Black Beans & Brown Rice

This was my very first Instant Pot meal (made the day the impressively large box arrived at my home) and only my second attempt at making dried beans.  Although it wasn’t amazing, I would definitely call it a success.

Ingredients serves an army as a side

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cups dried black beans (no need to soak)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3-4 minced cloves garlic
  • 9 cups of water


  1. Place rice, beans, onion, garlic, water, salt, and bay leaf in the Instant Pot insert.
  2. Set on manual for 28 minutes (be aware that it may take 15 minutes to reach pressure).
  3. Allow natural steam release, at least for 20 minutes, then you can help it along.
  4. I went basic (I was feeding a 2 year old) and just threw cheddar cheese on top, but sour cream, a squirt of lime, and sliced avocado would be a great addition.  You could certainly use this for a soft taco or similar.

Cardamom Rice (Indian Style)

imageThis is a ridiculous recipe because it is literally SO EASY that it’s almost silly to write about.  And yet, here I go.  My husband and I love the white rice that accompanies meals at our favorite Indian restaurant and if we were Indian we would have been raised on the secret (and easy) way to prepare this deliciousness.  But, Irish and Jewish, we didn’t know what provided this rice with the extra burst of fragrant flavor, an almost flower-like aromatic among its moist grains…  and now I know 🙂

The key ingredient may be difficult to find at your local grocery store and, unfortunately, there is no substitute.  You need green cardamom seeds or pods.  I checked out all my local markets in a very diverse area of Queens and came up with zilch.  (Indian markets generally carry cardamom seeds).  Ground cardamom does not serve as an adequate substitute.  Cardamom seeds and pods are available for sale over the internet, but I was determined to get my hands on this ingredient locally in New York.  Finally I found two stores that carried them: Williams-Sonoma and Whole Foods.  Good luck (but it’s worth the search).

One final note on ingredients: the quality of your rice really makes a difference.  I used the Lundberg brand of California White Basmati Rice (also a Whole Food purchase), but whatever brand you use, buy the best quality Basmati available to you.

Ingredients for 4 – 6 servings

  • 1 cup dry Basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 – 2 tsp cardamom pods or seeds
  • season with salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Bring to a boil uncovered.
  3. Cover with lid, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, leave lid on, and steam for 10 minutes.
  5. Fluff with fork and thoroughly enjoy!