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3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Condiments & Sides/ Instant Pot Magic/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Lemon Rice in Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker

Instant pot Lemon-Rice Pressure cooker Lemon Rice– fluffy grains of aromatic Basmati rice, flavored with mustard seeds and fresh lemon juice- this satisfying side is the perfect accompaniment to any protein you’re making.

Lemon rice pairs very well with Indian, middle-eastern or Greek entrees. I like to serve it with grilled chicken and vegetables, or with Lamb Chops, Salmon Tikki, Chicken Kebab etc. Pair it with a side of grilled or oven-roasted vegetables and you have a perfectly balanced meal in under 30 minutes.

Options: I like to make this recipe with long grain Basmati Rice, but this can work with Jasmine Rice as well. This recipe is traditionally made with split black gram lentils (urad), but sometimes, I skip that and add chopped cashews or almonds instead and it turns out great.

I usually make Lemon rice in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot 6 Qt, but this dish can be made on the stove-top too. Here are the instructions:

Stove-Top: Rinse rice 2-3 times till the water runs clear. Drain and keep aside. Do the same with split lentils. Heat a sauce pot on medium-high heat. Wait till it’s hot, and add ghee/butter or oil. Add mustard seeds and split black gram lentils (urad). When the mustard seeds splutter, add green chilis, drained rice and spices. Add fried onions (optional). Saute for 1 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes. Turn off the heat, open lid, fluff up the rice with a fork. Add fresh lemon juice and mix well. That’s it! Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Instant Pot Magic/ Low Carb/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Aloo Gobi- Spiced Potato and Cauliflower – Instant Pot /Stir-Fry

Instant Pot Aloo-Gobi Pressure CookerAloo Gobi or Gobhi Aloo is a popular dry vegetarian side dish from north-Indian cuisine. Aloo gobi is made with Aloo (potatoes) and gobi (cauliflower) cooked with fresh ginger-garlic and seasoned with warm Indian spices and stir-fried.

Aloo Gobi and Bhindi (Spiced Okra stir-fry) are my kids’ favorite side dishes to have in an Indian meal. I make two versions of it. One is a light stir-fry with cumin seeds, green chilies and Indian spices, and this version, where I make a light onion-tomato gravy and cook the potatoes and cauliflower florets in it. Both versions are simple and come together in under 10 minutes.

Stove-Top recipe for a Light Stir-Fry: I take a heavy bottom stir-fry pan.

  • Heat it on medium high heat for 30 seconds. Add oil, add cumin seeds and green chilies to it. When the cumin seeds begin to splutter, add cauliflower florets and potato cubes/slices. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder and stir well. Cover the lid and cook for 4-5 minutes, or till the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Open the lid and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, till all liquid has evaporated. Garnish with cilantro!

In the recipe below, I have cooked this dish in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot.  It took me sometime to figure out the right time to cook dry side dishes in it though. Due to the steam cooking style, I liked how it evenly cooked the veggies, but wasn’t a fan of the liquid I got towards the end of cooking. After a few batches of experimenting, I figured that for most vegetables 0-1 minute pressure cook/Manual was my magic number. So, depending on the size of your potatoes and cauliflower florets, you can set the time.

 

 

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3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Chicken, Seafood & Meat/ Fill-it, Shut-it, Forget-it/ Instant Pot Magic/ Low Carb/ Soups/ Under 30 minutes

Chicken Noodle Soup with Ethiopian Spices (Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker)

Instant pot Chicken Noodle Soup EthiopianWarm, delicious, healthy and comforting, that’s what I think of when I make Chicken Noodle Soup! A classic Chicken Noodle soup is made by simmering chicken and vegetables, such as carrots and celery, spices, herbs and small noodles in chicken broth. The result is a simple meal that warms up your soul!

Instant pot Chicken Noodle Soup EthiopianDuring winter-time, I make this soup a lot, almost once a week. Recently, I have been making many variations of it. I keep experiment by adding different spice blends in this soup and this time I think I hit a home run. I added the Ethiopian Spice blend called Berbere Seasoning, which is a combination of warm whole spices like cumin, cardamom, coriander, and fenugreek, garlic, cloves, turmeric, grated ginger root, black pepper, salt, paprika, cinnamon, and dried red chiles, that are toasted and ground together. This spice blend adds a distinctive tangy and mildly spicy and smoky flavor to the soup. If you don’t like spice, you can reduce the quantity of the Berbere seasoning. For an extra kick, I added a couple of tablespoons of Sriracha to it, but you can replace that with tomato paste if you want to cut down on the heat. For my family, including my kids, this spice level worked great. I make few other classic Ethiopian dishes using the Berbere Spice Blend: Misir Wot -Red Lentil Stew, and , Key Wat – Beef Stew.

To make this Chicken Noodle Soup healthier, I added whole-grain elbow macaroni to the soup. It not only increases the fiber and reduces the net carbs per serving, it also increases the protein content of the soup.

 

To make this soup vegetarian, you can skip the chicken and add some canned chickpeas, they taste awesome too!

 

I make this soup in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot DUO, but you can make it in any pressure cooker. Simply follow the suggested timing for cooking chicken breast or soup, and this recipe will work just fine.

Stove-Top: Making this soup on the stove-top is a breeze. Take a heavy bottom sauce pan. Heat olive oil in the pan and add crushed garlic to it. As soon as it starts sizzling, add everything else and let it come to a boil. After that, reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes, or till chicken is tender enough to shred. Remove the chicken, shred it and add it back to the soup. Garnish with cilantro and you’re all done!

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3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Instant Pot Magic/ Low Carb/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Green Beans and Carrots (Instant Pot or Stir-fry)

Green Beans and Carrot instant pot or stir fryCrunchy green beans and carrots sautéed with mustard seeds and coconut flakes, and seasoned with salt, coriander and cayenne. This super simple and amazingly easy vegetable side-dish is a great accompaniment to many entrée.

You can switch out the beans and carrots and make this recipe with your favorite vegetables like cauliflower, peas, zucchini, broccoli, corn…. possibilities of customization are endless. In fact, I make a very similar dish following this recipe with chopped beets- Coconut Beets. The coconut flakes are optional in this recipe, but I really enjoy the slight sweet and nutty flavor that they give in this dish.

Stove-top Stir-Fry: In this video, I have made this recipe in my programmable pressure cooker, the Instant Pot DUO. But, making this on the stove top is as easy, and takes only 10 minutes.

  • I start off by heating a heavy bottom skillet on medium heat. Add oil and when it’s hot, add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start sizzling/spluttering, add chopped beans and carrots and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add salt and spices. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water and stir everything. Add unsweetened coconut flakes. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Open lid and saute for 2-4 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your veggies. Garnish with Cilantro!

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

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!

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3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Chicken, Seafood & Meat/ Fill-it, Shut-it, Forget-it/ Instant Pot Magic/ Under 30 minutes

Coconut Lime Chicken and Rice (Pot-in-Pot, Instant Pot)

Coconut-lime-chicken-and-rice-Instant PotChicken marinated and cooked in creamy and delicious coconut milk, lime and spices, paired with aromatic Basmati Rice cooked in Coconut milk. This One-Pot wonder was a match made under a Coconut Tree:-)

This simple recipe is so easy to prepare, yet so elegant to serve for dinner. And the flavors are just amazing.

Coconut-lime-chicken-and-rice-Instant Pot I start by scoring the chicken breast before marinating it. That helps flavor the chicken even if you skip the marination time. Just take a sharp knife and make diagonal incisions on the chicken breast as shown in this picture. I then combine the marinade ingredients and throw everything in a ziplock bag, who doesn’t like easy clean-up now! If you have time, it’s great to marinate this for 30 mins to 2 hours, if not, throw it in the pot the flavors will still be amazing. By skipping the marination, you’ll be able to have this meal ready in under 30 minutes, from start to finish too. I have made this recipe with boneless chicken thighs as well and it turns out pretty good. You don’t have to score them, just trim off the excess fat on them.

Coconut-rice- Instant PotIf you want to cook the Coconut rice using the Pot-in-Pot method in your Instant Pot, assemble them in a smaller bowl with coconut milk, water and salt and keep aside. You can cook rice separately too. Build you pot as shown in the video and you’ll have this amazing dinner ready in no time!

Coconut BeetsI like to serve this dish with a side of vegetables. You can serve it with a salad too. As for sides, you can pick any sides that you like, like green beans, carrots, or, peas and corn. I serve this meal with a side of Coconut Beets. Yup! turns out too much of coconut is a good thing for me. I simply saute the chopped beets with some coconut oil or olive oil, mustard seeds, coconut flakes, salt and some Indian spices. It takes only 4-5 minutes and they are done. Recipe for Coconut Beets coming soon.

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

Master Curry Sauce – Punjabi Gravy

Master Curry Sauce - Punjabi GravyEvery cuisine has some basic ingredients that form the ‘foundation’ of many dishes. Punjabi Gravy is a rich, aromatic and versatile master curry sauce in north-Indian cuisine, that is the base for a variety of delicious north Indian curries.

As with most recipes in Indian cuisine, this one also starts off with fresh produce. All it is, is onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes, simmered with warm Indian spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and of course, salt, turmeric and cayenne, which is the inseparable trio in Indian cuisine!

You can make a variety of curries with this master sauce. Some popular examples are Chana Masala, Kidney Beans curry (Rajma), Paneer Mutter (Cottage cheese and peas), Everyday Chicken Curry, and believe it or not, even Butter Chicken! Wait…What? Yup! All you have to do is add chicken and heavy cream or Greek yogurt to this sauce, add a pinch sugar and cook everything till the chicken is tender. Garnish with cilantro and no one will ever know:-)

Master Curry Sauce - Punjabi GravyThis Master Curry Sauce is a great make-ahead and freeze item. I always make a big batch of this sauce, cool it, and pour it in single-use mason jars, pop it in the freezer and pull it out on crazy weeknights. I add either lentils or canned chickpeas or Paneer & Frozen peas or even boneless chicken thighs, and we have a delicious dinner ready in minutes.

Party Planning: Whenever I am hosting a dinner party with an Indian menu, I always make this sauce a few days in advance. That makes cooking time so manageable and less exhausting for me, so I can enjoy my own party too:-) Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Chicken, Seafood & Meat/ Fill-it, Shut-it, Forget-it/ Instant Pot Magic/ Soups/ Under 30 minutes

Easy White Chicken Chili

Turns out, Jon Snow was right- winter is here! It’s cold, rainy and windy outside, it sure feels like January! Many of us find comfort in warm and creamy soups in this weather. No wonder January is National Soup month in the US.

White Chicken Chili- Instant Pot Pressure CookerTo celebrate that, I bring to you, one of my all-time favorite, super easy to make, creamy and delicious, White Chicken Chili recipe. This soup is part of my Fill-it, Shut-it, Forget-it series, because that’s all there is to it. You dump all ingredients in a pot and let it do it’s magic. The only work you have to do after that is figure out what toppings you want to put on it 🙂

To make this recipe even easier to make, I make it in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot. Why? Coz I can dump everything in and finish some work in the meantime, without having to monitor anything. I make this soup a lot on sports nights. I set up the pot and then take my kids out for their classes. By the time we are back, hot and piping dinner is waiting for us. It’s a lifesaver recipe for times when I don’t have any fresh produce to work with. I always keep some  frozen corn and chicken in the freezer. My pantry is always stocked with cans of beans, roasted red peppers (for the veg part) and stock (Chicken or Vegetable). This recipes comes together very well without any fresh ingredients to add. You can easily customize this recipe to your liking. Switch up the vegetables. You can add peppers, carrots, fennel, and, switch up the beans to Cannellini Beans or Pinto Beans too.

White Chicken Chili- Instant Pot Pressure CookerThis recipe is very easy to make on the Stove-top too. Simply dump everything in a large soup pot. Cover it, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer it for 12-15 minutes, or till chicken is tender enough to shred and the beans are nice and creamy. If you are converting this recipe for your stove-top pressure cooker, I would cook it for 2 whistles, then reduce the heat to medium and cook it for 5 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes before opening the cooker.

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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/ 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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