It’s the most wonderful time of the year! This is really the season when I feel lighthearted and care-free. Although clinics are full, most of the administrative work is in a lull period and so I can actually work decent hours with a proper time to go home and the weekends I am left to my own devices.
This is monsoon season in Singapore. It’s been raining every day and temperatures range from 23-25 deg C compared to the usual 30-32 deg C. It’s a welcome lowering of temperature although the wet weather also means we spend more times indoors. We joke at home that it’s snowy weather, and with the rain sheeting down we can almost imagine a blizzard outdoors!
But the cooler weather makes hot soups and stews the best thing ever! So I was hankering after a rich seafood chowder recently and decided to put my new 8L instant pot to work when I had guests over. It was almost 2 years ago when I first considered getting the 8L pot because although my 6L was doing well, I could never make enough soup for when I had company. And of course I couldn’t fit a whole duck into the 6L to braise! Instant Pot actually stopped making 8L pots for more than a year because it was such a cult favourite, the factory in China could not keep up with production. And of course the US market took priority. I didn’t want to have to fit a bulky transformer to a US plug and so I literally haunted the Amazon UK website and the Instant Pot UK website to see when stock was coming in. I almost lost hope until a couple of months ago the 8L reappeared and I finally could get my hands on the pot.
My 2 treasured possessions! Cavoodle and 8L Instant Pot! Both at rest in this picture.
So this fish chowder is the inaugural recipe I tried out on the Instant Pot. Although the Instant Pot does everything super quickly, this time I put in a long duration to pressure cook the fish stock; I wanted to extract every ounce of goodness out of the bones! A variety of fish bones can be used for the stock, but I chose to use threadfin bones because it is a less oily fish and has a cleaner fish flavour than using salmon or codfish bones. I loved the rich intense umami flavour of this stock. This is a lovingly made soup and you can feel the love in every sip of it!
Instant Pot Fish and Mussel Chowder
- 500g fish bones (I used threadfin)
- 2 celery ribs, cut into large chunks
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper balls
- 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp oil
Fish and mussel chowder
- 300g white fish (I used halibut), cut into 3-4 cm chunks
- 500g mussels, cleaned scrubbed
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 slices of bacon, sliced into 1 cm strips
- 1 can clams (optional)
- 2 cups cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put the Instant Pot on sauté mode.
- Heat up the oil and fry the ginger and fish bones for 4-5 minutes. Add in the celery and carrots and stir fry another 1-2 more minutes.
- Add water up to max mark on the inner pot. Add the salt, pepper and apple cider vinegar.
- Turn off the sauté mode. Close the lid of the pot and put the vent into sealing position. Put on manual high pressure for 1 1/2 hours.
- Allow natural pressure release. Drain the fish stock into another large pot and discard the solids. Clean the inner pot.
- Put the Instant pot back onto sauté mode. Fry the bacon and allow it to render the grease, then add the onions and stir fry until fragrant and slightly caramelized.
- Add the fish stock back into the pot. Add the can of clams and juice into the stock, if using. Allow the stock to start to inner, then add the cauliflower florets and cook for about 15 minutes till the florets are soft.
- Add the fish and mussels to the pot and simmer for another 2-3 minutes till just done. Turn off the sauté mode and serve hot.