let's teach how to IP

I am thinking of teaching a few instant pot cooking classes for my friends. I have convinced them that it makes life a lot simpler, and hence they are onboard with the idea. But now the tough part – drive adoption. Let’s make it clear. I get nothing from Instant Pot for doing this. I like to simplify tasks – all sorts of them. And Instant Pot is my simplification mechanism for cooking. So is, my air fryer, vitamix and rotimatic. But IP gets to rule them all. It really is a better way to manage your cooking.

Anyways so as I was looking into how to go about this new project. I found out that AirBnB offers a good platform for this. I can out up my class as an ‘experience’, cook and then eat what you cooked… you get the point. Now I don’t have a lot of time on hand to go into this type of a project. But I thought it was a cool idea.

Anyways, I plan to kick off my first batch of ‘IP chefs in training’ next week with a few close friends. Let’s see how it goes. Best part, it does not have to go anywhere. If it simplifies their daily cooking tasks, I’d have met my purpose 🙂

Yesterday I made lemon rice in the IP. It turned out fine. I also really liked the Quinoa Upma that I tried the other day. I need to write that recipe so I don’t forget it. Of course my favorite party is the no touch pasta that take no supervision from me to cook. I love IP, and it has definitely made me an efficient cook. Let’s spread the love.

Winter Soups

I get bored of the typical vegetable dishes very easily and am always on a look out for more interesting ways to eat our veggies. Winter is fun because you can always make winter soups with the roasted root vegetables. If you don’t know what I am talking about.. read on.

The sheet pans are my best friends in winter. Toss in any of these veggies below in a lot of olive oil , salt, pepper, or any other herbs that you like, add some garlic and shalllots to them, and roast at 375-400 for 30min until you see some charred corners.

The veggies I usually use are – cauliflower, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, butternut squash, beets, tomatoes, carrots, and parsnips. You can make a combination of carrot, and tomatoes, or parnsip and carrots, or cauliflower and sweet peppers. Be creative!

Once your veggies are roasted, put them in a sauce pan and cover them with broth (home made is better, but honestly, use whatever works for you.) Add some salt, and pepper. Bring the veggies to a boil, and then simmer for 15 min. The veggies get soft and puree easily after that. Toss your mix into a Vitamix or use a hand held immersion blender, and puree it up.

Some times I like to dress up my soups. Like today we were having cauliflower with sweet pepper soup. I fried some garlic and shallots in avocado oil, and added all spice to it. I garnished the soup with this mix and it added a different flavor. If you don’t want to dress it up, just drizzle some olive oil or pepper and voila!

You can also use these soups as pasta sauce base. Another delectable way to enjoy your veggies.

Looking forward to a soupy winter 🙂

Kheer 

1/2 gallon whole milk

1/2 can condensed milk

Mix and cook at high for 4 hours in a slow cooker on high

Stir in 3/4 cup rice (more if you like more rice) 

Cook at high for an hour more 

Let it cool and serve it with almonds, raises and cashews.

Shrimp curry (bong tadka)

I am sure there is a recipe of my shrimp curry somewhere on this blog. The diff today was the Bengali tadka of cinnamon and cumin tempered in ghee. Makes all the difference.

For the curry I make a ginger-garlic-onion-tomato masala every two weeks and keep it ready in the fridge. It’s a jump starter for 70% of my recipes. So it comes in handy.

To make the curry I prepare a tempering of mustard oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and whole red chili. Add to that the masala mentioned above. And after it has mixed well with the tempering, add coconut milk. Bring it to a boil, add the shrimp. And take it off the gas as soon as they turn pink.

Heat ghee, cinnamon powder and cumin powered together and add it to the curry. Voila 🙂

Beets and coconut

Take two of my favorite things and sauté them with some fresh tadka and tadaaaa

Boil the beats and cut them into cubes

Slice the coconut into thin and short slices

Heat olive oil and add mustard seeds, curry leaves and slit green chili

Add beets and coconut and toss it around

Add a sprinkle of salt and cumin powder

Close the lid and cook for 3 min.

Garnish with fresh coriander and enjoy!

weekend chops

I turn into a super chef when travel is around the corner. Knowing that I won’t be in my kitchen this long and extended weekend, worried me enough that I decided to put all the lingering ingredients to use this weekend. The accidental five pound bag of potatoes were put to good use last night with potato peanut tikki. They turned out pretty good. Tara enjoyed them too, since there was no spice in her version of it. 

The boiled chole from Friday were put to some good use with Chole kulche. I bought the kulche from the store. This version of chole is no oil, and needs no cooking. Agam’s Mom introduced us to this version of chole when we were in India last winter. We tried them again when they were here last summer. And finally I made them myself. Here’s a simple but finger licking recipe –

I cooked the boiled chole (2 cups) for 5 more minutes on high, in the instant pot, with 1/4 cup water. They need to be pretty mushy for this recipe. 

Chop a small onion, a small tomato. Finely chop some ginger – fine slivers taste the best. If you like it spicy, add some chopped green chillies. And of course chop a lot of green and lovely coriander.

Lightly roast cumin seeds, and make a fine powder in a mortar & pestle. 

Squeeze juice from 2 large lemons.

Salt to taste. You can also add kala namak, or chaat masala if you like

Toss all the ingredients together, and add a dash of salt, and tamarind-jaggery chutney.

Mix it well.

Voila! Enjoy with warm kulchas.

For the Aloo-Peanut tikki here’s what I did. Mix all the ingredients below together and make round bolls, flatten them on your palm. Take a little oil in a flat pan, and lightly fry the tikkis.

  • 4-5 boiled potatoes mashed
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • Green chillies and coriander leaves- finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin powder, 1tsp coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup peanuts coarsely ground
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3 slices of bread – soaked in water, squeezed and mushed

These, Dadu’s bday cake and two cups of ginger chai were the culinary highlights weekend. 

Moong dal

We are so excited about our upcoming Seattle trip. All three of us lost our friends to Seattle last year, and as promised, we are heading there next weekend to meet up with friends we sorely miss.

This is a rather odd post, especially written for D. Instead of sending her a recipe of Moong dal in an email, I decided to put it here, so more folks can enjoy.

There are so many different ways to temper Moong dal, that I am losing the count, but here are a few ways I like it – and yes, I really like Moong dal. It is a comfort food for me.

Base step — Boil Moong Dal with lil salt and turmeric to a desired consistency. Some like it pureed, some like it whole, but cooked. Pick your type.

Tempering (1)

  • fine chop 1 small tomato
  • fine chop 1/2 small onion
  • Heat up some ghee (i like ghee for tempering, you can use oil)
  • Add cumin seeds
  • Add some hing (asafetida powder)
  • fry the onions in oil until they are translucent, slightly browned.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook until they ooze out the pulp and skin begins to separate
  • Add some cumin powder, and red chili powder (we don’t use rcp in food, but it definitely adds a zing)
  • Cook the spices for a few minutes, and as the masala starts to leave the sides, turn off the gas.
  • Add the tempering masala to the boiled dal.
  • Stir, and give it a quick boil
  • garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

 

Tempering #2

  • fine chop 1/2 small onion
  • mince some garlic (4-5 pods for 1 cup of uncooked dal)
  • Heat up some ghee (i like ghee for tempering, you can use oil)
  • Add cumin seeds
  • Add some hing (asafetida powder)
  • fry the onions in oil until they are translucent, slightly browned.
  • Add the garlic and cook
  • Add some cumin powder, and red chili powder (we don’t use rcp in food, but it definitely adds a zing)
  • Cook the spices for a few minutes, and as the masala starts to leave the sides, turn off the gas.
  • Add the tempering masala to the boiled dal.
  • Stir, and give it a quick boil
  • garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

 

Tempering #3

  • Heat up some ghee (i like ghee for tempering, you can use oil)
  • Add cumin seeds
  • Add some hing (asafetida powder)
  • Add some cumin powder, and red chili powder (we don’t use rcp in food, but it definitely adds a zing)
  • Cook the spices for a few minutes, and as the masala starts to leave the sides, turn off the gas.
  • Add the tempering masala to the boiled dal.
  • Stir, and give it a quick boil
  • garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

 

Tempering #4

  • Heat up some ghee (i like ghee for tempering, you can use oil)
  • Add panch phoran
  • Add some hing (asafetida powder)
  • Add some cumin powder, and red chili powder (we don’t use rcp in food, but it definitely adds a zing)
  • Cook the spices for a few minutes, and as the masala starts to leave the sides, turn off the gas.
  • Add the tempering masala to the boiled dal.
  • Stir, and give it a quick boil
  • garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

 

Tempering #5

  • Heat up some ghee (i like ghee for tempering, you can use oil)
  • Add mustard seeds, and curry leaves, until they splutter
  • Add some cumin powder, and red chili powder (we don’t use rcp in food, but it definitely adds a zing)
  • Cook the spices for a few minutes, and as the masala starts to leave the sides, turn off the gas.
  • Add the tempering masala to the boiled dal.
  • Stir, and give it a quick boil
  • garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

If you like spicy version of these, add finely chopped green chilies to the tempering, or a pinch of garam masala when tempering. Voila!