Instant Pot brings Indian dishes home

I love Indian food and am always wanting to recreate the dishes I love at home. And now being in love with my Instant Pot, I was thrilled to get “The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook” by Archana Mundhe.

For the Instant Pot, you will need a tall steam rack and another stainless steel bowl for pot-in-pot cooking.

The recipes are divided into 7 chapters: Breakfast, Lentils and Beans, Rice, Soups and Stews, Vegetarian Curries, Chicken, Seafood and Lamb and Desserts.

Breakfast recipes include Ginger Almond Oatmeal, Savory Quinoa with Potatoes and Peanuts and Masala Spiced Frittata.

Lentils and Beans recipes offer Dil Lentils with Chile and Garlic, Curried Whole Lentils and Chickpea Curry.

Rice includes dishes like Paneer and Vegetable Biryani, Soft-Cooked Rice and Lentils with Vegetables and Mint Pulao.

Soups and Stews offer recipes like Tomato and Beet Soup, Vegetable Sweet Corn Soup and Lamb Stew.

Vegetarian Curries include Potatoes with Fresh Fenugreek Leaves, Baby Potatoes in Spicy Masala Sauce and Curried Cauliflower with Peas.

Chicken, Seafood and Lamb dishes include Tandoori Chicken Wings, Salmon Tikka Masala and Spicy Lamb Vindaloo.

Desserts end things with Sweet Coconut Rice, Pistachio Bread Pudding and Mango Cheesecake.

I tried Mumbai Paav Bhaji, an Indian street food dish that is a vegetable mash served on a bun. It was one of the few dishes that didn’t require pot in pot cooking and I don’t own a tall steamer rack or extra stainless-steel bowl yet – but someday I will. This was a dishes that is made up of onion, bell peppers, cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, peas and spices. A note – the spice needed was paav bhaji masala, but I couldn’t find any locally and my decision to make this was last minute and I couldn’t order from online. I used garam masala instead, which was at home. And I accidentally used too much because I misread the recipe. ALWAYS re-read your recipe several times. From all of those mishaps, it still turned out pretty good, except I think next time I’d use curry powder instead, as there is just way too much clove for my tastes in garam masala. I am definitely going to try again, and actually order the correct spice blend next time, and I’m anxious to try more of the pot-in-pot recipes.

Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com

Q&A with Author Archana Mundhe

* Why should people get an Instant Pot?

Instant Pot is a truly “smart” pressure cooker with several built-in functions and safety features. A major benefit of the Instant Pot is that you can produce a nutritious, flavorful hot meal in less than an hour and most of that process is hands-off. The Instant Pot is designed with several smart presets, which help achieve consistent cooking. And the best part is that there is only one pot to clean.

* What is a recipe you would recommend in your book for novice cooks to try?

For the first and most important meal of the day I would recommend the oatmeal with cardamom and nuts. For the main course Red lentil soup with spinach or the Spicy ground chicken chili. And for dessert the luxurious fig and walnut halwa.

* What is your favorite recipe from the book?

It is hard to pick a favorite recipe. But If I had to pick one, I would say the Sweet and Tangy Lentils recipe that is developed from my memories of my grandmother’s cooking. It is a traditional family recipe with modern cooking technique and perfect for a weeknight meal.

* Why do you think Indian dishes are becoming more popular with home cooks?

Indian dishes can be easily adapted to various diets such as gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian. The spices used in Indian cooking have gained a huge popularity due to the flavors it adds to the food in addition to the health benefits. With most of the ingredients now readily available, cooking delicious Indian food at home has become easier. Also, cooking Indian food at home, allows you to easily adjust the spice levels making the food enjoyable for everyone.

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