screen will say “on”. The cooking process has begun! You can now go do something fun for about 10 to 15 minutes while the curry cooks.
- You’ll hear a few beeps when the timer is up. Immediately do a “Quick Pressure Release” to avoid overcooking the curry. I stand back and use a wooden spoon handle (never my hand!) to shift the Steam Release Handle to the “Venting” position to release the pressure. Once all of the pressure has been released, the float valve will sink and you won’t hear steam anymore.
- Carefully open the lid and stir the curry. To achieve a thicker texture, I like to mash a bit of the curry with a potato masher, simply pulsing about 4 or 5 times around the pot. You can also blitz it for a second or two with an immersion blender.
- Stir in the chopped greens until thoroughly combined and secure the lid. Set the Instant Pot to the “Keep Warm” setting and allow the greens to wilt for about 5 minutes in the curry. Press “Cancel” to turn the heat off and release the steam again, if necessary, before removing the lid.
- Serve over rice or grain of choice, if desired, and garnish with cilantro and lime. The lime juice gives it a lovely brightness, but avoid using too much as it can overpower. I always add a sprinkle of salt and pepper before serving too.
* I love this Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste—it’s shelf stable and comes in a small glass jar. You can often find it in the international cuisine aisle of grocery chains.
** Dried flaked onion is less concentrated than onion powder. Onion powder will work as a substitute if that’s what you have on hand, but I would suggest using a smaller amount (around 1/2 teaspoon) as it’s more flavourful.
STOVETOP OPTION: Not to worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot as this recipe works great on the stovetop too. Simply add all of the ingredients except the kale (or chard, if using) to a large pot, stir, and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 25 to 35 minutes (adding the kale/chard during the last 10 minutes), until the veggies and lentils are tender. Stir the curry every 5 minutes while cooking, and reduce the heat if necessary to prevent it sticking to the pot. Follow directions #5 and #7.
Energy bites aren’t a new thing, but if you’re a person that grabs commercial power bars regularly, and you’re not already on board, give these a try as a DIY alternative. I make them for a 4 o’clock late afternoon snack to reach for when I’m at the studio, but they’re also a great travel option. Kids love them. Adults love them. The best part is that you’re in control of the ingredients, and they’re a breeze to make. That said, I deploy a few, small, but (I’ll argue) significant personal preferences when I set out to make energy bites.
Energy Bite Strategy
Most recipes tend to use raw coconut flakes, and raw oats. I find a light toasting of both is worth the slight extra effort. I also like chia seeds here, and tend to use them as my seed of choice, but I first beat them up in a mortar and pestle a bit before adding them to the mix. Also, feel free to swap things up a bit – trade in alternate seeds, use whatever sweetener you prefer, add spices if you like, or an alternative nut butter, or keep things simple, and just go with this version – Enjoy!
A quick side note, I make these with whatever nut butter I have on hand. Typically peanut or almond butter, but in the video up above you’ll see sunflower seed butter. All great!
This is the sort of meal I crave after a travel stint. It’s when I end up lingering around the produce section even longer than usual in an effort to cherry-pick the most vibrant ingredients. In this case, rainbow chard with electric pink stems, a tight head of pale yellow cauliflower, just-cut chives – green, tall, and straight. The perfect avocado. I think we can all agree, these types of rainbow bowls are all about finding good ingredients. Here’s how it played out.
Lightly cooked cauliflower is chopped, then tossed with turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and a touch of ghee – although, you could certainly, use coconut or olive oil. The cauliflower is the base to which you add whatever else you might have at hand – sliced avocado, hard-boiled eggs, toasted seeds, rainbow chard stems, lettuces. While the cauliflower was steaming, I pureed the chives with olive oil for a finishing drizzle. It’s a bowl exploding with color and freshness, light and bright with enough substance to keep me feeling A+ throughout the afternoon….Enjoy! -h