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indian vegetarian

Punjabi Chole/Punjabi Chana Masala (Chickpeas Curry)

Punjabi-Chole-Chana Masala Instant Pot Garam masala KitchenPunjabi 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!

Punjabi-Chole-Chana Masala Instant Pot Garam masala KitchenDifferent 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.

Chole-Bhature, garam masala kitchenServing Suggestion: Punjabi Chole are best enjoyed with a deep-fried puffed flour bread, called 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…

Quinoa Poha (Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf)

Quinoa Poha- a healthy twist to the most popular breakfast in India, garam masala kitchenSweet, spicy, lemony and hearty, that’s how I would describe this Quinoa Poha! Poha is a popular Indian vegetarian breakfast and snack recipe. This breakfast staple from the state of Maharashtra (western India), is traditionally made with flattened dry rice, called Poha. The flattened rice is rinsed with water a few times to rehydrate it and then cooked with potatoes, plenty of onions, peanuts and warn Indian spices.

Using Quinoa instead of Flattened Rice:

In this recipe, I have substituted flattened rice with Quinoa, adding protein and fiber to this already nutritious dish. A simple seasoning of mustard seeds, curry leaves and a few basic Indian spices, makes it ideal for breakfast or a quick snack. I personally prefer cashews in this recipe , but you can add peanuts or almonds too. I finish this dish with chopped cilantro, a dash of sugar and a squeeze of lime. My kids are huge Poha fans, so the real test in my house was when I served the Quinoa Poha to them. They absolutely loved it and took it for lunch the next day!

Quinoa Poha- a healthy twist to the most popular breakfast in India, garam masala kitchen

In this video, I have adapted this recipe to the Instant Pot, but you can easily make it on the stove-top as well.

Stove-Top Recipe:

  1. Slice onion, peel and cube potatoes, grate or finely chop ginger. Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve, it removes the bitter coating on the quinoa beads.
  2. Heat a sauce pan on medium-high heat.  When it’s hot, add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard start spluttering, add grated ginger, onions, green chili, cubed potatoes and curry leaves. Saute for 1 minute. Add cashews, all dry spices, quinoa, water as per your quinoa brand directions, and ketchup. (I usually add 1 cup water for 1/2 cup quinoa). Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Open lid and add peas, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes in the pan. Fluff with a fork. Garnish with cilantro, sugar and lime. Serve warm. (You may need to adjust the cooking time based on your brand of quinoa.)

More popular Quinoa Recipes from my kitchen:

Quinoa Vegetable Biryani/PilafQuinoa vegetable Biryani

Quinoa-Veggie Burgers Tikki, instant pot quinoaQuinoa Veggie Burger

Minestrone Soup in Instant PotMinestrone Soup with Quinoa

Quinoa Poha

Print Recipe
Serves: 3 Cooking Time: Prep: 5 mins, IP Cook: 1 min


  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed in a mesh sieve
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine (or 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger powder)
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium gold potato, cubed into 1/4 inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 green chilies (optional)
  • 6-8 curry leaves (or 1 kaffir lime leaf)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ketchup (optional, but highly recommended)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • juice of half a lime



Prep the ingredients. Slice onion, peel and cube potatoes, grate or finely chop ginger. Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve, it removes the bitter coating on the quinoa beads. Turn Instant Pot on Sauté. When it's hot, add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard start spluttering, add grated ginger, onions, green chili, cubed potatoes and curry leaves. Saute for 1 minute.


Add cashews, all dry spices, frozen peas, quinoa, water and ketchup. Stir well. Close lid. Set valve to 'Sealing' mode. Cook on MANUAL (High) for 1 minute. For a softer quinoa, cook for 2 minutes on the same setting.


Open lid after natural pressure release or quick release after 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add chopped cilantro, sugar (optional) and lime juice. Stir with the fork and serve warm.

Achaari Paneer Biryani in Instant Pot

This dish brings together the best of both worlds- Achaari Paneer and Biryani. Achaari paneer is a popular Indian vegetarian dish where paneer cubes (Indian cottage cheese), are cooked with pickling spices, giving the dish a subtle pickle-like zing. Biryani, on the other hand is flavorful rice cooked with spiced meat or vegetables. In this dish, I merged these two favorites and created Achaari Paneer Biryani!

This dish is milder than your average vegetable biryani, so if you want to bump up the spice level, increase the garam masala and by another teaspoon. This quick and easy, super delicious meal has become one of our weeknight staples! Add more vegetables to it, like carrots, beans, potato, and you have yourself a delicious Vegetable & Paneer Biryani! This biryani can be enjoyed with raita (yoghurt dip), or with a quick onion relish made by mixing together sliced onions, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and cayenne!

In this video, I’ve made this Biryani in my 3 Qt Instant Pot, but it can be made in any pressure cooker, or on the stove-top too. Check out Notes section, for stove-top details.

Achaari Paneer Biryani in Instant Pot

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 20


  • 1 paneer block- 10oz.
  • 1 cup basmati rice or any long grain rice, rinsed & soaked for 20 minutes in warm water
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 2 teaspoon Panchpuran (Indian five-spice blend-fennel, cumin, fenugreek, nigella, mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 3 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2-3 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne



Prep: Slice onion and bell pepper, cube paneer and keep aside. Rinse rice and soak in warm water for 20 minutes.


Turn on Instant pot on SAUTE. When hot, add oil. Add panch phoran seeds and sauté for 30 seconds. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes followed by all dry spices and stir. Add onion, bell pepper and vinegar. Stir and sauté for 1 minute. Add drained rice, paneer, water and stir well. Close lid. Vent set to SEALING. Cook on MANUAL for 6 minutes.


Open lid after natural pressure release (NPR), fluff rice gently with a fork. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.


Instant Onion Pickle: Mix together all ingredients under "Instant Onion Pickle". Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Ready to serve!


STOVE TOP: In a deep sauce pan or a wide skillet, follow all instructions. Add 1.5 cups water and cook covered for 8 minutes on medium heat.