Instant Pot: Indonesian Shrimp Fried Rice

Fried rice. When I was growing up, making fried rice is kind of like a college student making ramen noodles. It's something you usually have on hand because it's cheap, takes no time to make and you can add stuff to it to make a more filling meal. I grew up making fried rice as a way to use up leftovers because we always had rice available. Whatever we had leftover from the night before sometimes found it's destiny as a fried rice dish in a day or two. I rarely saw fried rice dishes as something special... always an after thought if anything. So when I saw this recipe for Indonesian Shrimp Fried Rice in a recent Cook's Illustrated magazine, I completely skipped it. I'm glad I read my magazine over again and the second time around, I skimmed the recipe. Granted, I didn't make it quite as written, but I did enjoy the flavors I got out of the recipe. A lot! Sweet and salty flavors came through while shrimp and vegetables studded this flavorful rice dish....

Rather than following the recipe as written, I simply used the Indonesian sauce that flavors the dish. I prepared the sauce first and then fried the egg which was added later to the recipe. When it came to making the fried rice, I made the rice in the Instant Pot and allowed it to cool completely. Cold rice is the secret for the best fried rice, so if you can make the rice a day beforehand and chill it in the fridge overnight, that would be ideal. But the sauce... was wonderful. It was perfectly balanced with sweet and salty flavors. I omitted the use of chiles because at the time, we weren't in the mood for anything spicy but you could certainly add 5 fresh green or red Thai chiles or use 2 serranos or 2 medium jalapenos.

Indonesian Shrimp Fried Rice
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 1/2 cups jasmine rice, uncooked
water for rinsing
1 1/2 cups water for cooking

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons light or mild molasses
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/4 teaspoon salt


4 eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Fried Rice:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
12-14 extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, de-veined
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
4 scallions, sliced thin
2 limes, cut into wedges for serving (optional)

For the rice:
Place rice in a fine mesh colander and rinse under cool water to wash off excess starches and impurities. Doing so prevents the rice from getting too clumpy when it cooks.

Transfer rice to the IP pot liner. Add 1 1/2 cups water to pot.

Press RICE and it will automatically adjust the time to 12 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 12 (the number of minutes the RICE setting defaults to) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 12 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 5 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure. 

After naturally releasing pressure for 5 minutes, turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Transfer the rice to a container and allow to cool completely. Chill in the fridge for an hour or even overnight. The best fried rice is made with cold rice.

For the Sauce:
In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, molasses, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1¼ teaspoons salt; set aside.

For the Eggs:
Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

In another small bowl, whisk eggs and ¼ teaspoon salt together in medium bowl, set aside.

Press MANUAL and add 1 teaspoon of oil. Once hot, pour the whisked eggs into the IP and allow to set. Pull the cooked edges towards the middle and tilt the pan to allow the runny eggs to coat the bottom of the pan. Continue to do this as needed until no runny egg remain.

With a spatula, carefully flip the egg to cook the top side. Once cooked, take off heat and break up the egg into pieces which will be tossed into the fried rice later. Set aside until the egg is called for in the fried rice recipe.

For the Fried Rice in the IP:

Press SAUTE and add oil. When shimmering, add onion and garlic. Sauté and cook until translucent. 

Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly until the shrimp turns opaque. Push the shrimp to the sides.

Crumble the cold rice into the middle of the pot. Cook the rice along with the shrimp until the rice is warmed through and slightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the sauce mixture and toss with the shrimp and rice to coat.

Stir in the peas, carrots and egg and toss, cooking for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the scallions, remove from heat, and transfer to serving platter. Garnish with lime wedges if desired; serve immediately.

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