This recipe for 2-ingredient Plum Jam is like capturing the fresh flavors of summer in a jar! Plums and sugar is all you need to make this pot of deliciousness. I cook down the sweet and tart plums with sugar, which helps them release their juices and natural sweetness. I cook it till it reaches a thick, spreadable jam-like consistency! This flavorful, sweet and slightly tart jam is one of my favorite things about summer!
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…
Beet Coconut Stir Fry or Beetroot Thoran is a quick and easy stir-fry of chopped beets with grated coconut. I lightly season it with salt, turmeric and coriander, and finish it with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. This light and refreshing dish does full justice in highlighting the sweet and earthy flavors of beets.
Beets, the Super Food
Beet, or beetroot, is a popular super food that is gaining visibility for a wide variety of health benefits. Based on my internet research, and to name a few, beets are rich in antioxidants, amino acids, and help in reducing blood pressure. Beet greens are rich in Vitamins A, K and C. They taste somewhat similar to kale and swiss chard. In the past few years, I’ve seen beets feature in many restaurants, as appetizers, side dishes, and even as part of entrées . I’ve been experimenting with beets in my recipes, and am loving the results. Although, I must confess that I have yet to fall in love with beetroot ice-cream 🙂
This recipe for Beet Coconut Stir Fry (Beetroot Thoran) is on repeat menu in my home. It’s inspired by one of my favorite south-Indian side dishes, Thoran.
Kesar Badam halwa, or Saffron Almond Pudding, is the undisputed “king” of Indian desserts. Made using just six simple ingredients, it is one of the most delicious and decadent desserts. I make it using almond flour , milk, butter or ghee (clarified butter), sugar, cardamom and saffron.
Naturally sweet and nutty almond flour, or almond meal, forms the foundation of this rich dessert. I add milk for a creamy and silky smooth texture. Saffron provides a beautiful floral aroma and vibrant yellow color to this halwa. I add a pinch of freshly crushed cardamom since that enhances and compliments the flavors of saffron.
Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern vegetarian salad made of finely chopped parsley and mint, with Bulgar wheat, chopped tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and seasoned with a simple lemon vinaigrette. In this Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, I have replaced Bulgar wheat with cooked quinoa, which makes the Tabbouleh gluten-free, hearty and protein-rich. This simple Mediterranean side takes very little time to make and compliments many grilled meats and vegetables.
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…
Thai food is always on repeat menu in my home, especially on weeknights. It is quick and super easy to make, delicious and very easily customizable to our palette. Thai Massaman Curry or Thai Masaman Curry, is one of the milder curries in Thai cuisine, which is perfect when you’re making this for kids. I love the flavor combination in this curry. It’s a nice blend of sweet and spicy and the coconut milk adds a touch of creaminess to the curry. I finish this dish with a light squeeze of lime and it ties all the flavors together really well.
Easy and Perfect for Weeknights:
Thai Massaman Curry, or any other Thai curry, is one of the easy dinners that I make during weeknights. Like most of you, during weeknights, I don’t have enough time to make this curry paste from scratch, so I combine store-bought curry paste with coconut milk, add protein and a ton of veggies, cook it on the stove-top for 10-12 minutes, or a quick 5 minutes in my Instant Pot , and it’s done! I like using Maesri brand for curry pastes. I find the taste of this brand to be the most authentic. My local favorite Thai restaurant also uses Maesri pre-made curry pastes to make their curries:-)
I buy the curry paste from Amazon, or my local asian supermarket. My pantry is always stocked with one of these curry pastes, coconut milk and a can of baby corn. It makes life much easier for times when you don’t feel like doing take-out, but still want to eat something delicious. I combine the curry paste with coconut milk, add the baby corn, plus about a cup of any frozen veggies I have on hand, and dinner comes together with minimum effort! Continue Reading…
Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhani, literally means paneer cooked in a buttery rich sauce. Paneer is Indian cottage cheese. It’s a vegetarian variation of the popular north-Indian dish called Butter Chicken. I use fresh or store bought paneer (Indian cottage cheese), and simmer it in tomato puree, seasoned with toasted and ground garam masala. A touch of heavy cream brings this dish to life. The original dish was created in the 1950s by the chef of a super popular restaurant in New Delhi, called ‘Moti Mahal Delux’.
Traditional Recipe versus Quick & Easy Recipe
The traditional recipe for Paneer Butter Masala/Paneer Makhani involves one extra step. I marinate the paneer in yogurt and garam masala, grill it, and then simmer it in a tomato-cream sauce. But in this recipe I have skipped that step and made it a one-pot recipe using my Instant Pot, with the same incredible taste. The key is cutting paneer into small, bite-size cubes so that they absorb the flavors of the sauce, and, a little extra garam masala to compensate for the flavors lost in skipping marination. This is one of the tastiest, and most requested Indian vegetarian recipes by my kids.
Is Paneer Makhani the same as Paneer Tikka Masala?
Paneer Butter Masala/Paneer Makhani is the most popular vegetarian entree at any Indian restaurant. It’s very similar to Paneer Tikka Masala, which was a variation of this recipe, created in the UK. Everyone has their take on both these recipes, but to me, the big difference is the use of onion. To make the Tikka Masalacurry I start by sautéing onions with tomatoes and aromatics. Whereas, I skip the onion when making the Butter Masala or the Makhanicurry. I also add more garam masala in the Tikka Masala curry. That makes it a bit more spicier than the Makhani Curry.
Serving Suggestion for Paneer Butter Masala/Paneer Makhani
Paneer Butter Masala/Paneer Makhani goes great with naan, roti and any preparation of basmati rice. I like to pair this rich and creamy curry with Spinach Rice. The buttery soft spinach and aromatic basmati rice compliment this Paneer Butter Masala really well. It feels like a restaurant style Indian meal, in the comfort of my home. I also pair it with Cumin Rice sometimes and the combination is simply delicious!
Kale and Mango Slaw with Chickpeas is a hot favorite dish in my home currently. It screams SPRING, in looks as well as flavor. I lightly sauté my favorite kale slaw mix (from Trader Joe’s), with chickpeas, juicy mango, and top it with crunchy slivered almonds. All the flavors come together really well in the end. My family enjoys it as a side with Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Mediterranean Lamb Chopsand Black Pepper Shrimp, and, leftovers make for a delicious power-packed lunch.
I use cooked chickpeas in this recipe. You can use canned, or pre-cooked chickpeas. I typically, pressure cook about a cup of chickpeas for 30 minutes in my Instant Pot, and use them in different recipes throughout the week. Chickpeas add a nice earthy and creamy flavor, and, boost the protein and fiber content of any dish. That being said, you can choose to use other kinds of beans instead, like black beans, kidney beans, or, skip them entirely to make a simple kale and mango slaw. The same goes for soycutash too. I personally, love the contrast of flavors that soycutash brings to this slaw, with the sweet corn, crunchy edamame and juicy peppers. But, you can use frozen corn or peas instead, or, skip it entirely. On another note, I have used mango in this recipe since I love the combination of kale and mango. You can easily switch that with a pear or a juicy granny smith apple too.
The easy of putting together Kale and Mango slaw with Chickpeas is a big bonus for me. Everything happens in one skillet, so no extra dishes to wash! I sauté cooked chickpeas in cumin and paprika, add soycutash and saute it till it thaws. Then add the Kale slaw mix, salt and vinegar, and sauté it for 30 seconds, and turn off the heat. Add chopped mango, garnish with roasted slivered almonds, and just like that, this nutrition packed slaw is ready!
Here’s how to make Kale and Mango Slaw with Chickpeas:
Aromatic basmati rice cooked with buttery soft spinach in homemade ghee, that’s what makes this Instant Pot Spinach Rice Pilaf so flavorful and hearty! Spinach Rice, or Palak (spinach) Pulav (rice pilaf), is a popular vegetarian side, where long-grain Basmati rice is cooked with fresh spinach, and seasoned with cumin seeds, garam masala (Indian spice blend) and ground coriander. Finally, I finish the spinach rice with a light squeeze of lime and it tastes divine. I like to add a few cashews or slivered almonds to spinach rice, as they add a nice texture and contrast to the creamy spinach and the soft fluffy rice.
Following this quick and easy recipe for Instant Pot Spinach Rice Pilaf, you can elevate your everyday rice into an elegant and delicious side dish!
A very popular variation of this recipe is the Greek-style spinach rice, called Spanakorizo. That’s pronounced as span-a-ko-reezo. Now, try saying that 10 times fast 🙂It is extremely easy to make Spanakorizo by switching a couple of ingredients in this recipe. Typically flavored with fresh dill, lemon zest and juice, this flavor-packed dish goes really well with a mediterranean themed menu. I pair it with these Lamb Chops, or my Mediterranean Chicken and everyone loves it in my home. I have listed the recipe for Spanakorizo in the ingredients list below.
This Instant Pot Spinach Rice Pilaf has a nice fluffy and creamy texture and taste, due to which it seems like the perfect pairing with most Indian curries. My personal favorite pairings with Spinach rice are with Butter Chicken , Chicken Tikka Masala, Paneer Tikka Masala and Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani). My local Trader Joe’s carries both these combinations in their frozen entrée section as well :-). There’s something about these combinations that makes them go so well together; the buttery spinach compliments the rich curry in all these dishes.
Stove-top Recipe for Spinach Rice Pilaf:
In this recipe, I’ve made the Spinach pilaf in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, but this recipe can very easily be made on the stove-top too. Here’s how:
Heat a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium-high heat. Follow the instructions to saute everything, add rice, seasonings, water. Bring to a boil and cover the pot. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
Open lid, gently fluff rice with a fork, add lime juice and mix. Let it sit, uncovered, for 5 minutes before serving. As a result of this resting period, any excess moisture evaporates, therefore, resulting in soft and fluffy rice.
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1small lemon juiced: about 2 teaspoons, to be added after cooking
Rinse rice 2-3 times, till water runs clear. If you have the time, soak it for 20 minutes. Rinse and drain before using.
Heat ghee in instant pot on SAUTE mode. Add cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle, about 15-20 seconds. Add chopped onions and cashews and saute for 30 seconds. If you're adding curry leaves and green chilies, you can add them with the onions. Add crushed or grated, ginger & garlic, and saute another 30 seconds.
Add chopped spinach and cilantro and saute for about a minute, till the spinach wilts. See video for clarity. Add rinsed and drained rice and saute another minute. Add spices and water, stir well. Close lid. Cancel SAUTE. Set pressure valve to 'Sealing' position. Cook on Manual or Pressure Cook for 6 minutes.
Wait 5 minutes before manually releasing the pressure, by turning the valve to venting position (NPR 5). Open the lid after the pin drops. Fluff rice with a fork. Let it sit uncovered for 5 minutes. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and mix it gently.