Instant Pot Mini Monday — Chana Salaad


I love my pressure cooker and I love Indian food so it was inevitable I would love Dr.  Urvashi Pitre’s Indian Instant Pot cookbook.  Dr.  Pitre has an incredible talent for taking complicated recipes and simplifying them without changing the recipe’s essential flavor.

I love the way Dr. Pitre gives recipes for all the spice blends he uses in the book, except for her Chana Masala recipe.  Dr. Pitre allows us to use a store-bought blend in that recipe because the individual ingredients would be too hard for the average person to find.  Best of all, her recipes taste fantastic.

If you don’t want to buy a cookbook, although I heartily suggest that you do, or don’t have a pressure cooker, check out Dr. Pitre’s blog, Two Sleevers.  She has tons of recipes from all sorts of cuisines from all over the world, all types of cooking methods, and all types of diets.

Chana Salaad

from The Indian Instant Pot Cookbook

1 cup dried chickpeas

3 bay leaves

3 cups water

1 cup finely minced red onion

1/2 cup diced tomato

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

In the liner, combine chickpeas, bay leaves and water.  Lock the lid and cook on high 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to release 10 minutes then quick release the remaining pressure.  While the chickpeas are cooling, combine the onion, tomato and cilantro in a large bowl.  Drain the chickpeas and add them to the vegetables.  Add the salt, cayenne, and lemon juice.  Mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.


Ground Beef Shawarma and Rice


Two summers ago, I really got into learning  how to cook Indian food. I spent the better part of three months finding ingredients and experimenting with recipes from Raghavan Iyer’s amazing cookbook, 660 Curries. Then I got my first pressure cooker and became a little, okay, a lot, obsessed with learning how to work it and what it could do. I sort of fell a way from Indian cooking.

A few days ago, I found Two Sleevers, a blog that features pressure cooker recipes for Indian food. I was destined to fall in love with this site. I chose to try the ground beef Shawarma because I already had all the ingredients on hand and I have been curious about Shawarma ever since I have seen the Avengers.

One of the reasons I like this site is the creator provides recipes for any spice blends she uses. She doesn’t assume we all have access to an Indian store for Indian spice blends. I am always a bit concerned about how spicy a recipe is because I am a wimp when it comes to hot food. This recipe has a nice flavor but no heat.

Ground Beef Shawarma and Rice

Adapted from Two Sleevers

1 ½ tsp oil

½ cup diced onion

2 ½ cloves garlic, minced

½ lb ground beef

1  cup water

¾ cup basmati rice

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 ½ TBS Shawarma spice

¾ tsp salt

Pressure cooker:  Turn your pressure cooker onto Sauté. . When hot, add oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add onions and ground beef. Stir while breaking up the ground beef clumps.  Break it up well.  Add rice, water, cabbage, salt, and shawarma spice.  Cook on High Pressure for 5 minutes, and allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Release remaining pressure.

Stove top:  In a large frying pan, over medium heat,  add the onion, garlic and ground beef.  Cook until browned, breaking up the meat with a fork; drain any grease.  Add the rice, wate, cabbage, salt and shawarma spice. Bring the water to a boil.  Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook until the rice is tender and the water  is absorbed, 20-25 minutes.

English Style Madras Curry Powder


If you went to India and asked someone about finding some Madras curry powder no one would know what you were asking for.  Madras curry powder doesn’t actually exist in India.  It was created by the British in the 18th century to help them recreate the curries they had in India when they come back to England.

If you like your curries hot, this is the spice blend for you.  If you like milder curries go easy on this spice blend. You have been warned.

English Style Madras Curry Powder


1 TBS coriander seed

2 tsp cumin seed

1/2 tsp whole cloves

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

5-7 dried red Thai chilies

1 tsp ground tumeric

Mix everything together except the ground turmeric, and grind in a spice grinder or a mortar  and pestle.  The texture should be similar to course ground black pepper.  Add the tumeric and mix well.  Store in an airtight container for 1 month. 

Coriander Scented Untoasted Blend ( Aka Curry Powder)



I am not a stranger to making my own spice blends.  However, this blend is the first time I have ever made a spice blend grinding whole spices. All I can say is WOW!!!!! IT SMELLS AMAZING!!!!  I am sorry for yelling but I don’t have scratch and sniff posts……. yet. Seriously, I could wear this stuff as perfume.  I am very excited to try this blend in my next recipe.  Mr. Iyer suggests using this blend instead of store bought curry powder in any recipe with curry powder.  I used a mortar and pestle to grind my spices but you can use a dedicated coffee grinder to do it too. The first recipe using this spice blend will be posted on Monday.

Coriander Scented Untoasted Blend


1 TBS coriander seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1/4 tsp tsp cardamom seeds from a green or white pods

1/4 tsp whole cloves

1 dried bay leaves

2 tsp dried Thai chilies or 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix everything together and grind in a spice grinder or a mortar  and pestle.  The texture should be similar to course ground black pepper.  Store in an airtight container for 1 month. 

Chicken Tikka Masala


I never really experimented with Indian food because of one unfortunate visit to an Indian restraunt where everything on the menu was scorching hot, even when we ordered from the mild side of the menu.  I wasn’t cooking for myself at the time so it never occurred to me that not all Indian food was hot and I could probably find recipes more to my taste with a little research.  Let me tell you, it sucks to be me.  I have been missing out on some really good food.

The day after I mad my red curry chicken and vegetables this recipe for chicken tikka masala showed up on my reader already scaled for two.  I guess I was destined to keep trying for Indian food.

This recipe is a little more involved then my recipe for red curry chicken and vegetables because you have to marinate the chicken for at least an hour before cooking it.  Once the chicken is marinated, however, the recipe comes together pretty quickly.  The only changes I made to this recipe was to use coconut milk instead of heavy cream because it was what I had on hand and reduce the cayenne by  half.  The substitution worked very well.

I was allowed to reprint this recipe here by the lovely blogger over at Simply Delicious. So do me a favor and go give her blog a little love.  She isn’t a completely  recipe for one or two blog but she has a lot of good-looking food on her site.

Chicken Tikka Masala


1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cayenne pepper, I reduced it to a 1/2 teaspoon

1 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger

2 tsp salt

1 1/2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Tikka Masala Sauce:

1 TBS butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream,  I used 1/2 cup coconut milk

2 TBS fresh chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine the first 8 marinade ingredients.  Spread the marinade over both sides of the chicken and marinate at least 1 hour up to 24 hours.   When the chicken is done marinating, cook the chicken and set aside.  To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet, saute the onions and garlic, until translucent, about 3 minutes over medium heat.  Season the onions with garam masala, tumeric, cumin and paprika. Cook for about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce and heavy cream (or coconut milk) .  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.  Simmer 20 minute or until the sauce thickens over low heat.  Add the cooked chicken and simmer 5 minutes.

This recipe is reprinted courtesy of Simply