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instant pot recipes

Pot-in-Pot (PIP) Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Method

Instant Pot Pot in Pot Cooking Recipes

Pot-in-Pot Cooking (PIP)

Coconut-lime-chicken-and-rice-Instant PotWhen 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.

Like this:

pot in pot cooking instant potpot in pot cooking instant potpot in pot cooking instant pot

 

 

 

 

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:

Continue Reading…

Sarson Ka Saag (Spiced Mustard Greens)

Sarson ka Saag, Garam Masala KitchenSarson 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.

Sarson ka Saag, Garam Masala KitchenIt’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. To me, this combination is at the top of my soul-food list!

Sarson ka Saag, Garam Masala KitchenPreserving 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 and have observed that if 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.

Makki ki Roti, Garam Masala KitchenServing Suggestion: Sarson ka Saag is traditionally served with Makki ki Roti, a flatbread made with cornmeal. Here is an easy recipe, with step-by-step video instructions for homemade 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.

Sarson Ka Saag (Spiced Mustard Greens)

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Greens(Rinse well, chop and microwave together for 2 mins)
  • 1 bunch Sarson (Mustard Greens),stems removed, chopped, about 6 cups chopped
  • 1 bunch spinach, stems removed and chopped, about 4 cups
  • 2 green chillies
  • Masala seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons ghee/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/Flour (Makki)

Instructions

1

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.

2

Prepare the masala Turn on Instant Pot/Pressure cooker. Heat oil on SAUTE mode. Add cumin and ginger-garlic paste and saute 30 seconds. Add chopped onion and saute another 30 seconds. Add salt, spices and water. Stir well. Cancel SAUTE. Close lid, valve set to sealing position and pressure cook for 2 minutes on Manual or Pressure Cook.

3

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.

Sarson ka Saag, Garam Masala Kitchen

Happy Women’s Day!

Happy Women's Day
Womens Day, Garam Masala Kitchen

photo courtesy: internet/medium.com

Happy Women’s Day to all you wonderful women!

Every year on Women’s Day, I send e-cards and flowers to the awesome women in my family. I wanted to do something different this year. I thought of putting together their personal favorite recipes in a post! What better way to honor and celebrate the lovely ladies in my family than that! Hope you enjoy and celebrate yourself today and always! GMK wishes you all a very Happy Women’s Day!

 

Instant Pot Carrot Halwa GajarHalwa

Carrot Halwa, Gajar Ka Halwa

My Mom: I have to start this post with the one who brought me into this world and helped me become the woman I am today. If you were to ask me for one dish that reminds me of my mom, I would say Carrot Halwa/ Gajar Ka Halwa.  It is made by slow cooking grated carrots with milk and sugar, and flavored with cardamom and saffron.  Garnished with chopped almonds and cashews, this dish is the perfect comfort dessert for winters. Did I mention that my mom makes the world’s best Carrot Halwa 🙂

 

Instant pot Chicken Biryani- Garam Masala Kitchen

Chicken Biryani (Chicken and Rice Pilaf)

Instant-Pot-Homestyle-Mutton-Curry-Goat-Curry-5

Homestyle Mutton Curry (Goat curry)

My Daughters: Both my daughters enjoy a wide variety of international cuisine. They enjoy anything and everything, from Sushi to BBQ Pork Ribs to Lasagna to a humble Lentils and rice. But if you ask them what their favorite dishes are, one would say Chicken Biryani, and the other one would say, Goat Curry.  My daughters are the reason I started this blog. It was meant to be online recipe book for them to follow. So, a big credit for GMK goes to my two little women!  Here are their favorite dishes. Chicken Biryani is a rice-based dish, like a Pilaf, which is made by steam-cooking rice with marinated chicken, with yogurt and warm spices.  Goat Curry, is an extremely popular curry from the Indian subcontinent, where mutton (goat-meat), is simmered in aromatics and a homemade yogurt sauce.

 

Butter Chicken- Authentic & Easy Murgh Makhani, Garam Masala Kitchen

Butter Chicken

My sister: My younger sister, is the Super Woman of our house 🙂 A successful entrepreneur and a wonderful mother. It always amazes me how she balances work and home so well. She’s always juggling so many hats on a regular basis, so a big salute to her for doing it so successfully! #Don’tKnowHowSheDoesit . She loves Butter Chicken! Actually, she loves the sauce more than the chicken. My mom makes the same recipe with Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) for her and she enjoys it just as much.  Butter Chicken is a popular north-Indian dish, where chicken is marinated with yogurt and Garam Masala. It’s grilled, and then it simmers in a tomato based curry, seasoned with warm Indian spices, and garnished with fresh heavy cream!

 

Master Curry Sauce - Punjabi Gravy

Master Curry Sauce

My Mother-in-law: This post wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out to my mother-in-law, who taught me so many tricks and tips in the kitchen. One of those amazing short-cuts, is the Master Curry Sauce, which made life so much easier for me, especially when my kids were babies, and I had very little time to cook. Master Curry Sauce is a versatile Indian gravy that forms the base for so many awesome dishes in north-Indian cuisine. I always make a big batch of this sauce and pop some in the freezer for later use. It makes weeknight dinners a breeze. Simply defrost this sauce, add lentils, chicken or vegetables and pressure cook it. Dinner comes together in no time, with minimum effort!

 

Punjabi-Kadhi-chawal, yogurt curry with rice, instant pot

Kadhi Chawal, Yogurt curry with rice

Me: Last, but not the least, I want to join the celebration and include my favorite comfort food recipe too. Just like many of you, my average day is super packed, and I find myself juggling between work, kids commitments and home. But on days like today, I try my best to make time for myself, even if it is for quick coffee at one of my favorite coffee shops. And when I have more time to spare, I make comfort foods that I enjoy the most. On top of that list is Kadhi-Chawal, a tangy yogurt soup, seasoned with Indian spices and served with steamed Basmati rice. It’s a real treat for me!

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it. Have a wonderful Women’s Day!

‘Everything But The Kitchen Sink’ Pasta Sauce (Instant Pot)

Pasta sauce- Garam Masala KitchenThe Everything But The Kitchen Sink Pasta Sauce is exactly what it sounds like, it’s got a ton of veggies, aromatics, meat, cheese and tomatoes! I’ve always got a jar of this chunky, delicious and super healthy sauce in my freezer. I make this sauce to clean up my fridge, when leftovers of veggies and cheese start piling up. It’s a great sauce to make when you’re short on an ingredient or two. You can easily skip the meat and make a vegetarian version of this hearty sauce.

Plenty of veggie choices: The choices are endless with this sauce. You can pretty much add any veggies you have lying around. Here are some that I have used successfully- mushrooms, celery, eggplant, zucchini, squash, carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic, spring onions, leeks, chives, spinach, kale, turnips and peppers.

instant pot pasta sauce, garam masala kitchenPlenty of meat choices: As with veggies, you can add any meat or a combinations of meats that you have on hand. I have tried making this sauce with all kinds of ground meat and sausage, chopped cooked sausage, leftover mortadella,  salami, shredded chicken, bacon and prosciutto.

Choices for Sauce: I typically have a can of crushed or diced tomatoes in my pantry. If I’m using diced, I like to puree it a little with my hand blender before adding to the pot. I also keep a jar of my preferred marinara sauce, which also works great in this sauce. If you have any leftover tomatoes to use, just throw them in there, finely chopped, and they’ll blend in well.

Kid-Friendly: This is a great sauce to sneak in a ton of veggies in a pasta sauce. If your little one is picky about chunks of veggies, pulse each vegetable a few extra times in the food processor, then increase the cook time to 5-6 minutes. The veggies will almost dissolve in the sauce, and no one will ever know 😉

Instant Pot Lasagna Ravioli Lasagna

Ravioli Lasagna

Serving suggestion: I always make a big batch of this sauce. This works great with a simple boiled pasta; makes a great lasagna, as a pizza sauce with some fresh or shredded mozzarella and hand-torn-basil; for meatball sandwiches.

Stove-Top Method: This sauce can be easily cooked in a big stock pot or sauce pot. Follow all steps and cover and cook on medium-heat,  for about 12-15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes. Continue Reading…

Chole Bhature (Chickpeas Curry with Fried-Puffed bread)

Chole-Bhature, garam masala kitchen

Chole-Bhature, garam masala kitchenChole 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-Chana Masala Instant Pot Garam masala KitchenPunjabi 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.

Here is a quick and easy RECIPE for Punjabi Chole.

Bhatura, is a fluffy deep-fried bread from the northern Indian region. 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. The dough is kneaded to a semi-soft consistency, and then rested 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. These discs are then deep-fried till they are fluffy and golden brown.

Chole Bhature Garam Masala KitchenMy 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!

Electric Tortilla maker, Punjabi Chole Bhature, Garam Masala KitchenHow to roll out the perfect shape for Bhatura: 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…

25+ Quick ‘n’ Easy Vegetarian Recipes for Holi!

Spice-Cravings-Holi-Greetings

Happy-Holi-Wishes-Garam Masala Kitchen25+ Quick ‘n’ Easy Vegetarian Recipes for Holi!

Out of all the Indian festivals, Holi is my absolute favorite! It is the festival of colors after all! Growing up in India, that was one day, where everyone could officially go crazy, and get away with it. I still remember how the day before Holi used to go in buying every possible color powder I could find in the stores, and, getting my water guns ready for the big day.  I remember waking up before everyone else in the house, with sheer excitement of the day ahead!

The one thing that’s common in all Indian festivals, is a variety of amazingly delicious food. Every region in north India has their own spin on holi delicacies. From savory delicacies to mouth-watering desserts, it is a day spent in food heaven:-) My personal favorite of all these recipes is homemade Gujiya! I could just make a meal out of it 🙂 I used to make Gujiya the traditional way, the way my mother-in-law taught me, stuff them and fry them to a golden brown perfection. But past few years, I have been baking them instead of frying them and my kids love it. They love the flaky pastry and the yummy gujiya filling in every bite. And a big plus is that it is super easy and mess free to make. You can check out the recipe for fried and baked Gujiya underneath. Sharing some of my favorites with you!

Here are 25+ recipes to add to your Holi menu, and the best part is, most of them can be done in under 30 minutes, so that you spend less time cooking, and more time enjoying them! Spice Cravings wishes you all a very Happy Holi!

Recipes for Sweet Dishes        Recipes for Savory Dishes


Continue Reading…

Gluten-Free Corn & Chicken Chowder

Gluten Free Corn and Chicken Chowder- instant pot, Pressure CookerCreamy, sweet, hearty and pure deliciousness in a bowl, that’s how I would describe this dish. Whoever said Chowder was a summer-time dish, probably never sat by the fireplace on a cold winter night with a bowl of Corn & Chicken Chowder!

My family loves chowder. My kids’ and husband’s favorite is Clam Chowder, and I am a huge fan of Corn Chowder. We like to make it at home, but a healthier, lighter version, that we can all enjoy without slipping into a food coma later. My husband and I are eating a lower-carb-high-protein diet these days, so I had to revisit my recipe for Summer Corn Chowder and customize it. Plus, I’ve been wanting to make a Gluten-free version for quite sometime now. Chowder is typically thickened with a roux made with flour or some sort of starch. I wanted to skip that altogether. So, I added chicken to bump up the protein in the dish. Then, I eliminated the thickening agents, and, replaced the heavy cream with half & half.  That cut down the carbs and eliminated the gluten. So beware, this is not the super thick and ultra creamy chowder that you’re used to- this is like a ‘skinny’ version of it. For a vegetarian chowder, skip the chicken and you’re set. 

Without the flour, the real challenge was how to thicken the chowder. After a few batches, I figured two things that helped me thicken the chowder. First, I blended some corn with half & half. That not only helped in thickening the broth, it also gave a big corn flavor boost to the chowder, that you would otherwise get by using corn broth. Secondly, once it was done cooking, I used my hand blender for 5 seconds and it thickened the chowder just enough for me. In the video recipe, I skipped this step too and liked that result as well.

Gluten Free Corn and Chicken Chowder- instant pot, Pressure CookerAlternatively, you can use a tablespoon of rice flour during the saute process, or, use a corn starch slurry in the end, to thicken the chowder before serving. Making a corn-flour slurry is super easy. Simply dissolve 1 tablespoon of corn starch in 3-4 tablespoons of room temperature broth/milk/water and add it to the chowder and stir for a few seconds. It thickens the chowder almost immediately.

Many times I make a lower-calorie version of this recipe by using full-fat or even 2% fat milk instead of half & half. The result is not as thick as this one, but the taste is still amazing. So, if you’re watching your calories, that’s another alternative for you.

In this recipe, I have made the Corn & Chicken Chowder in my programmable pressure cooker, the Instant Pot DUO. Instant Pot works great for soups and stews because the process of pressure cooking helps intensify the flavors resulting in a chowder that tastes like it has been simmering low and slow for hours. It helps me get away by adding less half & half than a regular recipe.

Making chowder on the stove-top is a super simple process too. Follow all the instructions listed in the recipe, till the pressure cooking part. Then cover and simmer the chowder for 10 minutes on medium heat. Open lid, add half & half and follow the remaining instructions. That’s it!

If you like this recipe, please share it with your family & friends, and don’t forget to subscribe to GMK! Continue Reading…