My Favourite Smart Thing

Recipes from an Instant Pot believer

Orange chicken

Two big wins: hard 'boiled' eggs and orange chicken

Here's the recipes sidebar to Chelsea's review of the Instant Pot, which is among her favourite things.

Chelsea Watt
bchydro.com

I've had my Instant Pot since July and I'd estimate that I use it about three times per week – usually on Sundays for a big meal prep for workday lunches and weekday dinners. A few of my favourites:

Hard "boiled" eggs: If you eat a lot of hard-boiled eggs, undoubtedly you've faced the slight grey ring from an overcooked yolk or a stubborn eggshell you couldn't peel off smoothly. Tips abound for tackling these problems, using older eggs or adding a splash of vinegar, but I'm here to tell you it's way easier to just pressure steam them. I've made them every week since mid-July, and I have yet to have one that doesn't peel perfectly or one that’s overcooked.

  1. For 6 to 8 pressure-steamed eggs, put one cup of water in your Instant Pot. Place your steam rack (it comes with the pot) in the pot, place the eggs on the rack, put the lid on, and set the pressure to high. In my 8-quart Duo model, I use 6 minutes of high pressure and get perfect results. You might need to tweak it slightly if you have a different size or model.
  2. Quick release the pressure when the timer is done (the instruction book explains how), and immediately place the eggs in an ice bath under cold running water until cool. Enjoy – they should peel perfectly.

Orange chicken: This recipe is adapted from an Instant Pot cookbook that I received as a gift from a friend who recognized my Instant obsession early on. I highly recommend the book – which, appropriately enough, is Instant Pot Obsession.

I’ve made this chicken at least six times and while it's not the best-looking dish out there, it's always delicious. I've had lots of success doubling this recipe too, for batch cooking enthusiasts.

  •  ¼ cup all purpose flour or rice flour, if you prefer gluten-free
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 tbsp canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp peeled fresh ginger, minced fine or grated on a rasp/microplane (I typically add more, but I love ginger)
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced or crushed
  • ¼ cup chicken stock (homemade or store-bought, either one works)
  • 2 tsp freshly grated orange zest (don’t skip this – you’ll get tons of orange flavour. You’ll need 2-3 oranges, depending on size)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (It’s about the juice of 2 large or 3 medium navel oranges. Or, if you regularly buy orange juice, you can just use the regular stuff)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (or plain, if you’re watching sodium intake)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (feel free to skip this if you don’t like spice, or add more if you prefer a kick)
  • 4 green onions (scallions), chopped, with the white bottoms and green tops separated
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds for serving (optional)
  • Your favourite steamed rice – I like jasmine, but it’s also delicious with regular white or brown rice.
  1. Start by tossing the flour and a bit of salt together in a shallow dish – a plate, lasagna pan or cookie sheet. Lightly coat your chicken pieces with flour, shaking off the excess, and set aside.
  2. On your Instant Pot, select the Saute function, and More for high heat. Heat the vegetable oil in the pot and once it’s hot, brown the chicken on both sides; it takes about 6-7 minutes. If you’re doubling the recipe or your chicken pieces are very large, you may need to do this in batches and your overall cooking time will be a bit longer. Don’t worry that the chicken hasn’t cooked through – you’ll be pressure cooking it after. Set the browned chicken aside to cool a bit.
  3. Toss the ginger, garlic and the white parts of your scallions in the pot and cook for about a minute. Pour in your chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. They might stick a bit initially, especially if you’ve minced them very fine, but the chicken stock should unstick them. While this is simmering for a minute or two, cut the cooled chicken into large bite-size pieces.
  4. In a large liquid measuring cup or small bowl with a spout, mix together your orange zest, juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar and pepper flakes if you’re using them. Pour the sauce into the pot with the ginger and garlic.
  5. Add the chicken pieces back into the pot, put the lid on and lock it into place. Select the Manual function and adjust the pressure to High, and set for 5 minutes. After cooking, do 5 minutes of natural release and then quick release any pressure that’s left. In my 8-qt Duo, not a lot of pressure has released in 5 minutes, so it’s mostly a quick release.
  6. Whisk together your cornstarch and water and add to the pot. Cook it for a few minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. Alternatively, you can skip this step if you prefer your sauce a bit runnier.
  7.  Serve the chicken over warm steamed rice, and top with the green parts of the scallions, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds if you want.

Chelsea Watt is an editor with bchydro.com.