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Breakfast/ Instant Pot Magic/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Instant Pot Rava Idli (Steamed Semolina Cakes)

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchenSoft, spongy, melt-in-your-mouth Rava Idli is a real favorite with my kids. Rava Idli, which is made with semolina flour called Rava,  is a variation of the popular south-Indian breakfast dish called ‘Idli’ (steamed rice & lentil cakes).

Super easy to make, this instant breakfast or snack recipe needs no grinding or fermenting, and comes together in 30 minutes, with only 5-7 minutes of active cooking time.  In this recipe, I’ve made rava idli in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, using my newest kitchen toy, Silicone Molds.  These molds work great for a variety of recipes including, eggs-bites, mini lava cakes and more.  I love it when a kitchen accessory can be used for multiple recipes!

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchenServing suggestion: Rava Idli can be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch or snack. These idlis make for excellent school lunches too. In my house, we each have a different ‘favorite’ condiment to enjoy it with. We have it with ginger chutney, coconut chutney, cilantro-mint chutney, and ketchup… yes, ketchup:-)

Here’s how easy it is to put this together:

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Mix idli ingredients, keep aside for 15 mins

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Turn on SAUTE and add water

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Grease idli mold

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Prepare tempering

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Turn off heat

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Add to idli batter

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Mix well

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Add ENO fruit salt and mix gently

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Place tray on trivet and lower in pot

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Stack the second tray on top, steam for 12 mins

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Cool for 2-3 mins

Instant Pot Rava Idly, garam masala kitchen

Enjoy Rava Idli with your favorite chutney!

Continue Reading…

3 qt Mini Duo/ Breakfast/ Instant Pot Magic/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

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…

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.

Arroz-Con-Leche-Instant pot, Garam Masala KitchenArroz Con Leche: Another popular rice pudding is the Spanish/Latin American dessert called Arroz Con Leche, which literally translates to ‘rice with milk’. My daughters had to make traditional Latin American cuisine for their Spanish class at school. One of them opted to make Arroz Con Leche. She came home with a recipe, and that’s when I realized, how similar it is to Kheer. My daughter’s rice pudding got rave reviews at school and we added another great recipe to our family favorites! If you want to try it, I’ve added that recipe too!

Almond milk Kheer, instant pot recipe, garam masala kitchenDairy-Free & Nut-Free Alternative: This recipe can be made dairy-free by substituting milk with unsweetened, regular Almond milk, or full-fat coconut milk.  I’ve tried using low-fat coconut milk, but it just doesn’t taste creamy and smooth like it should.  I have observed that whenever I make kheer with almond milk, I do end up adding 1-2 tablespoons of extra sugar. If you want to make it  nut-free, use regular milk, and skip the nuts in the recipe.

Coming back to Kheer recipe. 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. Continue Reading…

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

Easy & Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (5-5-5 method)

Instant Pot Hard Boiled EggsHard 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 ice-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.

Continue Reading…

Beginners / Weeknight/ Breakfast/ Fill-it, Shut-it, Forget-it/ Instant Pot Magic/ Low Carb/ Under 30 minutes

Instant Pot Frittata Muffins / Egg Bites- 4 ways

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.

Frittata Muffins/ Egg bites Instant PotSo 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 in the oven for about 22 minutes at 350F, but have started cooking them in our Instant Pot now. Crispy Potato FrittataWe 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 I started using recently is the 7 Cavity Silicone Mold Muffin Pudding Mold. You don’t need to grease them, but I like to spray them lightly with a coconut oil baking spray and the muffins come out so easily!

It’s a 3-Step process to put these flavors bites: Continue Reading…

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

Quinoa Poha (Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf)

Poha is a popular Indian vegetarian breakfast and snack recipe. This breakfast staple from the state of Maharashtra (western India), is traditionally made with Flattened dry rice, called Poha. The flattened rice is rinsed with water a few times to rehydrate it and then cooked with potatoes, plenty of onions, peanuts and spices.

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

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

Quinoa Poha

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


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

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



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


Add cashews, all dry spices, frozen peas, quinoa, water and ketchup. Stir well. Close lid. Set valve to 'Sealing' mode. Cook on MANUAL (High) for 1 minute.


Open lid after natural pressure release or quick release after 15 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add chopped cilantro, sugar (optional) and lime juice. Stir with the fork and serve warm.


Stove-top: In a sauce pan, follow step 1 & 2, but don't add peas yet. Add 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup water. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add peas, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes in the pan. Garnish with cilantro, sugar and lime. Serve warm.
(You may need to adjust the cooking time based on your brand of quinoa.)

Breakfast/ Desserts & Drinks/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Sooji Badaam Sheera (Semolina Almond Pudding)

Sooji Sheera or Semolina Pudding is a popular Indian dessert that can be made in minutes. It has many variants all over India like Sooji Halwa, Rava Sheera, Rava Kesari and more. This is one of the few desserts that can be whipped up with pantry ingredients, without any advance preparation. It is traditionally served on many festive occasions and Puja (prayer ceremonies) as Prasad (religious offering, consumed after completion of ceremonies).

It is extremely easy to customize this to your taste. In my variation of this classic, I add a few tablespoons of almond meal (or almond flour) to the recipe. It adds a creamy rich taste of almonds and bumps up the protein in this dish, making it healthier for my kids. My kids love it for breakfast too! I like using a combination of Ghee and unsalted butter for this recipe, but you can stick to one if you prefer it that way. I make this Sheera using a half-and-half mix of milk and water. You could make it with all milk or all water too. I added saffron to the milk/water mix before warming it so that the saffron would release its flavor and color to the Sheera. You can omit the saffron if you prefer.

Soozi Sheera, Garam Masala KitchenSometimes, I make the classic recipe, without any almond meal or saffron, and it tastes heavenly too. I make it and turn off the heat when it’s at a semi-dry consistency. Then, I pour it in silicone baking cups, even it out with the back of a spoon, and let it set for a few hours.  For plating, I simply invert the silicone molds on to a plate and the semolina cakes just slide off. I garnish it with sliced almonds and crushed cardamom. My kids love this presentation!



Sooji Badaam Sheera (Semolina Almond Pudding)

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 15


  • 1/2 cup Semolina / Sooji (coarse or fine)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter (I use 1 tbsp of each)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cashews
  • 1 tablespoon chopped almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom Powder (5-6 pods)
  • 2 tablespoon Almond Meal (optional)
  • 3/4 cup warm milk mixed with 1/2 tsp saffron
  • 3/4 cup hot water



Prep: If using nuts, chop them coarsely. Warm milk, water and saffron, together in the microwave for 2 minutes. Keep aside.


Add ghee/butter in a sauce pan and melt on medium heat for 20-30 seconds. Add your choice of chopped nuts and raisins and sauté for 1 minute. Add Sooji (and almond meal) and sauté for 5 minutes on medium flame, this is to cook away the rawness of semolina (sooji).


Add the warm milk-water-saffron mix and stir continuously with a whisk or wooden spoon to avoid any lumps from forming.


When the mix reaches a semi-liquid consistency, add sugar and stir till sooji cooks off to a thick pudding-like consistency. Turn off the heat and add the cardamom powder and stir. Serve warm or cold.


You can choose to make this recipe without any nuts if you wish, it still turns out delicious! When you add warm liquid to the pan, it splashes, so use a deep sauce pan and a long whisk to be safe.