Thursday, February 28, 2019

Experience Diverse Flavors and Tastes of India Made Easy in the Instant Pot

Who doesn’t love Indian food? Delicious recipes that are filled with exotic spice blends and easy-to-get ingredients.  But many favorite Indian recipes can take hours to prepare.  Cookbook author, blogger and cooking teacher Rinku Bhattacharya has put together a collection of 100 authentic Indian recipes all made easy in the hottest kitchen product, the Instant Pot! {Book provided for feature/review consideration}

Instant Indian (Hippocrene Books/October 2018) showcases the diversity and range of the foods of India, where every state and region boasts its own unique dishes.  Indian cooking is complex, eclectic, and evolving with several culinary influences folded in creating food that is richly nuanced.  Rinku Bhattacharya provides techniques and recipes that showcase the rich culinary diversity of Indian food.  Her recipes are culled from the culinary regions of North India, Western India, Eastern India and South India.

“It has been a dream of mine to write a book showcasing the cultural and culinary diversity of Indian cooking, but I wanted to keep it easy and accessible for everyone,” Rinku says. “Thanks to the Instant Pot, I have been able to do just that, allowing home cooks to discover the rich and diverse flavors of India.”

"No-Knead Naan"

Instant Indian features chapters that cover everything from essentials like key ingredients, spice blends, curry sauces, and yogurt-making, to recipes for breakfasts, rice & grain dishes, lentils, vegetables, seafood, chicken and meat curries, as well as drinks, chutneys and desserts. Nearly all the recipes are gluten free, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options as well. With step-by-step instructions and color photos throughout, Instant Indian makes Indian cooking easy and fool-proof using all the functions of this popular appliance. 

"Konkani Lobia"

Whether you crave idli and sambhar from South India, Khaman Dhokla from Gujarat, Punjabi Butter Chicken, Goan Fish Curry or Bengali Red Lentils, or simply want to discover a new favorite, Instant Indian has something for everyone. 

Some of the delicious recipes in the book include:
-    Carrot and Beetroot Rasam – Spicy Carrot Beet Soup
-    Sevai Upma – Stir-Fried Indian Vermicelli with Vegetables

-    Kofta Pulao – Golden Rice Pilaf with Chicken Meatballs
-    Hakka Noodles – Indo-Chinese Mixed Noodles
-    Baigan Bhartha – Mashed Eggplant with Red Onions and Chilies
-    Bhindi Masala Subji – Stir-Fried Okra with Onions and Tomatoes
-    Patra Ni Macchi – Steamed Fish with Coconut and Herb Chutney
-    CheMeen Kari – Kerala Shrimp Curry
-    Adrak Saufwale Murgi – Chicken Curry with Ginger, Fennel and Thyme
-    Anda Rassa – Kolapuri Egg Curry
-    Rogan Josh – Kashmiri Fragrant Lamb Curry
-    Pork Vindaloo – Pork Ribs in Spicy Garlic Chili Sauce
-    Amritsari Phirni – Rice and Almond Pudding with Cardamom
-    Lagan Nu Custard – Indian Baked Custard
-    Kesar Bhapa Sandesh – Steamed Saffron Cheesecake

The Instant Pot lends itself perfectly to Indian recipes, making flavorful, nutritious Indian fare like dals, legumes and all manner of curries—that typically take a long time to simmer—up to 70% faster than on the stove top.

"Chingri Tikka Masala"

“Stews dominate the Indian table, in the form of curries and dals, and the pressure cooker is the Indian home cook’s tool to ensure that dals are meltingly soft and meats comfortingly tender,” Rinku says. “Other staples on the Indian table, such as whole grains, porridges, compotes, and steamed desserts all fit beautifully into the pressure cooker universe. From a practical standpoint, the pressure cooker is well-suited to the Indian kitchen, where cooks are conscious about energy usage and, like everyone else, need their dinner in a hurry.”
INSTANT INDIAN is the perfect cookbook for fall and the holidays as the recipes are easy and delicious to make to take to a party or serve family and friends.  This cookbook brings the best of India to your table in an instant!  

Rinku Bhattacharya is a Gourmand Award-winning cookbook author, blogger and cooking instructor.  She is the author of Bengali Five Spices Chronicles and Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors. Rinku was born in Kolkata, India and has a natural passion and love for regional Indian cuisine and uses it to share and connect with her cultural heritage. She has travelled extensively and specializes in adapting Indian cuisine in global environments and kitchens. Her deep commitment to using seasonal ingredients for Indian cooking is reflected in her recipes.  Rinku teaches very popular Indian cooking classes in the Hudson Valley area of New York and has been featured in newspapers, magazines and on radio.  She and her family reside in the Hudson Valley area of New York.  Visit her at www.SpiceChronicles.com

Try this delicious and easy recipe from INSTANT INDIAN:

(Recipe from Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya
Hippocrene Books/October 2018)

Bengali Red Lentil Risotto
Makes 4 cups

A khichuri or khichdi is a classic rice and lentil mélange, prepared differently all over India. This particular red lentil variation is from Bengal. It is distinct in its use of fried onions to imbue rich flavor. Cauliflower, potatoes and green peas round out this hearty, comforting dish. It is done in less than 20 minutes of cooking time and topped with a beautiful drizzle of cumin-scented ghee. To keep this dish vegan, you can use coconut oil instead of the ghee.


Prep Time: 5 minutes   
Sauté: 7 minutes   
Pressure: 4 minutes    
Steam Release: Natural after 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
3/4 cup red lentils (masoor dal) 
½ cup Basmati or kalajeera rice 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 cups cauliflower florets (about ½ head of cauliflower)
1 medium Yukon gold potato peeled and cubed 
½ cup frozen green peas

1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
2 whole dried red chilies
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add in the oil. After about a minute, add in the onions and sauté until they turn golden, about 5 to 6 minutes.
2. Add in the lentils, rice, ground cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt and the turmeric.
3. Add in the cauliflower, potato, and 4 cups water, and stir well.
4. Close the lid and cook on Manual mode at high pressure for 4 minutes.
5. When cooking time is complete, allow natural pressure release for 15 minutes, then do a quick release for any residual pressure.
6. Open the lid and stir well. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add in the green peas.
7. Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a small pan, add in the cumin seeds, the crushed red pepper if using, and the whole dried red chilies. Cook until the mixture crackles and is fragrant, being careful not to burn the crushed red pepper.
8. Pour the ghee mixture over the khichuri. Gently stir.
9. Squeeze in the lime juice and garnish with cilantro before serving.

I often use quartered organic red potatoes with the skin on. If you wish, you can also throw in vegetables like broccoli or carrots for a more substantial khichuri.

If you are using brown rice, increase the cook time to 8 minutes, and cut the vegetables into larger pieces.

I must admit, I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to Indian fare, but this book makes it look so delicious and easy to prepare - I can't wait to try a few of the recipes and to get my girls involved in the process! Until next time...

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