Four years ago, Doug asked if I’d be interested in an Instant Pot (pressure cooker) for Christmas. My ears heard ‘Crock Pot’, to which I whole-heartedly replied, ‘Yes!’
On that Christmas morning, I carefully opened the package, but much to my surprise, an Instant Pot was revealed! Doug, beaming, expected me to be doing the same. Instead, I looked puzzled thinking he’d made a mistake, when, in fact, the mistake was mine. I smiled, thanked Doug, graciously accepted the gift, and placed it in a closet.
My daughter Mandy was just here for a visit. Before she arrived we planned to prepare a few family favorites together – including yalanchi. I told her I was considering making something with my never-used Instant Pot and she was thrilled to hear that I finally felt comfortable enough to step out of my comfort zone.
Allow me to explain my IP apprehension: Back in my early days in the kitchen, pressure cookers were used on the stovetop. Sometimes the pressure within the pot was so intense, it would literary blow the lid off, often creating a hole in the ceiling.
Mandy assured me that wouldn’t happen in the IP, so we unpacked it, did a dry-run with the ‘machine’, and she guided me like a pro. (It’s pretty funny that my daughter was giving me, a retired culinary teacher, a lesson in cooking!)
With Mandy helping, I agreed to give it a try.
The recipe we chose to make came from Ani Ehramjian, cousin Margaret’s twenty-something-year-old daughter. I had seen on FB Ani’s photo of the yalanchi she made using an Instant Pot, and it looked delicious.
To help with our experiment, Ani sent me her family’s recipe for ‘Stuffed Grape Leaves – the Instant Pot version’.
Mandy and I worked side-by-side, made some slight adjustments to the recipe, and were very pleased with the final outcome.
Special Note: If using fresh grape leaves from the vine, rinse them gently, but thoroughly in cool tap water. Remove the stems and blanch them in boiling water for about 30-40 seconds. Remove leaves with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander to drain and cool down completely.
Many thanks to Ani for the recipe, and to Mandy for helping me overcome my anxiety about cooking with a pressure cooker!!
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