Sunday, April 8, 2018

Jhinga Nariyal Wala

aka Shrimp Coconut Curry.

This recipe is ganked (almost verbatim) from the Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Urvashi Pitre.

So, I like shrimp. But I was a little worried about shrimp curry. With coconut, no less. Coconut always reminds me of A) suntan lotion or B) Pina Coladas. Neither of which are good associations. What can I say, Florida in the 70's was a horror show.


This is probably the simplest thing I've made in my Instant Pot (with the exception of hard boiled eggs, because, yeah, hard boiled eggs.) The most effort went into peeling the shrimp (leave the tails on.)

I have a couple of 8" stainless steel prep bowls that I bought for like a dollar at Ocean State. Turns out these are perfect for PIP (pot in pot) cooking. You're welcome.


1 lb shrimp, shelled and de-veined. (I bought a 1lb bag of frozen raw shrimp at Big Y. They're already de-veined, and that process splits the shell, so they're wicked easy to peel once they're thawed.)

1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic

SPOILER: Or, you could go to the nearest market that carries Asian food and get something called Garlic Ginger Paste. It's exactly that - ground up garlic and ginger in a 50/50 ratio. You pull a spoonful out and you're done. It's my favorite thing so far this year. Keep a jar in the fridge.

1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 cup (unsweetened) coconut milk

So, defrost and peel the shrimp. Throw them into whatever you're using that will fit inside your pressure cooker.

Into that bowl, throw all the other ingredients. Mix gently with a spatula to coat all the shrimp.

Put 2 cups of water in your Instant Pot. Put in the trivet. Cover your cooking bowl with foil, and place it on the trivet.

Now, here's where I go a bit off-piste. The original recipe calls for 3 minutes at high pressure, with rapid pressure release. I did that, and 2/3 of my shrimp were still grey and floppy. Another 2 minutes under pressure and they were fine. So, I'd do 4 minutes, with say 5 minutes natural release, then rapid release the rest of it. Problem solved.

I served it with basmati and some raita.

OH which reminds me - found a shortcut for raita. 4 tablespoons plain greek yogurt, and a hefty tablespoon of something called 'Bombay Sandwich Spread', which is nothing more than a slurry of coriander and mint that comes in a jar. Mix it, add some finely chopped cucumber, and you've got raita.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Aloo Gobi

Right, so here's another Indian recipe, best prepared in the Instant Pot or other pressure cooker type thingie. I'll warn you ahead of time that the result may not be pretty - but it tastes friggin' amazing.


1 tbsp peanut oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 cups potato, peeled and sliced into 1/4" pieces (about 3 normal sized Russets, for example.)

Spice Mix: 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)

1/2 cup diced tomato

1/4 cup water

(Note: I combined the two above ingredients and used a can of diced tomato without draining. Much easier, and it worked just fine.)

4 cups cauliflower florets. I used 1 medium cauliflower head, trimmed and cut into 1/8ths. You could also use frozen cauliflower florets with no change to the recipe.


1) Using the 'saute' function, heat the Instant Pot. Add the oil. When shimmering, add the cumin seeds, saute for a bit until they start to make popping noises. Add the sliced potato and saute for a few minutes until they start to brown. Add the spice mix, stir and saute until the spices are fragrant. Add the tomatoes and the cauliflower, stir to coat everything with the oil/spice/tomato mix.

2) Seal the Instant Pot, and set for Low Pressure for 3 minutes.

3) When the cycle completes, use Quick Release to release the pressure.

4) Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

5) Serve with rice, chapatis or naan.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Instant Pot Punjabi Lobia (Black Eyed Peas with Spinach)

This is from the 'Indian Instant Pot Cookbook' by Urvashi Pitre. Highly recommended.

1 tablespoon ghee or peanut oil
1/8 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp black mustard seeds (or omit and use 1/4 tsp cumin seeds)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger (NOTE: I found a jar of pre-minced garlic and ginger mix at my local Asian supermarket. Giant time-saver)
1 cup diced tomato (canned is fine)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to your preferred heat level)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 cup dried black-eyed peas (no need to pre-soak)
2 cups water
4 cups raw spinach (I used a 5oz package of baby spinach)

1) Preheat the Instant Pot using the saute function. When hot, add the ghee or oil. When shimmering, add the cumin and mustard seeds. They'll probably sputter a bit. Do not be alarmed. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 30 seconds.
2) Add the tomato and cook for 1-2 minutes until they get a little soft.
3) Add the turmeric, cayenne, coriander, cumin and salt. Mix.
4) Add the black-eyed peas and water. Stir. Place the raw spinach on top of everything, don't mix.
5) Cook on High pressure for 10 minutes. Allow 'natural release' for 10 minutes, then release remaining pressure.
6) Stir, taste and adjust salt or cayenne if necessary.
7) Urvashi recommends serving with rice, naan or chapatis. Basically any starch will do. Even mashed potato.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Spicy Lentil Stew/Soup for the Instant Pot

So. It's really cold today, and I wanted something warming, quick and relatively painless. And this is it.


1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 bag baby carrots (you can use regular carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2" slices. I couldn't be arsed)
1 lb small red potatoes, cut up if they're bigger than 2" or so
1 cup dried green lentils
1 cup dried red lentils
1/4 cup black rice
8 cups stock (beef or chicken, whichever)
1 28oz can crushed, or diced, or whatever, tomatoes
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Berbere spice mix (optional - it's spicy)
3 tbsp vinegar of your choice

1) Put a little oil in the Instant Pot, hit 'Saute' and let it heat up
2) Saute the onions until soft
3) Add all the spices. Give it a good stir to let them 'bloom'
4) Throw in the broth, the tomatoes and all the other ingredients except for the vinegar. Give it a good stir.
5) Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes
6) Stir it up, add the vinegar, and serve with some sort of bread
7 Damn, that's good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Roasted Tomato Sauce

I have a friend who owns a farm. I know, I know, you all want to be me.

This friend (who shall remain nameless to preserve my source) gifted me with a 30-pound box of tomatoes that weren't quite perfect enough for the farm stand. As I am also not perfect (stop whispering in the back, there. I can hear you) they were the ideal match for me.

Of course, my schedule and lack of motivation being what they are, these babies got very ripe as they sat in my kitchen. Dark red, just starting to get a little soft. Not bad, mind, but not at their peak. So, plans to can fresh tomatoes went out the window. Instead, it struck me that I could roast them and make them into a simple sauce that I could can and use later to create whatever kind of sauce I wanted.

The recipe is simplicity itself: Tomatoes. Salt. That's it.

After roasting, you yank off the skins, put them in a stockpot, boil, whiz with an immersion blender, then can using the hot water bath method. Simples!

And being so basic, you can customize it later. Add oregano and garlic and some olive oil for a marinara. Jazz it up with some pepper flakes. Or add some za'atar or berbere for a shakshuka.

Depending on the tomatoes and how much you reduce, this can make anywhere from 5 to 7 pints.


20 lbs. tomatoes - whatever you've got, basically
2 tbs kosher salt
Citric acid or lemon juice


1) Preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas Mark 7
2) Wash tomatoes, core and cut off blossom end. Cut in half
3) Sprinkle salt on a sheet pan covered with foil or silicone pad. Divide if using more than one pan at a time.
4) Place tomatoes, cut side down, on pans
5) Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the skins are mostly brown and kinda puffy. You'll probably want to rotate about halfway through.
6) Remove from oven, pick the puffy skins off and discard
7) Throw into a large stock pot, heat, and then liquidate the hell out of your tomatoes with an immersion blender.
8) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until you get the consistency you want.
9) While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare you jars, lids and rings as you normally would for water bath canning.
10) Add 1/4 tsp citric acid or 1/2 tsp lemon juice to each jar (for pints. If using quarts, double it).
11) Fill with sauce, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and process in boiling water bath, 35 minutes for pints, 40 minutes for quarts.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cheesy Corn Muffins

Savory baked goods are where it's at. I lost my taste for sweets shortly before I graduated from high school. Given a choice, I'll take savory over sweet anytime. Try to hand me a cinnamon bagel and I'll cut you. Cheddar & jalapeno, with a schmear of sundried tomato cream cheese? You just might live to see another day.

So, I found this recipe on Food52 and I'm posting it here for later. You're welcome.

Yield: 9 normal sized muffins


1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup crumbled/grated cheese. Suggestions include feta, parmesan, cheddar. Even blue cheese would work. Hell, try some Emmenthaler and go nuts.
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs. Parsley, thyme, rosemary, even chives.

Preheat oven to 400F

In a large bowl, whisk together the corn meal, flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Add milk, oil and beaten egg. Stir to combine, but don't overwork.

Let stand for 5 minutes.

Add cheese and herbs and stir just enough to combine.

Pour the batter into standard size muffin tin (greased or lined with paper). About half-way is fine.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until light golden brown on top. Cool for a bit in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

These would be great with just butter, or you can use up some pickles, or tomato jam would be really good too. (Photo Credit: Posie Harwood)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Brussels Sprouts - the best you ever et.

So. Brussels Sprouts. They got a really bad rap in the 60s and 70s. Honestly, I used to love them. Steamed, with some butter and vinegar, salt & pepper. Yum.

But now, this is how I eat them. And I swear by all that is holy that you will love them too. Even if you normally hate them.


1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise.

1/4 cup olive oil

1 slice bacon (or as the Brits would refer to it, 'streaky' bacon)

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

2 tablespoons really good balsamic vinegar

Salt & pepper.

Trim & split the sprouts, and then toss in a large bowl with the oil, salt & pepper.  Dice the uncooked bacon very fine, and toss with the sprouts. Pour the whole thing onto a baking sheet. In a 400 degree oven (200C or gas mark 6), roast the sprouts for 20-30 minutes until tender.  Remove from the oven, put into a casserole or gratin dish. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top, then the balsamic. Back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so. (If you're doing a roast, you can just throw it in during the last 20 minutes with the meat.)

Roasting tends to get rid of the sulphur-ish taste, but leaves the lovely sweet-bitter flavor that sprouts are so good at. Trust me, you will love these.