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instant pot meals

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

Black Bean Chili in Instant Pot

If you’re looking for an easy, comforting and delicious vegetarian chili recipe, this is it!

My family loves chili! We make a gazillion versions of it , and use it in another gazillion ways- this one’s straight out of our weeknight chili collection. With a 5-minute prep, which includes opening 4 cans, putting this chili together is a breeze! Possibilities are endless with this dish. You can swap the beans with your favorite kind, add your favorite toppings- sour cream, cheese, jalapeños, spring onions, avocados and enjoy it as-is, or, use it as a topping for some amazing Chili Nachos, or, mix it with rice, wrap it in a tortilla and you have a Bean & Chili Burrito. During football season, you will always find a version of this on my table, every Sunday!

It also makes for a great potluck dish. I make it in my Instant Pot, cover it and take the whole pot along- set it to SAUTE to warm it up and serve it right out of the pot- cannot get easier than that.

Stove-Top Instructions:This Chili can be made on the stove-top as well. Take a deep sauce pan or a stock-pot. Turn the flame to medium-high. Sauté onions and peppers for a minute. Add all ingredients, reduce the flame to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes, covered.

Using dried- uncooked beans: Rinse and soak your preferred brand of dried beans (1 cup). I like to soak them overnight. Throw away the water in which they were soaked and rinse well. Follow the recipe and press BEAN mode for 20-22 minutes for Black Beans, 25 mins for Kidney/Pinto beans, NPR (natural pressure release).

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Black Bean Chili in Instant Pot

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 8 minutes


  • 2 15-16 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, or crushed
  • 1 4 oz can of fire-roasted diced green chillies
  • 1 pack of Taco Seasoning Mix (or less for mild) (see notes for substitute)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4-1 cup water(for thicker chili for Nachos, reduce water to 1/2 cup)



Heat Instant Pot on SAUTE till it reads HOT. Add olive oil, onions, green pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Add seasoning mix and stir for 30 seconds, this wakes up the spices. Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Close lid, vent set to SEALING. Cook on MANUAL (High) for 8 minutes, NPR or QR after 10 minutes. If you're short on time, you can dump all ingredients in and set the timer.


Open the lid, check for salt. Cool for 5 minutes. Garnish with your favorite chili toppings- cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados, tortilla chips etc.


I use Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning mix. It is a bit on the spicier side. If you want to make it mild, you can substitute with: 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 t​sp paprika, ​1/2 tsp salt,​ 1 tsp cumin, ​1​ tsp coriander powder, 1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp​ brown sugar.

Chicken, Seafood & Meat/ Instant Pot Magic/ Under 30 minutes

Chicken Biryani in Instant Pot (Chicken and Rice)

Biryani is a rice-based dish, which is made by cooking rice with marinated meat (or vegetables), with yogurt and warm spices. It’s typically made with Basmati or any long grain rice and has many variations all over India. It can be made with chicken, lamb or beef. The vegetarian biryani is typically made with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and fresh vegetables.

There are many theories about the origin of ‘Biryani’. The popular one is the it originated in Persia and was brought to India by the Mughals. This theory believes that Biryani is an Indian adaptation of the Persian Pilaf.

There are two basic ways of cooking a Biryani- Kachhi (meaning ‘raw’) Biryani, where marinated meat is cooked with partially cooked rice. Since the rice is 50% cooked before adding to the biryani pot, no additional water is added and the juices released by the meat and marinade are enough to finish the cooking process. The result is a harmony of flavors where the rice is often multi-colored, depending on what is was closest to in the pot- the meat, the fried onions or the saffron. The other way of making biryani is where a meat curry if prepared first and then the rinsed and soaked rice is cooked in the curry. Between the two, the Kacchi Biryani seems to be the more popular one and is served in restaurants, world over. Traditionally, this is a slow-cooked recipe that takes a couple of hours to make. I’ve made a 30 minute version of it using my electric pressure cooker- the Instant Pot.

This Chicken and Rice recipe uses a few non-traditional ingredients like Chaat masala and Smoked Paprika, the flavor boost that these two ingredients bring to the marinated meat is amazing. Chaat masala is actually a blend of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, caraway seeds (ajwain), mango powder, garam masala, black rock salt and black peppercorns. It is often used as a seasoning for salads, fruits, grilled meats and vegetables and yogurt dips (Raita). Just a little bit of Chaat masala adds a lot of depth to the meat during the marination process in this recipe. Paprika on the other hand, adds a smoky peppery taste and color, which infuses in the meat when the biryani is steam-cooked. These two ingredients are optional, but highly recommended. I have been using this recipe for years now and whenever I entertain with it, it ends up being a crowd pleaser.

Multiplying this recipe is easy. To double up this recipe, create alternate layers of chicken and rice, basically repeating step 3 in the order mentioned. Enjoy it with a chunky Cucumber-Mint Raita (cucumber yogurt dip- recipe in ingredients section), or a Garden salad with a squeeze of lime.

Before I got my Instant Pot, I used to cook it in my stove-top pressure cooker. Here’s how:

  1. Follow all instructions and assemble the biryani in the pressure cooker. Close the cooker and place it on medium-hi heat.
  2. As soon as the first whistle goes, reduce heat to medium and cook for 6 minutes.
  3. Alternatively, after the first whistle, remove the pressure cooker, place a flat skillet(frying pan) on the stove and place the pressure cooker in that. Continue cooking on medium-high heat. This will ensure that your chicken doesn’t burn at the bottom of your pressure cooker.

Chicken Biryani in Instant Pot

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 30 minutes


  • 1-1.5 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (1 inch ginger + 6 cloves garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro & mint
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to your spice level)
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter for toping
  • 8-10 whole cashews
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron soaked in 2 tablespoons warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala for cooking rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro & mint
  • 1/4 cup fried onion (store bought)
  • 2 cups basmati or long grain rice
  • CUCUMBER-MINT RAITA (Yogurt Dip- mix everything together and refrigerate till serving):
  • 1 english cucumber, chopped fine
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint



Rinse and soak rice in warm water. Prepare marinade by mixing together yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, ginger-garlic paste, salt, spices, 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro & mint. Mix well. Add the chicken thighs and coat well with marinade. Keep aside while you par-boil the rice.


Rinse and strain rice. In boiling water add the rice along with 1/2 teaspoon garam masala and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Cook rice on high-heat for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and strain the rice. This step can also be done in the microwave for the same time.


Turn on the Instant Pot on sauté mode. Layer chicken evenly. Top with the remaining marinade. Layer the par-boiled rice evenly all over the chicken. Sprinkle fried onions on top followed by chopped cilantro-mint. Add cashews and sprinkle 1 teaspoon garam masala. Pour the saffron-milk evenly followed by melted butter. (if you used a thick yogurt for marinade, start by adding 1/4 cup water in the inner pot followed by chicken)


Close the lid. Turn off sauté. Press Manual (High pressure) for 6 minutes, while the vent is in sealing position. Allow for pressure to release naturally. Open the lid and carefully fluff up the biryani without breaking the rice. Enjoy as-is or with a cucumber-yogurt dip!

3 qt Mini Duo/ Condiments & Accompaniments/ Instant Pot Magic/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Lemon Pickle in Instant Pot

Lemon Pickle or lemon preserves are perhaps one of the most popular condiments in Indian cuisine. It’s popularly known as ‘Nimbu ka Achaar’ in the north. There are endless variations of this pickle. This is my father-in-law’s super-hit family recipe, that he inherited from his grandmother! It goes great with lentils, curries, biryani, rice pilaf, stuffed flatbreads, naan. Recently, I served it with my cheese platter, along with crackers and creamy brie- it was such a hit and so many of my friends asked me for this recipe. It is now a staple on my cheese plate appetizer!

Typically, lemon pickle is made in summer by brining lemons in their own juice, salt and a blend of spices, and sugar in some variations. The pickle is then matured in sunlight and this process takes a few weeks. This is my version, except this one got ready in 30 minutes!

Best Results: This pickle tastes even more delicious as it ages. I make it and refrigerate it for a couple of weeks before taking it out. It stays good in the refrigerator for a few months at least!

In this video, I have made this pickle in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot, but it can be made in a stove-top pressure cooker too by following the same directions.

Alternative Spice: If you don’t have Panch Poran spice blend, you can substitute with 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek)  and 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds instead.
If you like your pickle more spicy and/or sweet, you can always add more during the sauté process.

Meyer Lemon Pickle instant potVariation using Meyer Lemons: Recently, I picked up a bag of gorgeous Meyer Lemons from Trader Joe’s. I decided to try this recipe using those instead. I made one change though. I was out of Panch phoran, so used mustard seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds instead. Meyer lemons are sweeter, juicier and have a thinner peel as compared to regular lemons. So, the pickle is naturally more sweeter, which was a plus 🙂 Since the peel was thinner and there was more juice and fibers in the lemon, the pickle is more like a chunky preserve, as you can see from the picture. This pickle with Meyer Lemons was a bigger hit in my house. My kids just loved it- they smeared it all over their Parantha (stuffed flat-bread) and enjoyed it! A keeper for us!

Sweet 'n' Spicy Lemon Pickle in Instant Pot

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Cooking Time: 30 minutes




Wash and dry 6 lemons. Turn on the Instant Pot. Pour 1 cup water in the inner pot and place a trivet. Place lemons in a bowl and place on top of the trivet. Close the lid. Set the vent to Sealing position. Hit Manual (High Pressure) for 15 minutes.


In the meantime, roast the spice blend for grinding. Place spices listed under the "Roasting spices list" on a microwave safe plate and heat in microwave for 3 minutes in 30 second increments, stirring in between. Cool for 5 minutes and grind to a fine powder in a spice blender.


Wait for natural pressure release from the Instant Pot. Open lid and remove the lemons. Cut in halves and remove seeds. Turn on the Instant Pot on sauté mode and let it heat up, about 30 seconds. Add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to splutter, add lemons, salt, sugar and all spices. Stir well.


Continue to sauté for 4-5 minutes till the liquid reaches a jam like consistency. Turn off the Instant Pot. For best results, let the pickle rest in the refrigerator for 4-5 days before eating.

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