Hearty, healthy, rich and creamy, Thai Red Curry Soup is perhaps one of my favorites meals to make when I’m in the mood for something sweet and spicy. This delicious and nutritious soup is filled with protein, has tons of veggies and the creamy yum coconut milk gives it a smooth and velvety texture . A squeeze of lime towards the end, cuts through that richness and balances this soup really well. I make quite a few variations of this soup. I switch the proteins and make it with chicken or shrimp, and a vegetarian version with Extra Firm Tofu.
Thai Red Curry Soup is quick and easy to make, and it’s just perfect for weeknights:
Thai recipes come together in a flash, especially when I use a store-bought curry paste. I’m all about making things from scratch, but when I found out that my local favorite Thai restaurant uses these pre-made curry pastes, I just had to try them. There are many brands for Thai curry paste in the stores, and I’ve tried a fair share of them. I found Maesri brand to be the most authentic in terms of flavors and consistency. I always keep these curry pastes and a can of coconut milk in my pantry. That makes weeknight dinners a breeze. I put together some fresh or frozen chicken, fresh peppers and broccoli, mix the curry paste with coconut milk, add it all to the Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker), pressure cook it for 5 minutes, and dinner is on the table in under 30 minutes!
Make it vegetarian and customize it:
It is extremely easy to customize this soup to your liking. I switch up the proteins and veggies all the time.
To make this soup vegetarian, simply add firm tofu or Paneer (Indian cottage cheese), instead of chicken! Since tofu/paneer is already cooked, add it after pressure cooking the soup, along with the assorted veggies. This way it doesn’t get overcooked and still absorbs the wonderful flavors of the soup.
I love the crunch and flavor of assorted vegetables in Thai Red Curry Soup. I like to add sliced bell-peppers, onions, baby corn and zucchini, but you can add pretty much any kind of vegetables you like. In this recipe, I add the veggies after the pressure cooking process so they retain a nice crunch and stay fresh. Even frozen vegetables work great in this soup. Simply add them after the pressure cooking process and cook for a few minutes on sauté till they thaw and absorb the soup flavors. You can garnish it with cilantro, Thai basil or even mint. I like to have this soup as-is, but if you love to pair Thai recipes with rice, you can serve this with some white or Brown jasmine rice.
Quinoa Vegetable Biryani or Pilaf (pulao) is my healthy twist on a popular Indian classic, Vegetable Biryani! This recipe is an adaptation of my go-to Biryani recipe. Biryani is a popular Indian rice casserole, where long grain basmati rice is cooked with meat or vegetables in Indian spices. I use the same recipe, but replace Basmati rice with Quinoa. I add vegetables and paneer (Indian cottage cheese), adding more protein and vitamins to this dish. Fresh herbs like mint and cilantro add a fresh and floral contrast to the earthy flavors of Biryani Masala. Nuts like almonds and cashews add richness and texture to the rice. I serve it with a side of Cucumber Raita (Yogurt dip), and enjoy a healthy and complete meal in less than 20 minutes.
Even though my family’s love for the classic biryani stands intact, this dish is my effort to introduce a healthier Biryani recipe, so we can enjoy is more often. And the result is simply delicious. It’s quick to make, cooks at lightning speed in my Instant Pot, so a big one-pot weeknight hit in my family!
Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian Punjabi curry made by cooking soft paneer (Indian cottage cheese), in a healthy and tasty spinach based gravy. The pureed spinach provides a creamy base for this flavorful curry, which is cooked with fresh onions, ginger garlic, tomato and seasoned with garam masala, coriander and cumin. It is rich in flavor and is a staple in all Indian restaurants. This is my mom’s famous recipe — which means it’s wicked good! Another quick ‘n’ easy 30-minute meal from my family to yours!
Variations: Palak / Spinach Tofu (Vegan) or Chicken
You can make this recipe Vegan by swapping out the paneer with Extra-Firm Tofu.
Alternatively, you can switch out the paneer and add chicken instead, and make Palak Chicken. If using chicken, use boneless skinless breast or thighs, cut in 1 inch pieces and add it to the pot in step 1, before closing the lid. When done, wait for 5 minutes and release the pressure. Remove chicken pieces after pressure cooking and then add the spinach. Continue with the rest of the instructions. Add the chicken back after pureeing the spinach curry.
I made this recipe in my Instant Pot 6 Qt, but it can be made on a stove-top too. Check out “Stove-top” instructions below.
Heat a deep sauce pan on medium high heat. Since spinach puree tends to splash when simmering, using a deep sauce pan prevents it from messing the cooktop.
Add oil and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Sliced onion and green chili go in now, sauté for a minute. Add tomatoes, salt and dry spices and stir well. Then, add 1/2 cup water, stir, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
Open the lid and add 1/2 bag of baby spinach and stir to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining spinach and wilt for around 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Using a hand blender puree the spinach mix.
Turn on heat to medium, add paneer cubes and simmer for 30 sec- 1 min, till paneer cubes become soft. Turn off the heat. Stir in butter, this adds a silky smooth finish to the sauce, and gives it a gorgeous shine. Add the sugar and stir. This is optional and totally a personal preference. Serve Palak Paneer warm, with Jeera rice/Cumin Rice, Toor Dal, or store-bought Naan, or Roti. Enjoy!
Tip for Pureeing Spinach Without Painting your Kitchen Green 🙂
Hand Blenders are great when you want to puree a sauce and get a velvety smooth finish. But, unless the quantity is enough to submerge the blender-head in the sauce, they tend to splash the sauce all over. To avoid that, I transfer the spinach mix to a tall measuring cup, or the jar that came with my hand blender set. I puree the spinach in that and there are no splashes at all.
Turn on the Instant Pot on SAUTE. Wait 30 seconds for it to heat up. Add oil and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add sliced onion and green chili, and sauté for a minute. Add tomatoes, sauté for 30 seconds. Then, add salt and dry spices and stir well. Add 1/2 cup water and stir. Close the lid. Set pressure valve to SEALING. Cook on MANUAL for 3 minutes.
Release the pressure immediately (QR). Turn on SAUTE. Add 1/2 bag of baby spinach and stir to wilt. add the remaining bag and cook till spinach leaves soften, around 2 minutes. Turn off IP. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the spinach mix. I prefer to use the food processor to avoid splatters of spinach.
Pour the spinach puree back in IP. Turn on SAUTE. Add paneer cubes and stir for 30 seconds- 1 minute, till paneer cubes become soft. Turn IP off. Stir in sugar and butter, this brings the dish to life and gives it a shine. Serve hot with zeera rice or naan. Enjoy!
Palak Paneer in Instant Pot
Amount Per Serving
Calories 198Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Total Carbohydrates 7g2%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.