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3 qt Mini Duo

3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Fill-it, Shut-it, Forget-it/ Instant Pot Magic/ Low Carb/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Thai Green Curry with Tofu- Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker

Thai Green Curry with Tofu, Instant Pot, Pressure CookerThai Green Curry is one of the most popular and the spiciest curry you’ll find at a Thai restaurant. It’s a lemony, earthy, spicy curry that goes perfectly well with the creamy coconut milk. The two balance each other so well and the result is a sweet and spicy curry that can compliment any meat or vegetable you add to it. This curry can be made with Chicken, Shrimp or Tofu (Vegetarian). This is another weeknight favorite in my home!

When I have time to plan ahead, I like to make this paste from scratch. I blend together the following with maybe a tablespoon or so of oil for easy blending:

  • 1 lemongrass stalks, outer layers removed
  • 5 serrano chiles, de-seeded
  • 1 large shallot, cut in half
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves with stems
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves

Thai Green Curry with Tofu, Instant Pot, Pressure CookerBut then there are days, where I barely have time to cook. For those days, this pre-made paste works great. I really like the Maesri brand of Thai curry pastes. They make weeknight meals taste so good. I always tell my friends that Maesri curry pastes are so authentic, that if you ever did a blind taste test, you won’t be able to tell between a restaurant version and yours.

I simply simmer this paste with coconut milk, add protein and vegetables and cook it for 2 minutes in my programable pressure cooker, Instant Pot, on Manual or Pressure Cook, QR after 5 minutes! Finish with brown sugar and few drops of lime juice. Simultaneously, I make Brown Jasmine rice and our meal is done!

Spice level Tip: This Thai paste is on the spicier side. If you’re not sure how you’ll like the spice, start by adding 1/2 a can and cook it. If you like it to be more spicy, you can always add a few more tablespoons after the cooking process, and then saute it for a few more till everything comes together.

I make this mostly with Chicken, Shrimp or Extra-Firm Tofu. You can add your choice of vegetables like  water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, zuchhini. If adding peppers, I would them after cooking and saute for 2 minutes. When cooking this with Chicken , increase the cooking time to 4 minutes for bite size chicken pieces. When cooking this with Shrimp, cook the curry for 1 minute, QR, and then add the Shrimp, saute’ for 1-2 minutes, till they turn opaque. If you add them earlier, they’ll be over cooked. This is a very versatile curry, add your favorite combination and enjoy!

Another Thai curry that makes it to our top favorite is Thai Panang Curry. Check it out! Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Desserts & Drinks/ Instant Pot Magic

Easy Mulled Wine / Gluhwein Recipe

On a cold winter evening, there is nothing better than curling up in front of the fireplace with a warm cup of tea, except, with a cup of hot Mulled Wine!

Mulled Wine Gluhwein recipe Instant Pot I use one medium orange with its peel and juice to add a slight citrus and tart flavor, and add whole spices like cinnamon, cloves and star anise.  Then, I add a bottle of dry red wine and let it steam and take on the flavors of the syrup. This way the alcohol doesn’t burn off and the wine gets infused with the wonderful flavors of citrus and spices. Many recipes use apple cider, but I feel that changes the flavor too much for my taste.

Smart Tip: I pierce the cloves into the orange peels, so that its easy to pick them out later.  Instead, you can use a spice cloth/cheese cloth to keep the cloves & star anise together and easily fish them out before serving.

Mulled wine is best made with the a full bodied red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon, but you can use any good dry red wine that you like.  Save your expensive reserved wines for later though, and use a relatively inexpensive wine for this recipe, since its flavor gets modified completely.   I wouldn’t ever use ‘Cooking Wine’ in this, or any recipe for that matter. For an extra kick in the end, you can spike it with a shot of dark Rum, whiskey, bourbon, or Grand Marnier. This is totally optional, but, I personally prefer a small shot of Grand Marnier in my cup. It boosts the orange flavor and gives this drink a great rich flavor.

Important Tip# 1: The key to making Mulled Wine is to not ever boil it.  Alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water so you really have to watch the heat.  For that reason, I use boiling water to dissolve the sugar and infuse the spices in the beginning and then let it cool down to a warm temperature before adding the wine.

Important Tip #2: When you switch to the ‘Keep Warm’ mode, fish out the orange peels, star anise and cinnamon. This prevents the wine from getting overpowered by these spices, and sometimes, the spices can cause a slight bitter after-taste if left in there too long.

Mulled Wine Gluhwein recipe Instant PotYou can make this recipe on the stove-top too. But, you have to watch it like a hawk since you don’t want to over-heat your wine.  I used an Instant Pot in its SAUTE mode to make the Mulled wine, and later switched it to ‘Keep warm’ mode, so that it stays warm for my guests throughout the party.  I would not recommend using the pressure cooking mode for this recipe, since the temperature for pressure cooking will burn off all the alcohol. I prefer using the Instant Pot for this recipe, simply because I can follow the recipe on the SAUTE setting without having to monitor it continuously, AND, I can keep it warm without the stove being on, which is avoidable when I’m entertaining guests.

It’s very easy to scale this recipe. Simply double-up the ingredients and follow the instructions. The boiling time for the sugar syrup may go up by a minute or two due to increase in quantity. The rest of the time remains about the same. Feel free to taste in between and adjust the flavors to your taste (Chef’s privileges;-)

Cheers, Sumit Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Chicken, Seafood & Meat/ Instant Pot Magic/ Under 30 minutes

Keema Naan Pizza- Indian Spiced Ground Meat Pizza

Keema Naan Pizza –  Warm and oven-toasted Naan, brushed with garlic-infused extra-virgin olive oil, topped with salty and tasty mozzarella cheese, followed by pre-made Chicken/Turkey/Lamb/Beef Keema (spiced ground meat) and sliced sweet rainbow peppers, sprinkled with cayenne and fresh cilantro… if your mouth isn’t watering yet, you need to taste this!

Keema Naan Pizza, Indian ground chicken Keema pizzaPizza is one of our go-to take-out option. When my kids were younger, we used to make it from scratch at home. Kids would love to help in kneading the dough, sprinkling the pizza board with flour, roll out the pizza dough into ‘anything but round’ shapes:-), and then top it with their favorite toppings, with extra cheese of course!

A few years ago, we started making Fusion Pizzas at home. We would make Mediterranean Pizza, Taco Pizza, Thai-delight Pizza, Tandoori Chicken Pizza and so on. In the last few years, as weekdays got busier for us as a family, we started using store-bought bread bases for these Pizzas and actually started to prefer them. We started using whole-wheat or regular Pita breads, Tortillas, baguettes and Naan as our bases, and they worked so well with our recipes.  Naan Pizza is one of our favorite combinations to do. It’s Pizza with an Indian twist! I make a gazillion variations of this Pizza. This is a great way to revamp any leftovers too. I use paneer leftovers, leftover grilled chicken, leftover Pork Ribs… and slice up some peppers and onions and it makes for a real delicious meal with a side of a salad.

Naan Pizza, Indian ground chicken Keema pizza Keema Naan Pizza makes for a great appetizer too. I cut it in 2-inch pieces and serve it as appetizers. They’re easy to grab with one hand, especially if you’re holding a drink in another, and they make for great conversation starters! You can make this pizza with any kind of ground meat like chicken, turkey, lamb or beef. You can make this vegetarian by switching the ground meat with finely diced mushrooms or a minced paneer preparation (Paneer Bhurjee).

Keema Naan Pizza, Indian ground chicken Keema pizzaFor this recipe, I start by making Keema (ground meat with Indian spices) in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot.   You can make this a day or two in advance too. So this recipe is great for a weeknight dinner, where you can prepare your Keema over the weekend, and then simply assemble this Pizza and pop it in the oven for 8 minutes! This comes together in 15-20 minutes with very little effort. For a detailed recipe and video for Keema, click here. Here’s how simple it is:

 

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Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Chicken, Seafood & Meat/ Instant Pot Magic/ Under 30 minutes

Chicken & Vegetable Skewers with Lemon Rice

Chicken-Skewers-and-Lemon-Rice- Instant Pot / Pressure CookerChicken and Vegetable skewers are one of my favorite things to make. I love meals where I can take care of the protein and vegetables in one-shot. Depending on my family’s mood, we eat it with a garden salad, or with toasted Pitas and Hummus, and of course, one of our favorite combinations is with delicious and fragrant Lemon Rice!  These skewers make for great finger foods for entertaining as well!

This meal is super quick to put together too, which makes it very weeknight friendly. I buy pre-cut chicken from Trader Joe’s. Rinse and soak my basmati rice while I prep the vegetables. Dice up some onions, bell peppers and zucchini. Make a marinade with greek yogurt and dry spices. Toss chicken and veggies in the marinade and thread them onto bamboo skewers. I typically end up broiling these skewers, simply due to a texture preference. I have elaborated more on that in the next paragraph. Simultaneously, set the rice in my Instant Pot. In the end, this meal is at the table in under 30 minutes. I serve this with a Garden Salad with a lemon vinaigrette or a Greek salad sometimes.

Chicken-Skewers-and-Lemon-Rice- Instant Pot / Pressure CookerDifferent cooking techniques result in different textures for the Chicken and Vegetable skewers. How you cook them is entirely your preference. I have for you 3 ways you can cook your skewers, and here’s what to expect from a texture standpoint. If you grill them or broil them in the oven, there is subtle char-broiled flavor that gets infused in the chicken and vegetables. The vegetables get cooked, but not all the way through and still retain their crunch. If you cook your skewers in the pressure cooker along with the Lemon rice, the chicken will be super moist and the vegetables will be tender, more like a steamed texture. You can choose vegetables that take a longer time cook, like turnips, carrots, potato cubes instead. My family prefers grilling or broiling them.

To make an all-vegetarian version of this dish, you can substitute chicken cubes with Paneer cubes or Extra-Firm Tofu cubes. Follow the recipe and marination process. If grilling them, reduce the time to 2-3 minutes per side, flipping them once. Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Instant Pot Magic/ Vegetarian

Rajma Masala – Kidney Beans Curry

Beans are a staple food in so many cultures around the world. They’re nutritious, contain protein as well as fiber, they’re widely available, inexpensive and above all- almost every culture has a comfort food version including beans.  In northern India, a popular rustic combination of Beans and Rice is called Rajma Chawal, where Rajma refers to any variety of kidney beans, and, Chawal means rice. This dish is very close to my heart- it represents my Punjabi roots and has countless childhood memories attached to it.

Instant Pot Rajma Masala- Red Beans curryThere are many varieties of kidney beans, mostly distinguished by color and region, where they’re grown. My favorite type is dark kidney beans. If I have time to plan ahead, I soak the dry kidney beans the night before. Then, I cook these rinsed and drained beans in a mildly spicy, tomato based curry, seasoned with warm Indian spices. Beans take around 45-50 minutes to cook on a stove-top, so I always pressure cook them in my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot, which cuts the cooking time in half.  For weeknights, using canned kidney beans and crushed tomatoes in the same recipe, makes this comfort meal possible in 5-6 minutes of cooking time. In the same amount of time, you can cook white Basmati rice, Brown rice or quinoa. Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Chicken, Seafood & Meat/ Instant Pot Magic/ Low Carb

Lamb Korma- Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker

Lamb Korma is an Indian Mughlai dish where Lamb stew meat is braised in a cream based sauce and bold Indian spices and simmered for hours to reach the perfect tenderness and flavor. The word Korma or Kurma draws it’s origin from the Persian word Kormah, which literally means “braise”.

lamb korma curry instant pot pressure cookerThe flavors of Korma are developed by using the popular spice blend called Garam Masala, which includes, Cardamom, Cumin, Coriander, Cloves, Bay leaves etc. These flavors are infused in a yogurt, cream or coconut cream sauce. The meat is then simmered in this sauce for hours over slow heat, till it becomes tender. I am able to mimic that slow-cooking set-up by cooking this Korma in my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot DUO. The end flavors are to die for and I and am able to cut down the cooking time significantly. You’ll never guess how easy this is!

You can make the korma sauce using three different cream bases- heavy creamyogurt or coconut milk. My family loves the taste of a coconut milk based sauce, so that’s what I end up making most of the time. Using coconut milk also makes this dish is dairy-free, so people with dairy restrictions can also enjoy this amazing curry. If you’re eating low-carb, you can have this with cauli-rice or nutty brown rice. My family loves to eat this korma with butter naan, paratha- flat bread, cumin rice or brown rice. I serve this with a side of garden salad with a simple lemon vinaigrette. The salad adds a beautiful contrast to the creamy Korma, and adds some greens to your meal too!

You can make this Korma with chicken or beef too. For boneless skinless chicken, reduce the cooking time to 5-6 minutes of high-pressure cooking. For beef stew meat, increase the cooking time to 25-30 minutes of high pressure cooking, depending on the size of pieces. Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Condiments & Accompaniments/ Instant Pot Magic/ Vegetarian

Peach Ginger Chutney- Pressure Cooker (or Stove)

Peach ginger chutney instant pot pressure cookerSweet and juicy Peaches. Spicy and warm Ginger.  What happens when you cook them together? You get the perfect blend of sugar and spice- Peach Ginger Chutney. Chutney is a spicy condiment made with fruits or vegetables, vinegar, spices, sugar and a pinch of salt.

It’s origin can be traced back to India. Fruit or vegetables chutney evolved with the Anglo-Indian cuisine in India, where the main aim was to preserve the seasonal fruit or vegetable for year round consumption. As a deviation from the Indian pickle, the oil and spices were replaced with vinegar and sugar, both adding to the longer shelf life of the product.

Peaches are my all-time favorite fruit. I can have them in anyway, fresh, as jam, canned in light syrup, in a salad, on a cheese platter, and of course, as a chutney. Chutneys and Jams are a nice way to enjoy the fresh taste of your favorite fruit, for the year round. I am very grateful for the giving Peach Tree in my backyard. This summer, it was so generous that we were picking fruit for a long time. We gave some to neighbors, colleagues, friends and even strangers:-) Then, we made Jam– oh boy did we make some Jam!  Let’s just say we made enough to last us and our friends the whole year. We ended up freezing up a whole lot of them. The peaches you see in this recipe, came out of my freezer (that’s why they look a little brown:-). Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Instant Pot Magic/ Vegetarian

Kidney Beans and Brown Rice Pot-in-Pot ( Instant Pot Rajma Chawal)

Beans and Rice are a staple food in so many cultures around the world. It’s nutritious, it’s widely available, it’s inexpensive and above all- it’s hearty food which leaves you full and satisfied. In northern India, this popular rustic combination is called Rajma Chawal, where Rajma refers to any variety of kidney beans, and, Chawal means rice. This dish is very close to my heart- it represents my Punjabi roots and has countless childhood memories attached to it.

If I have time to plan ahead, I soak the dry kidney beans the night before. Then, I cook these rinsed and drained beans in a mildly spicy, tomato based curry, seasoned with warm Indian spices. Beans take around 45-50 minutes to cook on a stove-top, so I always pressure cook them, which cuts the cooking time in half.  For weeknights, using canned kidney beans and crushed tomatoes in the same recipe, makes this comfort meal possible in 5-6 minutes of cooking time. In the same amount of time, you can cook white rice or quinoa.

Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Breakfast/ Desserts & Drinks/ Fill-it, Shut-it, Forget-it/ Instant Pot Magic/ Vegetarian

Rice Pudding- Kheer

Rice Pudding- Kheer in Instant PotKheer is a popular form of Rice Pudding from the northern Indian cuisine. It is typically made by boiling rice, with milk and sugar, and is enhanced by cardamom or saffron and dried fruits and nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios and raisins. There are many variations and names of this sweet dish all over India. It can also be made with broken wheat, tapioca or vermicelli. Kheer is typically served as a dessert and is often made as an offering to the Gods during prayer ceremonies or festive occasions.

Rice puddings are found in nearly every area of the world. There are variations in recipes based on cooking methods and list of ingredients, but rice (or a similar starch) and milk seem to be the common ones in most. According to Wikipedia, there are close to 60 different variations of Rice Puddings around the world. I like to flavor mine with freshly ground cardamom. If you don’t like the black specs in it, you can use the store bought version, which is much lighter. Also, you can use raisins, coconut and even saffron to enhance your rice pudding. So, if your version is different than mine, simply use this recipe as a guideline and do your magic.

Rice Pudding- Kheer in Instant PotTill I bought my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, I used to make Kheer on the stove-top. It would take me around 30-40 minutes (depending on quantity), but I had to babysit the pot. I had  to adjust temperature, keep stirring, make sure the milk doesn’t boil over. Definitely worth it, but why do that when you can have a hands-free option! Untill now, I believed that dairy has a tendency to curdle under high and fluctuating pressure, which is how many stove-top pressure cookers operate. But the Instant Pot is different. The Porridge mode allows you to cook at a consistent and even temperature- no changes in pressure till the cooking is done. So now, I can fill the pot with the ingredients, give it a stir, and set a timer on Porridge mode and forget about it! And it tastes amazing too- that’s a huge win for me.

My Mom’s Tip : In order to ensure that the milk doesn’t stick/burn at the bottom of the pan, start by adding 1/4 cup water and then add the milk. Don’t ask me how, but this trick works every single time.

My Tip : By turning the Saute mode on initially, the milks gets tempered, which means, it warms a bit before we close the lid for pressure cooking. This prevents the milk from curdling. Also, starting with a super clean pot also ensures that. So, wipe your inner pot clean to make sure nothing from the last meal is still sticking to it.

Stove-Top Recipe: If you were making this on the stove-top, I’d suggest a heavy bottom sauce pot like this one: Non-Stick Sauce Pan.

  1. I start by adding the milk, give it a few minutes to warm up and then add rinsed and drained rice and nuts. Keep the heat at medium-high and stir intermittently, till the milk reaches a boil.
  2. Turn down the heat on medium and stir till rice get cooked.
  3. Add sugar and stir till sugar dissolves. You can mash the rice a little using a Potato Masher– it gives a good texture to the Kheer.
  4. Turn off the flame till you reach the right texture for how you like your Kheer. I personally, don’t like to thicken it a lot, because it will naturally thicken as it cools down. If it’s too thick, add more milk and adjust the sugar accordingly. Finish by sprinkling in some cardamom powder and enjoy warm or cold!

Rice Pudding- Kheer

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 20 minutes on Porridge mode

Ingredients

Instructions

1

Prep: Rinse rice 2-3 times or till water runs clear. Soak in water till you arrange everything together. Chop nuts to your liking. Crush cardamom if using fresh.

2

Turn on Instant pot to Saute Mode. Add 1/4 cup water. Now add the milk. This prevents the milk from scorching the bottom of the pan. Add drained rice, sugar, nuts and give it a light stir. Hit cancel. Set instant pot to Porridge mode for 20 minutes. Valve set to Sealing Mode. Let the pressure release naturally for at least 15 minutes (NPR 15).

3

Open the lid. You can mash the rice a little using a Potato Masher- it gives a good texture to the Kheer. Add ground cardamom and stir. Kheer is ready to eat. You can enjoy this warm or cold!

Notes

If the Kheer is thin for your liking, you can cook of the milk by turning on the SAUTE mode. But remember, that it will thicken quit a bit as it cools. If Kheer is too thick for you, you can add more milk to it and cook it till the milk boils. Remember to add more sugar.

3 qt Mini Duo/ Chicken, Seafood & Meat/ Instant Pot Magic/ Low Carb/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Kung Pao Chicken (or Tofu)

Kung Pao Chicken

Whenever I want to test a new Chinese restaurant, I always order their Kung Pao Chicken. That determines if I’ll be going back to that place again or not. It is my all-time favorite asian stir-fry dish to eat! After having tasted a gazillion Kung Paos, I have to admit, in the end, nothing beats ‘Panda Express’s Kung Pao Chicken:-)

Kung Pao ChickenKung Pao Chicken is asian comfort food for me. Tender juicy chicken, crunchy onions, peppers and celery, dressed with a light garlicky sauce, which is a perfect blend of salty & sweet goodness. Peanuts complete this dish by adding a slight crunch. I don’t even need rice or chowmein with it, I can eat a bowl full as-is. That being said, it pairs really well with brown jasmine rice. Continue Reading…