How I Use Instant Pot for Japanese Cooking – Just One Cookbook
Instant Pot is my partner in the kitchen to cook authentic Japanese dishes like chawanmushi, Japanese curry, Japanese-style potato salad and many others. It accelerates cooking time without sacrificing the quality and authenticity of the dishes. That’s why I love my Instant Pot and I want to show you today how I use it in my daily Japanese kitchen.
(Salted Egg Custard)
If you searched for Instant Pot recipes on the web, chances are you’ll get an infinite result. Undoubtedly, the multicooker has been a kitchen appliance that has changed the lives of legions of people. From the universally loved spaghetti bolognese to the classic Indian buttered chicken, there seem to be Instant Pot versions for us who want to save time.
The truth is, there are still too many Japanese Instant Pot recipes out there, and I know you’re probably curious how I use the gadget for my daily cooking. For the last and final installment of my 3-part Instant Pot series, I’ll talk about how I use my Instant Pot in my daily Japanese kitchen and what I cook with it.
In case you missed it, here are the first two parts:
- 5 reasons why I love my
- Which instant pot you should buy
Cream stew (white stew)
Instant pot for Japanese cuisine
As I get older, I crave more and more the washoku dishes I grew up eating: rice and a wide range of seasonal ingredients. These classic Japanese dishes are my kind of comfort food. Many of them are slow-cooked or nimono (煮物) dishes, which include beans, dry foods, and tubers.
To prepare these dishes on the stove, it can take quite a bit of time and labor. Sometimes I wish they were much easier to cook! However, with the help of Instant Pot, cooking homemade Japanese food has become much easier and much faster. And my stress level to feed a family of four has dropped significantly.
If you are not familiar, a typical Japanese-style meal includes rice as a main course, a soup and 3 side dishes (it is called Ichiju Sansai 一汁三菜), usually with 1-2 dishes cooked over low heat. Yes, talk about elaborate. It’s no simple feat to prepare Japanese dinner every day, especially if you’re a working parent.
With the Instant Pot
, I plan my preparation so that I can work on the main course or other dishes while the Instant Pot takes care of cooking a laborious dish. I make sure to cook lots of large portions (see more Japanese-style meal preparation dishes) so I can store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer and serve the different dishes throughout the week. Homemade Japanese food achieved with minimal effort and smart planning!
Before we move on to what I cook with the instant cooker, I think it’s also important to know the pros and cons of instant cooking. Pros and cons
- Shorten cooking time to 1/3 of time (ideal for brown rice, a large piece of meat, tendons, meat with bones).
- Meat falls off the bone easily and bones in fish become tender and edible
- Save on electricity
To cook dishes over low heat with the traditional method of the stove, you need to stay in the kitchen for a long time to keep checking the food. I can never get out of the kitchen! Now I can walk away once I turn on the instant pot and get out of my kitchen to do other things. I love being able to start cooking dinner until 5pm instead of 4pm.
You may need some initial testing, but once you have an idea of the moment, you’re good to go. Take your kids to karate practice or clean the house with extra free time; Instant Pot has you covered.
- /softer vegetables cook too quickly, so some vegetables should be added later (or omitted for better consistency
- You can not open the lid in the middle of cooking (to add tender vegetables or skim foam).
- The flavors may not be well absorbed just because the meat is tender
- Some vegetables can lose nutrients due to too much pressure.
- You can’t cook leafy greens and foods that require crunchy/crunchy texture like Kinpira Gobo (burdock root) and Kinpira Renkon (lotus root).
- Difficult to control seasonings while cooking.
Now, this seems like a long list of cons, but they haven’t stopped me from cooking my dinners at the Instant Pot. I learned how to solve the problem by cutting vegetables into larger pieces and choosing the right kind of ingredients for pressure cooking. In fact, it has allowed me to cook more at home instead of resorting to takeaway or eating out.
How do I use
my Instant Pot
So what kind of Japanese dishes do I make with my Instant Pot? Here are some of our favorites in Just One Cookbook:
the key strengths of Instant Pot is cooking meats to perfection in record time. Before I had the Instant Pot, I rarely cook Japanese dishes that require large chunks of meat, but now I enjoy making a variety of recipes taking advantage of the multicooker’s pressure cooking feature.
- Steamed pork
- short ribs
Oden (fish cake stew)
2. Stews + Soups
Seriously, if you love soups and stews like me, it’s a strong enough reason to get an Instant Pot. When you can cut cooking time at least in half, it means you can make and enjoy your favorite dishes regularly.
- Oden curry
- Japanese cream
- Sapporo soup Curry
(fish cake stew)
Black beans (Kuromame)
dried beans used to seem like an extravagant use of my time, but now it’s something I can tackle with ease. The Instant Pot has the ability to cook dried beans in a short time and the result is always so tender and tasty. Instead of buying the canned things, I’ve started cooking more homemade red bean pasta to make delicious treats and snacks for the kids.
- Red bean paste (Anko
- Black beans (Kuromame
- Soy (to make miso
Nikujaga (meat and potato stew)
daikon, gobo (burdock root), renkon (lotus root) to carrots, Japanese cuisine features many root vegetables in our daily meals. Instant Pot is particularly suitable for cooking these tubers, which makes healthy home cooking a possible task to conquer.
Nikujaga (meat and potato stew)
- potato salad
Beef tendon stew
usually take a painfully long time (3 hours!) to soften the tendons. With the Instant Pot, it can be cooked perfectly in 30 minutes.
- Beef tendon stew (Gyusuji Nikomi)
6. Whole fish flounder
Karei カレイ), mackerel (Saba 鯖), horse mackerel (Aji アジ), red snapper (鯛), sardine (Iwashi イワシ) and Pacific saury (Sanma 秋刀魚) are great for cooking in the instant pot. Only in 15 minutes, all the fish, including the bones, is pleasant and tender. Fish bones cooked in a pressure cooker are soft and edible, ideal for extra calcium! I will share the recipe when I get a good fish.
usually takes 90 minutes to cook short-grain brown rice in a rice cooker and 30 minutes on the stove. Instant Pot makes it the fastest with 20 minutes. Compared with short grain white rice, the cooking time of brown rice is significantly longer, therefore, I like to cook brown rice in the instant pot. I love the Mocchiri texture (モッチリ), or mochi-like texture, of brown rice cooked in both the instant pot and the donabe (Japanese clay pot). I’ll share the recipe soon!
Top 3 Japanese Curry Dishes I Made Most Using Instant Pot Over the Last 3 Months I
had been cold and rainy over the past 3 months, so I made these dishes with my Instant Pot more often for my family.
- curry soup and oxtail
- Chawanmushi (salted egg cream)
Another of our favorites is the shredded pork, which I make a large batch and use in tacos, donburi (rice bowl) and sandwich.
Instant Pot Kabocha
Have you tried cooking Japanese recipes with Instant Pot before? Have a favorite? Are there any specific recipes you’d like me to share? I’d love to hear from you!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Instant Pot. All opinions expressed are my own, and I only work with brands and products that I personally use and enjoy thoroughly. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that keep Just One Cookbook running.
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