Coconut rice is a delicious vegan and gluten-free side, that compliments a wide range of entrees. I prepare it by cooking rice in coconut milk, and season it lightly with salt. Coconut milk adds a creamy and naturally sweet flavor to the rice, which elevates everyday rice into an elegant and flavorful side dish. In this simple recipe for Instant Pot Coconut Rice, all I do is add all the ingredients to the pot and pressure cook the rice for 6 minutes. Continue Reading…
This creamy cauliflower potato garlic sauce is simply magical. It’s like mashed potatoes met cheese fondue! I steam the potatoes, cauliflower and garlic together, and add heated heavy cream, or half-and-half, with butter, tangy goat cheese, salt and pepper, and whisk it till I get a silky smooth sauce! The addition of goat cheese adds a tanginess which cuts through the richness, and balances this sauce perfectly. Parmesan cheese compliments the goat cheese and makes this sauce absolutely delicious.
Finally nailed it!
Years ago, at a middle eastern restaurant, I had a garlic sauce that was served with grilled chicken and lamb kebab. It was hands down, one of THE most delicious sauces I have ever had! Since then, I’ve been trying to imagine a mash-up between that garlic sauce and creamy garlic mashed potatoes. I also wanted to make this sauce lighter and healthier, so that I wouldn’t have to feel too guilty about loading up on carbs. So, I decided to do a half and half of potatoes and cauliflower. After a few ‘almost there’ attempts, I finally nailed it. Continue Reading…
Pot-in-Pot Cooking (PIP)
When I first got my Instant Pot, like many of you, I joined a few Facebook groups, did the water test, boiled eggs, cooked rice and moved on to main meals. But, every now and then, I would come across the term, Pot-in-Pot (PIP). It sounded interesting, but intimidating! I read up about it, and experimented with my first PIP meal, Coconut Lime Chicken with Coconut Rice , and it was a huge success! So, this post is for all my fellow cooks, who want to give it a try, but don’t know where to start. In this post you will find:
- Concept of Pot-in-Pot (PIP) cooking explained
- Examples of PIP cooking
- What you need to get started
- Popular PIP accessories
- My tried and tested PIP Recipes
What is Pot-in-Pot (PIP) method?
Let’s understand the basic concept first. Pot-in-Pot method is exactly what it sounds like. It’s cooking something in a smaller, oven-safe pot (or basket, trivet etc.), inside the main pot of the pressure cooker. You start by adding water in the inner pot, then place a trivet, which is a metal stand that will give you a base to put another bowl or container on top. Based on your recipe, you could place a steamer basket instead of a trivet, or, you could cook a curry with liquid in the main pot and rice or potatoes in a bowl on top. The idea here is that the ‘food on the trivet’ never touches the liquid at the bottom, it steam cooks.
Why cook PIP? Here’s a few scenarios…
- Cooking entrée and side in the same pot. For example, chicken in the main pot, and rice in a smaller bowl, placed on a trivet. Cook time: 6 mins Manual/Pressure Cook,, NPR10.
- Cooking multiple items that have the same cook time. For example, broccoli and cauliflower in one pot, peas and carrots in another. Cook time: 0 mins Manual/Pressure Cook, QR.
- Steam-cooking foods that don’t need to touch the main pot or liquid, for example, boiling eggs or chicken breast, salmon fillets etc.
- Making desserts like cheesecake or lava cakes, which turn out great when baked in a water-bath.
- Re-heating food is a lot easier when you can set two or more pots in the Instant Pot, to re-heat everything at the same time.
- Cooking a smaller quantity. If I’m making 1/2 cup of rice, I need 1/2 cup of water or broth for that, that’s not enough liquid for the main pot to come up to pressure. Cooking PIP takes care of that. Rice cooks evenly without scorching the bottom of the pot.
- Cooking foods that stick. For example, lasagna, or any recipe with a cheese as an ingredient has a higher tendency to burn if cooked directly.
What do I need for PIP cooking?
You need a few accessories to be able to cook PIP. The good news is that the Instant Pot already comes with a one, and you may be able to find some in you kitchen cabinet. Here’s is what you need for PIP cooking:
- Instant Pot: The #1 thing you need for PIP cooking, but you knew that already 🙂
- Water: You need to put 1-2 cups of water, depending on the size of your pot, in the main pot to build pressure for cooking.
- Trivet: The Instant Pot comes with a trivet, so you can start experimenting with basics like boiled eggs, chicken breast etc, without having to buy more accessories.
- Oven-safe bowl: Any oven safe bowl will work here, ceramic, porcelain, stainless steel, silicone, even the disposable aluminum bakeware. Just remember, NO PLASTIC containers, and Pyrex is to be used with caution. I’ve never had a Pyrex bowl break, but have heard of some exploding, especially, when it went straight from the freezer to the pot.
- Steamer basket: If you’re boiling/steaming a few eggs, the trivet should work fine, but if you’re doing a dozen, then a steamer basket comes in handy, especially, when pulling out.
- Spring-form pan /Push pan: If you are planning on making a cheesecake or a lasagna, a springform pan or a push pan comes in very handy. It’s removable ring makes slicing much easier.
- Stackable containers/bowls: If you’re planning on cooking multiple items at once, these work out great.
Here’s are some accessories that I use for PIP cooking:
Chicken Wonton Soup is perhaps one of the most ordered soups at a Chinese restaurant. Wontons are soft bite-size dumplings that are stuffed with meat or vegetables, and aromatics like ginger, garlic and spring onions. They are then cooked in a clear, flavorful chicken or vegetable broth. I love this soup, and have figured out an easier way to make it at home, on a weeknight too. This hearty recipe for a real easy Instant Pot Chicken Wonton Soup makes a great dinner dish by itself.
I love simple and easy meals like this, that are so comforting at the end of a long day.When I have time, I love to make homemade wontons for this soup using ground chicken, spring onions, aromatics and seasoning. But, for weeknights and crazy times, this soup is real easy to put together using my favorite store-bought frozen wontons, Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons from Trader Joe’s. This soup will work equally well with your favorite brand of dumplings too.
All you have to do is add all ingredients, except wontons and greens, in the Instant Pot, pressure cook for 2 minutes, release pressure, add wontons and greens, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Done! And dinner is served in 20 minutes.
It is extremely easy to make this soup vegetarian by switching just two ingredients. Switch the chicken broth with vegetable broth and buy your favorite flavor of vegetable dumplings. I personally like the Thai Vegetable Gyoza dumplings from Trader Joe’s. I combine that with their low-sodium vegetable broth.
Heat a large stockpot on medium-high heat. Add all ingredients EXCEPT wontons and greens. Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 6-8 mins. Open lid. Add wontons and cook till they float on top, takes about 2-4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add greens and stir well. Let them soften in the soup for a few minutes. Serve warm!
Check out more INSTANT POT SOUP RECIPES here!
Saffron Rice Pilaf (Pulao)! Aromatic and nutty basmati rice cooked in a Saffron infused broth. You can pair this easy and popular side with so many dishes across different cuisines. Saffron is a spice that is derived from the core of a flower called, saffron crocus. Each strand of saffron is carefully extracted by hand, which makes it the world’s most expensive spice (by weight). That being said, most recipes call for a pinch or two of saffron, so if you invest in a small box, it’ll last a long time.
Saffron adds a deep floral fragrance along with a golden-yellow to a light-crimson color to dishes, depending on the quantity used. You can bring out the best flavor of saffron, by soaking it in a warm liquid, like water or milk. In Indian cuisine, Saffron is used in many rice preparations, both sweet and savory. One of my favorite dishes, and, an extremely popular savory meat & rice pilaf, which uses saffron, is Biryani.
Pairing Suggestions with Saffron Rice Pilaf:
I find Saffron Rice Pilaf to be a pretty versatile side. You can enjoy it with many Indian curries, like Butter Chicken, Lamb Korma, Paneer Tikka Masala, etc. My family like to pair it with mediterranean spiced proteins like Chicken Shawarma, or Falafel. I’ve made this recipe with Basmati rice, as well as Jasmine rice, and it works great with both.
In this recipe, I have cooked saffron rice in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, but it can be prepared in any pressure cooker, a rice cooker, microwave, or even on the stove-top. To learn more about the instant pot, check out my Instant Pot FAQ and Accessories blog.
Here is how to make it on the stove top or the microwave as well.
Rinse 1 cup of rice 2-3 times, till water runs clear. If you have the time, soak it for 15 minutes, that results in fluffy rice. For one cup of rice, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add rinsed and drained rice, salt, ghee or oil, slivered almonds (optional), and saffron, that has been soaking in warm water (see how-to instructions in recipe card). Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, till you reach your desired texture.
Make it in the Microwave:
Rinse 1 cup of rice 2-3 times, till water runs clear. If you have the time, soak it for 15 minutes, that results in fluffy rice. In a microwave safe bowl, add drained rice, 2 cups of water (for 1 cup rice), and all other ingredients, and cook it at “rice” mode.
Saffron Rice/ Saffron Rice PilafPrint Recipe
- 1 cup Basmati Rice (or Jasmine Rice)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ghee or oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Saffron, soaked in 1 tablespoon hot water (I microwave saffron and water for 20-30 seconds)
- 2 tablespoon Slivered Almonds (optional)
- Other optional ingredients
- 1 tablespoon Cashews
- 1 tablespoons Raisins
Prep: Rinse 1 cup of rice 2-3 times, till water runs clear. If you have the time, soak it for 15 minutes, that results in fluffy rice. Take 1/2 teaspoon of saffron in a microwave safe bowl, Using a teaspoon, break down the stems into smaller pieces. Add 1 tablespoon hot water to it, or, add cold water and microwave it for 20-30 seconds. Saffron rice can be prepared two ways in the Instant Pot- Direct pot, or Pot-in-Pot. Here are both ways:
Main Pot Add rinsed and drained rice and all other ingredients in the inner pot. Close lid. Set valve to sealing position. Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 6 minutes, OR, Rice mode, which defaults to 12 minutes.
Pot-in-Pot Add all ingredients in any oven safe container. Add 1 cup water, or the recommended quantity, to your inner pot. Place trivet and place the rice bowl on top of that. Close lid. Set valve to sealing position. Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 6 minutes, OR, Rice mode, which defaults to 12 minutes.
Wait 10 minutes before manually releasing the pressure (NPR 10). Open lid after pin drops. Using a fork, carefully fluff the rice. Serve with your favorite entree!
Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice. This recipe for Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice is the super-easy adaptation of my recipe for Authentic Butter Chicken. Butter Chicken is one of my kids’ favorite Indian curries. With this recipe, I simplified the cooking process to be less than 30 minutes, without losing any of that amazing rich flavor.
In my original recipe, I marinate the chicken overnight, grill it and then simmer it in the sauce. In this easier and time saving recipe, I skip the marination, add extra Garam Masala to the sauce, use diced boneless skinless chicken and pressure cook it. As a result, the flavors seep into the chicken and it tastes phenomenal. This recipe is my weeknight-friendly variation that’ll leave you amazed. Try it and enjoy a restaurant style Indian treat, right in the comfort of your home, even on a weeknight!
In my original recipe for Authentic Butter Chicken, I follow the traditional method and marinate the chicken overnight in yogurt and toasted ground Garam Masala. I then grill it and simmer it in a tomato-cream sauce for a few minutes. Marinating the chicken makes the chicken moist, juicy, and flavorful. Grilling it adds a delicious char-broiled smoky flavor to it. Believe me, all that effort is worth the time it takes to make it. But I was looking to simplify this recipe, so I would be able to make it more often since my kids enjoy it so much. After a few attempts, I finally succeeded, as in, it was approved by the “butter chicken connoisseurs”, aka, my kids 🙂
I skipped the marination step, boosted the flavor of the sauce by adding more garam masala, added smoked paprika to add a subtle smoky flavor, and pressure cooked the chicken so it would take all of those wonderful flavors.
The Origin of Butter Chicken
Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani, literally means ‘chicken cooked in a buttery rich sauce’. It is an authentic Punjabi dish (North-Indian) that was created in the 1950s, in a super popular restaurant in New Delhi called ‘Moti Mahal Delux’. The founder and chef of the restaurant decided to use left-over Tandoori Chicken (Indian-Spiced Grilled Chicken) in a rich and buttery tomato gravy. Little did he know, that he was creating one of the most popular curry dishes from the Indian subcontinent.
Dairy-Free/Lactose-free & Gluten Free:
This recipe can be made dairy-free by substituting the heavy cream with full-fat coconut milk. It’s as easy as that. There is no other substitution required. And, this recipe is Gluten-free, which makes it perfect for entertaining as well.
Make it Vegetarian:
The base sauce that I make this recipe is vegetarian. So, you can easily switch the protein in this dish and make it vegetarian. You can add Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese), extra-firm Tofu, mushrooms, or, a medley of veggies as well. Check out the recipe for a vegetarian favorite that I make with this sauce, Paneer Butter Masala, or, Paneer Makhani.
Pairing Suggestions for Easy Butter Chicken
I love pairing Easy Butter Chicken with Saffron Rice! Both these dishes are aromatic and have intense flavor, as a result of which, they compliment each other so well. Basmati rice is cooked in a Saffron infused broth to make Saffron Rice. Saffron compliments the aromatic and nutty basmati rice and elevates it to an elegant side dish. Another popular pairing with Butter Chicken is Cumin Rice (Zeera Rice). A side of Cucumber Raita really completes this meal. Since this recipe uses warm Indian spices, yogurt balances that warmth and adds a cooling freshness to this Easy Butter Chicken meal.
POT-in-POT: Cooking Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice in the same pot
In this recipe, I have cooked everything in one-pot, using the pot-in-pot technique in my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot. Since chicken and basmati rice have the same cook time (6 minutes on high pressure), it is a great combination to make in one-pot. Watch the video above to see how easy this process is. Continue Reading…
Matar chaat / Mutter Chaat or Pigeon Peas Dip is one of the most popular street food you’ll find in New Delhi. This quick and tasty dish is served as a chaat (snack) with crackers or pita chips, and also makes for a fulfilling meal when served with a side of Naan or Kulcha.
Pigeon Peas belong to the family of legumes, and carry the same great advantages of being high in fiber and protein. They are somewhat similar in looks to Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans. There are two varieties of Pigeon peas, white (more like beige), and green. I prefer the taste of the white ones as they tend to be more on the creamier side.
Just like chickpeas, Pigeon Peas also have to be rehydrated before cooking. Soaking them overnight allows them to rehydrate and also fastens the cooking process. I cook these in my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot, and they are perfect when cooked for 15 minutes on the Bean/Chili mode.
Once the pigeon peas are cooked, here’s what I do: Continue Reading…
If there was ever a contest for the EASIEST INSTANT POT RECIPE, this recipe for 3-ingredient Instant Pot Salsa Chicken would win hands down! The only prep I do is open a packet of Taco Seasoning and a jar of my favorite Salsa. I pressure cook the chicken with these flavorings, in the Instant Pot, so no mess or extra dishes to clean. I shred the chicken and load it up on soft warm corn tortillas and dinner is done, just like that!
Easiest Recipe Ever!
Don’t you love recipes that comes together in a flash and the family ends up loving them? This one’s a keeper! All you have to do is add water, layer chicken, season it, top it with salsa and close the lid! Set an 8 minute pressure cook time and walk away, paint your nails, run an errand, pick up the kids….whatever you want to do. It takes around 10 minutes for it to come to pressure, 8 minutes to cook and around 10 minutes of NPR time, so, dinner is served in under 30 minutes.
Only 3 Ingredients
This recipe comes together with just 3 ingredients; Chicken, Taco seasoning and Salsa. I like using chicken breast for this recipe, but chicken thighs work just as well. I love using Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning Mix and Salsa Autentica for this recipe. This seasoning has a bit of a kick to it, which my family really enjoys, but you can use your favorite Taco seasoning blend for this recipe. The Salsa is a nice sweet salsa, due to which this combinations works really well. The salsa balances the heat in the Taco Seasoning really well.
This is how simple it is
Multiple Uses for 3-ingredient Instant Pot Salsa Chicken
Once you pressure cook the chicken, you can choose to eat it as an entrée, or, shred it and using it in a variety of dishes. I use this shredded chicken for Tacos, Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Tortilla Soup, Pizzas, Pulled Chicken Sliders or even for Taco Salad.
If you choose to have it as it is, make a side-salad with chopped cucumbers, red onions, avocados and cherry tomatoes. Dress it up with fresh lime juice, a dash of paprika, salt & pepper and enjoy a delicious low-carb dinner!
Stove Top Recipe
This recipe can be made in any pressure cooker as well. You can do this on the stove-top as well.
- I heat a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium high heat. I add water, layer chicken ,season it, and top it with salsa.
- When everything starts bubbling, I reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes, or till chicken is fully cooked. Keep stirring every few minutes to prevent the salsa from scorching the pan.
Jazz It Up
If you want to jazz up this 3-ingredient Instant Pot Salsa Chicken, try my recipe for Pulled Chicken Fajita Tacos. The crunch and sautéed peppers and onions add a whole new flavor dimension to this Salsa chicken. These are always on my Game-day menu, either as tacos, or as sliders!
Warm, delicious, healthy and comforting, that’s what I think of when I make Chicken Noodle Soup! A classic Chicken Noodle soup is made by simmering chicken and vegetables, such as carrots and celery, spices, herbs and small noodles in chicken broth. The result is a simple meal that warms up your soul!
During winter, I make this soup a lot, almost once a week. Recently, I have been making many variations of it. I keep experiment by adding different spice blends in this soup and this time I think I hit a home run. I added the Ethiopian Spice blend called Berbere Seasoning, which is a combination of warm whole spices like cumin, cardamom, coriander, and fenugreek, garlic, cloves, turmeric, grated ginger root, black pepper, salt, paprika, cinnamon, and dried red chiles, that are toasted and ground together. This spice blend adds a distinctive tangy and mildly spicy and smoky flavor to the soup.
Variations for the Chicken Noodle Soup
If you don’t like spice, you can reduce the quantity of the Berbere seasoning. Also, for an extra kick, I add a couple of tablespoons of Sriracha to it, but you can replace that with tomato paste if you want to cut down on the heat. For my family, including my kids, this spice level worked great. I make a few other classic Ethiopian dishes using the Berbere Spice Blend: Misir Wot -Red Lentil Stew, and Key Wat – Beef Stew.
To make this soup vegetarian, you can skip the chicken and add some canned chickpeas, they taste awesome too!
To make this Chicken Noodle Soup healthier, I added whole-grain elbow macaroni to the soup. It not only increases the fiber and reduces the net carbs per serving, it also increases the protein content of the soup.
I make this soup in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot DUO, but you can make it in any pressure cooker. Simply follow the suggested timing for cooking chicken breast or soup, and this recipe will work just fine. To learn more about the instant pot, check out my Instant Pot FAQ and Accessories blog.
Making this soup on the stove-top is a breeze. Take a heavy bottom sauce pan. Heat olive oil in the pan and add crushed garlic to it. As soon as it starts sizzling, add everything else and let it come to a boil. After that, reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes, or till chicken is tender enough to shred. Remove the chicken, shred it and add it back to the soup. Garnish with cilantro and you’re all done!
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Coconut Lime Chicken and Rice is perhaps one of the tastiest dairy-free and gluten-free meals I’ve made so far! It is unbelievably flavorful, with the tart and tangy lime contrasting the sweet and creamy coconut milk. I marinate the chicken in coconut milk, soy sauce, lime, aromatics and a blend of sweet and savory spices. To infuse the flavors of that marinade deeper, I pressure cook the chicken in the same marinade. The result is moist and tender chicken, that is creamy and delicious. Using the pot-in-pot method, I cook basmati or Jasmine rice in coconut milk in the same Instant Pot (pressure cooker). With very little effort, I am able to put this one-pot meal on the table, in under 30 minutes. To learn more about the instant pot, check out my Instant Pot FAQ and Accessories blog.
Simple and Elegant Meal – Coconut Lime Chicken and Rice
This recipe is so simple and easy to prepare, yet so elegant to serve for dinner. I start by scoring the chicken breast before marinating it. That boosts the marinade flavor in the chicken, even if you skip the marination process. It takes a sharp knife and make diagonal incisions on the chicken breast as shown in this picture. Then, I combine the marinade ingredients and throw everything in a ziplock bag (who doesn’t like easy clean-up now!). Coconut Lime Chicken and Rice is on rotation menu in my home.
If you have the time, it’s great to marinate this anywhere from 30 mins to 2 hours. If not, just put everything in the pot, chicken and marinade, and the flavors will still be amazing. By skipping the marination, you’ll be able to have this meal ready in under 30 minutes, from start to finish too. I have made this recipe with boneless chicken thighs as well and it turns out pretty good too. You don’t have to score them, just trim off the excess fat.
Cooking Coconut Rice using Pot-in-Pot Method
You can cook the Coconut rice using the Pot-in-Pot method in your Instant Pot (see FAQ on instant pot to learn more). Simply rinse the rice 2-3 times and if you have the time, soak them for 15-20 minutes. Take an oven safe bowl or insert, and add rice, coconut milk and salt. Add chicken and marinade, place a trivet in the pot and place the rice container on top of that. Now, set a cook time for 6 minutes at high pressure, and you’re done!
You can cook the rice separately too. Follow your preferred stove-top, or microwave recipe for making rice, and replace the water with coconut milk.
Serve with Beet Coconut Stir Fry
I like to serve this dish with a side of vegetables. You can serve it with a salad too. As for sides, you can pick any sides that you like, like green beans, carrots, or, peas and corn. I serve this meal with a side of Beet Coconut Stir Fry. Yup! turns out too much of coconut is a good thing for me. I simply saute the chopped beets with some coconut oil or olive oil, mustard seeds, coconut flakes, salt and some Indian spices. It takes only 4-6 minutes to make this delicious side.