Hot and sour soup {pressure cooker/Instant Pot}

I’m not the biggest fan of soups, but sometimes I’ll surprise myself and get a craving for a cleansing soup like hot and sour.

You can make this in a regular saucepan instead of a pressure cooker – it will take longer than five minutes to get the soup really flavoursome by going way of conventional cooking.

I was originally going to use bok choy in this soup, but I had a beautiful fresh bunch of gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and at the last minute, I decided to use it instead. While you could swap the gai lan out for another Asian green like pak choy or bok choy, gai lan really makes it special. It’s a seriously underrated vegetable that deserves some time in the spotlight.

Pressure cooker/Instant Pot hot and sour soup
Serves 4

1.5L vegetable stock
1 c dried shiitake mushrooms
3 garlic cloves
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
1/4 c gluten-free soy sauce
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil
150g tofu, sliced into squares and baked for 15 minutes
50g firm tofu, roughly thickly grated
1/2 carrot, julienned
Bunch of gai lan (Chinese broccoli), stalks trimmed
1/2 c rinsed bamboo shoots (optional)
Pinch of salt
1/4 distilled white vinegar
3 spring onions, sliced

Put all ingredients excluding white vinegar and spring onions into pressure cooker. Bring to pressure and keep it at pressure for five minutes.

Release pressure then add white vinegar and spring onions. Stir and ladle soup into bowls.

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Pressure cooker Thai red curry

Earlier this year I spent a few days with my parents on the South Coast of NSW. While I was there, I was introduced to the wonderful world of pressure cooking; they had recently bought one for themselves.

Naturally, it didn’t take long until I was the proud owner of a stovetop pressure cooker. The stovetop cooker appealed to me because I can also use it as a giant stock pot, start a pressure cooked meal by sauteing some spices or ingredients, or reduce a pressure cooked sauce after cooking if I have too much liquid leftover.

Since the purchase, I have been using my pressure cooker two to three times a week. It makes for easier and quicker meals and accentuates the flavour. In fact meals that can take over an hour by conventional means can be ready in 15 to 20 minutes. With my work schedule it has certainly made my life easier and provided more ‘me’ time…highly recommended for stews, curries and soups.

Pressure cooker Thai red curry
Serves 4-6

1 tin Maesri panang curry paste
400ml coconut milk
100g firm tofu, cubed
1/2-1 cup vegetable stock
2 large kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
2 carrots, sliced diagonally
1 red onion, chopped
1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed
150g green beans, ends trimmed
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, divided
1 tbsp + 1 tbsp coconut sugar, divided
Juice of 2 limes, divided

Add all ingredients into your pressure cooker excluding the 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, 1 tbsp coconut sugar and juice of one lime. Stir to combine.

Turn on the heat and bring to pressure. Once at pressure, turn down the heat slightly and set a timer for one minute. After one minute, remove pot from the heat and release the pressure.

Add remaining 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, 1 tbsp coconut sugar and juice of one lime. Stir through and adjust to taste. Then, serve with rice.

Chickpea and kale soup {gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free}

So, it turns out I needed a holiday more than I realised. The good news is that I’m back.

One of my not-new-year resolutions (I don’t set new year’s resolutions) is to slow things down. Part of that means setting more realistic goals for myself. That means, I’m going to blog on my own terms rather than religiously every Sunday. I want to make sure I don’t lose the love, because for a while there, I did lose the love.

In the spirit of new beginnings, this chickpea and kale soup is the perfect way to kick start the year (AKA January, the Monday of the year). It has a surprising ingredient of rooibos tea, which has anti-inflammatory properties, has anti-aging powers, and is rich in calcium. I’ve used the tea as a face toner (true story!) and I immediately noticed a reduction in inflammation around spots and patches. I highly recommend rooibos tea for anyone suffering from inflammation in the body.

Speaking of things I love… I have discovered soy-free miso paste made from chickpeas and it has changed my life. I have been adding it to everything, like this soup. It can be very easy to consume a lot of soy products when you are living as a vegan, and I think it’s important to watch your consumption, and enjoy it in moderation.

Chickpea and kale soup

Chickpea and kale soup {gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free}
Serves 4

1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tbsp white miso powder (I use Meru Miso)
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups rooibos tea
1 bay leaf
6 tuscan kale leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp olive oil, to serve
1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes, to serve

Heat some oil in a saucepan and add brown onion. Cook 3-4 minutes until starting to brown. Add garlic and cook a further 2 minutes before adding the chopped celery.

Once celery softens and becomes fragrant, add cumin, paprika and white miso, and stir to combine.

Add chickpeas, stock, tea and bay leaf. Bring to the boil then simmer for around 10-15 minutes.

Next, add the kale, salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve in bowls and drizzle with a light olive oil and some nutritional yeast flakes.