Sweet 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…
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, Chawalmeans 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.
Kheer 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.
Till 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 Potis 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.
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.
Turn down the heat on medium and stir till rice get cooked.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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!
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.
Hard Boiled Eggs! Here’s an easy and fail proof recipe to make perfect Hard Boiled Eggs in a pressure cooker! The popular 5-5-5 method works like a charm every single time and makes for some real-easy-to-peel boiled eggs. The 5-5-5 method is not a secret code- it’s an easy way to remember this recipe- 5 minutes of pressure cooking, 5 minutes of rest before opening lid, followed by 5 minutes of water bath. It’s really that simple! The result is so consistent- you’ll be amazed.
So, why bother pressure cooking your eggs? The answer to that is consistent results , but before I elaborate on that, I have a confession to make- I cannot make perfect looking boiled eggs on the stove- I just cannot. No matter, how much I try, how many timers I set, I just cannot get the perfect center and cannot peel them nice and clean. A lot of my egg white ends up sticking to the shell and then starts the battle between the egg and me, and the egg usually wins! The result is always an unappetizing, butchered egg. When I saw so many people getting great results cooking them in the electrical pressure cooker, the Instant Pot , I tried it myself, and the results were amazing. The selling point was the ease of peeling them. The yolk texture was just right for me- moist and creamy, not dry or crumbly at all. It took me just a few minutes more than the time on the stove, so pressure cooking the eggs in my Instant Pot was a clear winner for me.
Frittata Muffins or Egg Bites– Warm, fluffy, flavorful and nutritious eggs bites that are shaped like muffins. 5 minutes of prep, 5 minutes of cooking. Cooking these is a 1-2-3 process– Beat eggs, top with your favorite mix-ins, cook them for 5 minutes in the Instant Pot– breakfast couldn’t get any easier than this!
Eggs! The number one choice of breakfast foods in my home. Growing up, Omelet-Sandwiches were a staple breakfast for school mornings. Sometimes, mom would add a variety of small diced vegetables in it and give it to us for lunch. It’s a perfect meal- protein and nutrient packed- keeps you full and going for hours.
So what is a Frittata? Frittata is an Italian egg-based dish similar to a quiche without the crust. It’s made by mixing the egg mixture with meats, cheeses, vegetables or even pasta. My family is crazy about frittatas- We make a simplified version for some week mornings, and then go all out on Saturday mornings. We usually bake these, but have started cooking them in our Instant Pot now. We make all kinds of variations- Mediterranean Frittata, with Feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil; Indian Frittatas– with fine diced onions, peppers and tomatoes, seasoned with cumin and cayenne; Sometimes, left-over mac’n’cheese makes it in a Mac’n’Cheese Frittata, and then there is the “Anniversary Special“- which is a Crispy Potato Frittata. This is one of my all-time favorites- so my husband makes this for breakfast on our anniversary, every year… well, almost every year:-)
Here, I have adapted my recipe for my electrical pressure cooker, the Instant Pot 6 Qt . The Frittata Muffins turn out so moist, and stay moist for re-heating and eating. 5 minutes of prep and 5 minutes of cooking- how easy is that! They are a great make-aheads for the week, or, for a brunch gathering. I assemble them in Silicone Cupcake Muffin Molds, my new favorite kitchen accessories. Another great alternative that some of my friends use is the 7 Cavity Silicone Mold Muffin Pudding Mold. You don’t need to grease them, the muffins come out so easily, and I love how colorful they are- right!
Thai Panang Curry is a one of our must-haves when we go to a Thai restaurant. It’s a rich, mildly spicy and creamy coconut curry that can be made with Chicken, Seafood or Tofu (Vegetarian). This is another go-to recipe in my Fill-it, Shut-it, Forget-it series. Another weeknight savior!
A thick curry paste is used as a base for most Thai curries. The Panang curry paste typically consists of dried red chilies, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, sugar, salt, kaffir lime, galangal (Thai ginger), spices like coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom and bay leaves. This paste is simmered with coconut milk and then protein and vegetables are added to it. Over the years, I have tried various brands of Thai curry pastes, but nothing comes close to the brand called Maesri. Their curry pastes are so authentic tasting, that if you ever did a blind taste test, you won’t be able to tell between a restaurant version and yours. I always order it from Amazon.com Maesri Thai Panang Curry Paste. I feel the same way about coconut milk too. This is my tried and trusted brand of Coconut Milk – Chaokoh .
It is real simple to make this curry. Turn on your Instant Pot on Saute mode. Stir in the coconut milk and curry paste, bring it to simmer while you add vegetables and protein. Stir it. Shut it. Cook for 3 minutes on Manual, QR after 5 minutes! Finish with brown sugar and few drops of lime juice and you’re done! Serve with brown or white Jasmine rice- That simple!
I make this mostly with Chicken, Shrimp or Tofu. The choice of vegetables is also huge. I add baby corn because my kids love it. You can add water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bell peppers. I would add the peppers after cooking though and saute for 2 minutes. When cooking this with Firm Tofu or Extra Firm Tofu, reduce the cooking time to 1 minute since the Tofu just needs to absorb the flavors- everything is already cooked. 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. Possibilities are just endless with this curry- go ahead, make it your own and enjoy!
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces (or Firm Tofu)
1/2-1 teaspoon brown sugar
Few drops of lime juice
1 cup broccoli florets
Thai basil leaves for garnish (optional)
Prep: Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. If using Form Tofu- cut it into 1 inch pieces . Chop baby corn and carrots. Cut 1 small head of broccoli into florets and keep aside.
Turn Instant Pot on Saute. Add coconut milk and water. Add curry paste and whisk it till it is blended with the coconut milk. Add baby corn, carrots (or whatever vegetables you are using). Add chicken or Tofu pieces. Stir everything. Make sure the curry mix is simmering at this point before you close the lid. It prevents the coconut milk from curdling.
Close lid. Hit cancel. Set vent to Sealing mode. Press 3 minutes Manual (high). Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, (QR after 5).
Open the lid. Check for seasoning. Add brown sugar and lime juice. Add broccoli florets and let them hangout in the curry for about 30 seconds so they get cooked a bit. They'll still stay crunchy. You can leave them in there for another minute or 2 on Saute if you like them cooked more. If at this point, the sauce is thinner than you like, hit Saute and cook it off for a minute or two. Serve with White or Brown Jasmine rice!
If after opening the lid, the coconut milk seems curdled, don't worry, it hasn't gone bad. The heat and the pressure just separated the fat from the milk. You can turn on Saute mode and whisk it gently back together. It'll be a smooth curry again!
Minestrone Soup is an Italian soup, typically made with root vegetables, like onions, celery, carrots, stock, dried herbs, beans and tomatoes. It’s mostly vegetarian and often includes rice or pasta- perfect one-pot meal! I use this recipe a lot for weeknight meals- it’s one of my fill-it, shut-it, forget-it, meal series. Simply dump all ingredients in the Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker), close the lid, set a 3-4 minute timer. Once it’s cooked, manually release pressure after 5 minutes and you’re done! It’s that easy!
I have always noticed how our meals often reflect the colors of the season. This soup certainly screams Fall– a perfect blend of orange, red and green, it is also the perfect comfort soup to have on a cold and chilly evening. This soup comes together so easily, it’s almost wrong to call it ‘home-cooked’:-)
You can easily customize this soup to your taste- I keep switching the veggies in this soup. Sometimes, I add chopped squash or pumpkin to this and it taste amazing. I prefer to use canned beans in Minestrone Soup, simply out of convenience. The time it takes for dry beans to cook is too long for the vegetables, so, if using dry beans, one has to make this a two-step cooking process- cook the beans first and then add the remaining ingredients. I personally like using organic Northern beans here, but you can use the beans of your choice, Kidney, Pinto or Cannellini Beans. I make this soup with low-sodium vegetable broth, but you can use regular broth or even chicken/Beef broth. You can add diced tomatoes to this soup. We prefer a slightly less tomatoey flavor, so adding tomato paste just works out great for us.
Typically, this soup calls for a small pasta. I substitute it with Quinoa. My family prefers the taste of quinoa, plus it bumps up the fiber and protein in the soup. You could even add barley or bulgar instead. I add chopped spinach after cooking. The heat from the soup wilts it down. You can use any dark leafy green instead of spinach- kale would be a great addition here too. Garnish it with chopped basil, or freshly grated parmesan cheese and call it a day!
Optional Variation: Sometimes, I like to add an extra, totally optional, ingredient in this soup towards the end. I add chopped, pre-cooked, chicken and jalapeño sausage from Trader Joe’s. The sausage is fully cooked, so it just needs to hang out in the soup for a few minutes and it absorbs the flavors of the soup and becomes really soft. My family loves the combination of this spicy sausage with this soup, but you can skip it and make it totally vegetarian.
Stove-top:You can certainly cook this soup on the stove-top too. Add all the ingredients in a soup pot, stir well, and cook covered on medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes. Follow the remaining instructions for garnish and enjoy!
Stove-top Pressure cooker (Hawkins/Prestige): Follow all instructions and cook for 2 whistles in the pressure cooker. Wait 5 minutes and manually release pressure by carefully lifting the pressure weight.
Few tablespoons grated parmesan cheese for garnish
Prep: Chop vegetables of your choice (I used carrots, celery, spinach). If using fresh garlic, finely chop garlic cloves. Rinse and drain canned beans.
In the inner pot, add olive oil, garlic, chopped vegetables, beans, vegetable stock, spices, chili-garlic sauce, tomato paste (or diced tomatoes), quinoa (or elbow macaroni), and stir well.
Close lid. Set vent to Sealing mode. Cook on Manual (high) for 3-4 minutes, depending on how you like your vegetables (I cook for 3 minutes).
Wait for 5 minutes and release the pressure manually, and open the lid (which means QR after 5mins). . Stir in chopped spinach and sausage (if using). The heat from the soup will be enough to wilt the spinach and bring everything together. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Cranberry sauce is a jam like relish made by cooking cranberries with sugar. It is probably one of the most popular accompaniment served with Turkey at the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
Cranberries are small round, seedless berries that grow in shrubs.. If you ask me, they are fairly deceiving in their appearance. The first time I tasted raw cranberries, I expected them to taste berry like- sweet, juicy, did I say sweet? But, they ended up being a juicy but tart, seeds-like texture. I don’t think I ever tasted them raw again.
Making cranberry sauce was the obvious next step for me. And boy, did that change my mind about cranberries! I love the hint of tartness in the jam-like cranberry sauce. In my house, I am the only one who likes cranberry sauce with turkey. My husband and kids aren’t fans of sweet with poultry. But, they love to pair it with creamy cheeses like brie or goat cheese, over a cracker or toast. Now I make this year round and it’s a staple on my cheese boards.
I have been making cranberry sauce using this recipe for over a decade now. The only change I made to it, was adding ‘Agave syrup’ to it during the cooking process. There is a subtle earthiness that Agave syrup adds to the sauce, which contrasts perfectly with this vibrant berry. That being said, it is optional. You can totally add the traditional orange juice or water and it will still taste yum. You can also add some orange rind, which is another popular combination. Me, I prefer the traditional cranberry flavors.
I pressure cook the cranberries, in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot Mini 3 Qt, with agave syrup for 1 minute, wait for 7 minutes and release the pressure. Open the lid, add sugar and sauté for 2-3 minutes till it reaches a jam-like consistency. At this stage, the cranberries have all broken down, but are not mush, which is what makes the texture so great.
Stove Top Recipe: This cranberry sauce can be on the stove-top too. Simply combine all ingredients in a sauce pan on medium high heat with 1/2 cup water. Cover till everything comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, till the berries are cooked. Remove lid and cook for another 3-5 minutes till the sauce reaches a jam like consistency.
This recipe is so easy and so delicious, I promise you, you won’t buy another can of cranberry sauce again! It stays good in the refrigerator for a few weeks, so definitely a make-ahead recipe for thanksgiving or big parties.
Serves: Makes around 14 oz. Cooking Time: 5 minutes Manual, QR after 7 minutes
12 oz. pack fresh cranberries
1/4 cup agave syrup ( or honey or orange juice)
2 tablespoons water
1 pinch salt
Zest of 1 medium orange (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
Turn On Instant Pot. Pout water followed by agave syrup. Pouring water will prevent the syrup from sticking to the bottom and burning.
Add cranberries and salt. Stir and close lid. Press Manual for 1 minute on Sealing mode. Let the pressure release naturally (NPR) for 7 minutes. Turn the value to Venting position and release all pressure. Open lid.
Turn on Saute mode. Add sugar and stir. Saute for 2-3 minutes till the cranberry sauce reaches warm jam like consistency. Cool for 10 minutes and pour in jars.
For making this in a stove-top pressure cooker like Prestige or Hawkins- follow all steps and cook on medium high heat for 2 whistles. Turn off heat and let it cool for 7 minutes, after which, release the pressure by7 carefully lifting the weight. Follow the remaining steps in the instructions.
Come November and my countdown to the holidays starts! The excitement of who’s coming over or where are we going soon turns into, what am I making or taking?
One thing I love doing around holidays is to try recipes that are quick to make, sure to please, and, can be made ahead of time. Last weekend, I jazzed up a tried and trusted store-bought cornbread mix from Trader Joe’s, that I have been using for years, and made two variations with it- Pumpkin Spice Cornbread & Cranberry Orange Cornbread, hit a home run with both in my house! I have made cornbread from scratch many a times and have found this pre-mix from Trader Joe’s taste very similar to that. So, this is one short-cut that leaves me more time for the zillion other things to do. From one 15 oz. box of cornbread mix, I can make four mini loaves. I typically half the mix and make two flavor variations out of it. If you want to stick to one flavor, simply double up the ingredients in this recipe.
I baked, or should I say cooked, this cornbread in my electric pressure cooker, the Instant Pot DUO this time. It was done in about the same time as the oven, was missing the golden crisp top layer that a cornbread typically has, BUT, it was the most moist cornbread I have ever had! Seriously, it was delicious- a sponge cake like consistency with the earthiness of the cornmeal- I am definitely going to be pressure cooking my cornbreads from now on.
This flavor combination of Cranberry- Orange-Cornmeal was just meant to be. It took me 2 tries to get this right. Adding orange zest to the second batch took this cornbread to another level of flavortown. The orange compliments the subtle sweetness in the cornmeal and the cranberries’ tartness provides a nice contrast and balance to the cornbread. The result is a well balanced, moist and flavorful cornbread which smells of orange and cornmeal. This can be enjoyed as-is but will also make a great base for stuffing. Using the same recipe, you can make Cranberry Orange Corn muffins too, this will be a great add for a breakfast or brunch table. I made this recipe using Mini Loaf Baking Pans. This size just works great for my family and also makes for a perfect size for gifting or adding to your holiday basket.
These Cranberry Orange Cornbread loaves can be made in the oven too. Simply mix everything as per the directions and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 12-14 minutes. The actual time will depend on your oven. At the 12 minute mark, check for doneness by inserting a toothpick, if it comes out clean, you’re good, else, pop-it back for another minute or two.
Cranberry Orange Cornbread in Instant Pot (or Oven)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (can use dried orange cranberries too)
Melt butter in the microwave, about 20-30 seconds. Add orange juice, sour cream, egg and orange zest. Whisk together. Add cornbread mix and dried cranberries and mix with a spatula.
Grease mini-baking loaf pans with any baking/cooking spray. Divide the better equally between two loaf pans.
Pour 1 cup water in the Inner pot of your Instant Pot (I used the 6QT DUO). Place trivet. Place two loaf pans on top. If you're doubling up the recipe, you can stack two more on top as shown in the photo above.
Close lid. Set valve to Sealing. Press Manual for 12 minutes. Open lid after natural pressure release. Cool cornbread for 5 -10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy as-is or with honey butter!
Fall is my favorite season of the year. The pleasant breeze, leaves changing color, salads giving way to soups, ice-creams making way for pies and cobblers! It’s also the beginning of Pumpkin season. You can start seeing pumpkins of all shapes and sizes widely available everywhere. I love cooking and baking with pumpkin and I am always looking for new ways to use pumpkin in sweet and savory dishes. One thing I love doing around holidays is to create recipes that are quick to please and can be made ahead of time. Seems like I’ve hit a home-run in my house with this recipe- Pumpkin Spice Cornbread!
Earthy and sweet cornbread mix meets creamy and moist homemade pumpkin puree– the result is a soft, moist and delicious Pumpkin Spice Cornbread. This holiday season, I am jazzing up a tried and trusted store-bought cornbread mix from Trader Joe’s, that I have been using for years. This cornbread will make a great addition to your table. Enjoy it as-is or make stuffing with it. Pair it with honey butter or pumpkin butter and enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee for a delicious and light snack.
In the video here, I have made this Pumpkin Spice Cornbread in my electric pressure cooker- The Instant Pot DUO. It cooked in about the same time as the oven, was missing the crisp golden outer layer, BUT, pressure cooking made this cornbread really really moist. I like making mini loaves of cornbread using the disposable Mini Loaf Baking Pans. I prefer the portion size of the slices- prevents me from over-indulging 🙂 Plus, makes for cute gifts for the holiday basket. From one 15 oz. box of cornbread mix, I can make four mini loaves. I typically half the mix and make two different flavors out of it. You can use this recipe and make Pumpkin Spice Muffins too, it will be a great side for your breakfast or brunch table. They are perfect for taking to office potlucks too. The second flavor I made over the weekend was another huge success in my house- Cranberry Orange Cornbread. If you want to stick to one flavor, simply double up the ingredients in this recipe.
These Pumpkin Spice Cornbread loaves can be made in the oven too. Simply mix everything as per the directions and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 12-14 minutes. The actual time will depend on your oven. At the 12 minute mark, check for doneness by inserting a toothpick, if it comes out clean, you’re good, else, pop-it back for another minute or two.
Melt butter in the microwave, about 20-30 seconds. Add egg, pumpkin puree, milk and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk together. Add cornbread mix and mix with a spatula.
Grease mini-baking loaf pans with any baking/cooking spray. Divide the better equally between two Mini Loaf Pans.
Pour 1 cup water in the Inner pot of your Instant Pot (I used the DUO 6 Qt). Place trivet. Place two loaf pans on top. If you're doubling up the recipe, you can stack two more on top as shown in the video.
Close lid. Set valve to Sealing. Press Manual for 12 minutes. Open lid after natural pressure release. Cool cornbread for 5 -10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy with honey butter!