If you love mangoes and also happen to love cheesecake, this dessert will blow your mind! Sweet mango blended with a custard-like cream cheese filling, baked in a crushed pistachio & cardamom crust, this gluten-free Instant Pot Mango Cheesecake is crazy delicious! It’s a nice fruity twist on my original cheesecake recipe for a New York style cheesecake. Continue Reading…
Kadai paneer is a delicious & elegant Indian dish made with Paneer (Indian cottage cheese), peppers & onions. Cooked in a tomato gravy and seasoned with an aromatic Indian spice blend, called Kadai Masala, this is a real crowd pleaser in most Indian restaurants and homes.
This is my take on a classic. Here I have recreated the magic using easily available ingredients and cooked it in 15 minutes, hence the name 15-Minute Kadai Paneer. This recipe is on repeat menu in my home. Our favorite way of eating this deliciousness it to roll this mix in a warmed whole-wheat tortilla and enjoy a quick and tasty Kadai Paneer Wrap.
One-Pot / One-Pan Recipe
15-Minute Kadai Paneer is one of the simplest recipes I make. The 5 minutes of prep and under 10 minutes of cooking time makes it ideal for weeknights. This easy to follow recipe comes together in ONE-PAN. A wide Skillet or Fry Pan is all you need to make it. You can even make this in your Instant Pot, using the SAUTE feature.
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.
Tandoori Chicken recipe is probably one of the most flavorful and popular recipes from the Indian subcontinent.
In this recipe, I marinate the chicken in yogurt, lemon juice, aromatics and commonly used Indian spices. Then, I grill it to a perfect crispy golden brown. The result is tender, juicy and a to-die-for flavor! If you’ve never tried it before, just trust me on this and go for it!
Tandoori Chicken tastes really good with sliced onions and some Cilantro Chutney!
Tandoori Chicken Recipe
Skinless chicken is the traditional choice in this recipe.
Start by making a marinade with yogurt, freshly ground ginger & garlic, garam masala, ground coriander, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, paprika and fresh lemon juice.
Marinate the chicken anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. Thread it on to skewers and grill it. Most restaurants grill it in a high-heat clay-oven called Tandoor (tun-dur). Tandoor is typically heated with charcoals. That is what gives the chicken a slightly smoky flavor.
But, since most of us don’t have a clay oven in our backyards, an oven broiler, or an outdoor grill can achieve a similar flavor!
Tandoori Chicken in Instant Pot (pressure cooker):
Pot-in-Pot Cooking (PIP)
When I first got my Instant Pot pressure cooker,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) Instant Pot. It sounded interesting, but intimidating! I read up about it, and experimented with my first PIP meal using stackable containers, 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 instant pot stacking 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:
Soft, spongy, melt-in-your-mouth Rava Idli is a real favorite with my kids. Rava Idli, which is made with semolina flour called Rava, is a variation of the popular south-Indian breakfast dish called ‘Idli’ (steamed rice & lentil cakes).
Super easy to make, this instant breakfast or snack recipe needs no grinding or fermenting, and comes together in 30 minutes, with only 5-7 minutes of active cooking time. In this recipe, I made rava idli in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, using my newest kitchen toy, Silicone Molds. These molds work great for a variety of recipes including, eggs-bites, mini lava cakes and more. I love it when a kitchen accessory can be used for multiple recipes!
Kids Love it:
I mix in some frozen corn, frozen peas, chopped carrots, and chopped cashews into the idli mix, to give the idlis a bite and bump up their nutritional content. This combination and small size of each idli makes it a great snack or school lunch option for kids.
Rava Idli can be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch or snack. In my house, we each have a different ‘favorite’ condiment to enjoy it with. We have it with ginger chutney, coconut chutney, cilantro-mint chutney, and ketchup… yes, ketchup:-)
Here’s how easy it is to put this together:
Another Indian Breakfast Recipe
Another Indian breakfast hit with my kids is “poha”. Poha, which is made with flattened dry rice and is popular in many places in North India. Check out my vegetarian instant pot poha recipe, in which I substituted flattened rice (poha) with Quinoa. Quinoa adds protein and fiber to this already nutritious dish, and is gluten-free.
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Soft & spongy rava idle is a favorite with my kids. It's a variation of the popular south-Indian breakfast called 'Idli' (steamed rice & lentil cakes). Made with semolina (rava), corn, peas, carrots, and cashews, these savory cakes make for a healthy & tasty breakfast or brunch.
- 2 tablespoons chopped cashews or peanuts
- 2 tablespoons frozen corn
- 2 tablespoons frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons chopped carrots chop them about the size of peas
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger OR, 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 3/4 teaspoon Eno Fruit Salt OR, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda+1/2 teaspoon citric acid
Prep: In a large bowl, add all ingredients listed under 'Idli Mix', and mix well. Keep aside for 15 minutes while you prep the instant pot and molds. Add 2 cups of water in the inner pot and turn on SAUTE (high), so that the water comes up to a boil. Grease the silicone molds or Idli steamer lightly, using PAM cooking spray or ghee. Keep aside.
Prepare tempering: Heat a fry-pan on medium-high heat. Add all ingredients listed under 'Tempering'. Wait for the mustard seeds to pop, and urad dal to turn golden in color. Remove from heat and mix in the idli batter.
Cook idli: Add Eno fruit salt in the batter and mix it in gently. Don't over-mix the batter. Fill up the silicone molds about 3/4th of the way. Place the silicone tray on a trivet and lower it in the instant pot. At this point the water will be boiling, so be careful while doing that. Carefully stack the second mold on top of the first one, placing it such that the cavities DON'T overlap. If using Idli stand, fill up the idli molds 3/4 of the way and follow the same process. Close the lid. Set vent at VENTING position. Press STEAM for 12 minutes. The Instant Pot doesn't count down the timer in STEAM mode, so set an external timer (oven, microwave, siri, alexa).
Idli is done: When the timer is done, let the pin drop before opening the lid, takes about 30 seconds or so. Carefully open lid and remove the silicone molds or idli stand. Let the idlis cool for 2-3 minutes before popping them out of the mold. If using the silicone molds, they slip right out when you invert the mold and push gently. Serve idli warm, with your favorite side of chutney. We love ours with homemade cilantro-mint chutney and ginger chutney.
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Sarson ka Saag, or, as we say in my family, Sarson da saag, is a leafy-vegetable preparation from Punjab, in the northern-Indian regions of India. Traditionally a winter-time speciality, it is prepared with mustard greens and spinach, that are seasoned with onions, ginger, garlic and warm Indian spices. Sarson ka Saag is usually served with makki ki roti, which is a flatbread prepared with fine-ground cornmeal.
It’s a treat that I make for my family for Sunday brunches during winter-time. The rich and buttery Sarson ka Saag goes so well with the crisp and earthy Makki ki Roti, that my otherwise picky kids & hubby also forget that they’re eating healthy greens for a meal, and, enjoying them too:-) I like to serve it with Sweet & Spicy Lemon pickle and a boondi raita, which is yoghurt side. To me, this combination is at the top of my soul-food list!
Preserving the Green Color
Whenever I prepare any kind of green leafy vegetables, I like to preserve the bright green color and not have them turn ‘dark and brownish’ in the cooking process. The key is to not over-cook them, AND, not cover them while cooking. I have tried many different ways of making saag. I found that the key is that when I flash cook (add them to boiling water, remove and put them in ice-bath), or, microwave the greens and then season them, it cooks them perfectly, and preserves the color beautifully. That is why I never pressure cook the greens. I pressure cook the masala (seasoning mix), and add the greens to that.
In this recipe, I have prepared my seasoning in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, but this can be made on the stove-top too. Simply follow the steps and cook the masala in a heavy bottom chef’s Pan, cover and cook the masala for 10 minutes. Open the lid and follow the remaining instructions.
Ideal Pairing: Makki Ki Roti
But, if you do not have the time to make those, pair them with stone-ground corn tortillas from your local supermarket, and you will enjoy that combination too! To elevate the tortillas to another level, lightly grease a fry-pan, brush the corn tortillas with a little ghee, sprinkle a little cayenne on top, and lightly toast them. The end result gets pretty close to the classic Makki ki Roti.
Serve this combo with some Sweet and Spicy lemon Pickle to round out the dish!
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Sarson ka Saag is a leafy-vegetable preparation from Punjab, in the north of India. Traditionally a winter-time speciality, it is prepared with mustard greens & spinach, seasoned with onions, ginger, garlic, & warm Indian spices. It is usually served with makki ki roti, which is a cornmeal flatbread.
- 6 cups Sarson (Mustard Greens) : stems removed and chopped
- 4 cups spinach : stems removed and chopped
- 2 green chillies
- 2 teaspoons ghee or butter
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste : 1 inch ginger + 6 cloves garlic, grated/crushed
- 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder optional
- 2-3 teaspoons Coriander Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Powder adjust to taste
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons corn meal or corn flour Makki
Prepare the greens: Rinse mustard greens and spinach leaves 2-3 times, to wash off any dirt. Remove the fibrous stems from mustard greens and chop the leaves roughly. Do the same for spinach leaves. In a microwave safe bowl, add chopped greens and 2 green chillies, and microwave for 2 minutes. Using a hand blender, puree the greens to a medium fine consistency, or according to your preference.
Prepare the masala: Turn on Instant Pot or Pressure cooker. Heat oil on SAUTE mode. Add cumin and ginger-garlic paste and saute 30 seconds. Then, add chopped onion and saute another 30 seconds. Finally, add salt, spices and water. Stir well. Press "Cancel SAUTE". Close lid, valve set to sealing position and pressure cook for 2 minutes on Manual or Pressure Cook.
Season Saag (Greens): Manually release pressure by turning the valve from Sealing to Venting position (QR). Open lid after pin drops. Turn on SAUTE. Add fine-ground cornmeal and saute for one minute, to cook the flour through. If the mix looks dry, add a little as needed. Add the pureed greens and saute for 2 minutes to blend the flavors together. Serve warm with Makki ki Roti (cornmeal flatbread), or Corn Tortillas or Naan.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.
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 in the instant pot 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. Click here for the step-by-step recipe of Saffron Rice.
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.
Cucumber Yoghurt Dip / Cucumber Raita
POT-in-POT: Cooking Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice in the same pot
In this recipe, I 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…
Chole Bhature is a popular dish from the Punjabi cuisine in Northern India, where a Chickpeas curry, called Chole (Cho-lay), is served with a puffed, deep-fried bread, called Bhatura (Buh-too-ray). Growing up, Chole-Bhature used to be our regular Sunday brunch. This happens to be my kid’s favorite Indian vegetarian meal, and it has now become a tradition in our home, to make it for our Diwali dinner. We like to enjoy it with some sweet and spicy lemon pickle. Yum!
Punjabi Chole, is Chickpeas curry, where Chickpeas, also called Garbanzo beans or Chana (in Hindi), are soaked overnight to re-hydrate, and then cooked with fresh onions, ginger, garlic and seasoned with a unique spice blend of garam masala, Anardana (Pomegranate) Powder, and amchur (dry mango powder), which gives it an earthy and slightly tart taste! Alternatively, you can use Canned Chick Peas and make this dish in under 30 minutes.
Bhatura or Deep-Fried Bread
Bhatura, is a fluffy deep-fried bread from the northern Indian region. It is the yin to the yan of chole in the chole bhature. It is typically made with a dough of all-purpose flour, yogurt, oil and spices. I have a simple recipe for making home-made Bhatura, that requires some time and muscle power, but I promise you, it’s worth it. I knead the dough to a semi-soft consistency, and then let it rest to achieve some fermentation. The rested dough is kneaded again, divided into small portions, and each portion is rolled out into a circular shape, using a Rolling Pin on any flour-dusted flat surface, like a granite counter-top, or a large wooden board. I then deep fry these discs till they puff up with steam and are golden brown.
My tried and tested, semi-home-made trick for Bhatura
I’ve been making home-made pizza for over a decade now. When I don’t have time, I typically end up buying fresh, ready-made dough, from the produce section of Trader Joe’s, or a local Pizzeria. It’s as good as the home-made dough, minus the work. Since the dough consistency and process is so similar to Bhatura recipe, one day I ended up deep-frying pizza dough to test out the results. All I can say is, “BULLSEYE!!” Since then, I alternate between both kinds. I have to say, pizza dough works so much better and faster for a weeknight festivity, or, when I am entertaining. Off lately, I have started buying the Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough from Trader Joe’s. It’s healthier, has more fiber than the regular dough, plus we love the taste. Try it sometime!
Most kinds of Indian flatbreads have to be rolled out in a circular disc shape. And that takes time and practice to perfect. But, if rolling the dough isn’t your thing, you can easily get perfectly round Bhature using this cool gadget, Electric Tortilla Maker. It makes the process so much smoother and faster. Simply place the dough ball in the top center of the flat plate, press down once, press down again and lift. And you’ll have an evenly rolled out (or pressed down) circular shaped Bhatura in under 10 seconds. I use this to make Puris too! Continue Reading…
Punjabi Chole is perhaps one of the most popular vegetarian north-Indian dish. Creamy, spicy and slight tangy, this dish is a party in your mouth! To make this dish, Chickpeas, also called Garbanzo beans or Chana (in Hindi), are soaked overnight to re-hydrate, and then cooked with fresh onions, ginger, garlic and seasoned with a unique spice blend. Almost everyone I know has their own spin on Chole, and they all taste great, but what makes Punjabi Chole different and stand out, is the unique combination of garam masala, Anardana (Pomegranate) Powder, and amchur (dry mango powder), which gives it an earthy and slightly tart taste!
Different Cooking Processes
For the longest time, my Mom used to make Chole in a 2-step process. She would pressure cook the chickpeas with salt and turmeric for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, she would prepare the onion and aromatics masala, and then simmer everything together for another 10 minutes on medium heat. Years ago, when my kids were babies, and I had very little time to cook, I developed this recipe, which cut down the time and steps involved, while maintaining the same lip-smacking taste.
Punjabi Chole are best enjoyed with a deep-fried puffed flour bread, called Bhatura (check out my recipe for Bhatura). Growing up, Chole-Bhature used to be our regular Sunday brunch. This happens to be my kid’s favorite Indian vegetarian meal, and it has now become a tradition in our home, to make it for our Diwali dinner. We like to enjoy it with some sweet and spicy lemon pickle . Yum! Chole also go really well with Kulcha, Puri, Naan or Cumin rice.
Chole or Chickpeas, take a very long time to cook on the stove-top. It would take around 45-50 mins to achieve the soft texture that we love in this recipe. Plus, you have to be there, stirring and keeping an eye on the stove. So, using my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot, or any stove-top pressure cooker, works great for this recipe and reduces the active cooking time significantly.
How to make this recipe in under 30 minutes
By using Canned Chickpeas, you can reduce the cooking time to less than half. Simply rinse out the canned chickpeas and add them to the pot as per instructions, and pressure cook everything for 6-8 minutes. Wait 10 minutes before releasing the pressure manually, open lid and you’re done! Continue Reading…