Methi · OPOS Ginger Garlic Paste · Potatoes

OPOS© Methi Aloo Malai using OPOS© Ginger Garlic Paste

OPOS© Ginger Garlic Paste

I had no plans to cook today. But the Instant Pot Mini which I bought a few days back was calling my name. In the recent days, I have been making One Pot One Shot recipes which call for a 2 liter pressure cooker.

OPOS© calls for a few culinary staples to be made in advance like ginger garlic paste, tamarind paste and caramelized onions. I was substituting with store bought ginger garlic paste till now. With the new Mini on the kitchen counter, it was the most apt recipe to try. So, try I did!
Making OPOS ginger garlic was a breeze and the taste and aroma totally out of this world! I had to stop myself from wanting to lick the spoon. It was so fragrant!! It beat even fresh ginger garlic paste.
Here’s how you make it:
OPOS© Ginger Garlic Paste in a stove top 2L pressure cooker or Instant Pot:
Peeled and chopped ginger- 125 gms
Chopped garlic – 125 gms
Water – 3 tsp
Oil – 6 tsp
In the 2L pressure cooker or Instant Pot, add the water followed by oil. Add ginger and garlic. In the IP, cook on high pressure for 12 mins and release pressure quickly. If using the stovetop pressure cooker, cook on high for 3 whistles and release pressure immediately. Blend and store in the refrigerator. It should keep for a few weeks if you use a clean, dry spoon every time.
Now that ginger garlic paste is ready, I should use it to make something yummy.
Methi Aloo Malai
A bunch of Methi (Fenugreek leaves) in the vegetable crisper had seen better days. But I was determined to salvage what little I can. It amounted to a cup. Enough to make a curry. I will use onions and peas to make Methi Mutter Malai. But alas, no onions could be found. Frozen peas had mysteriously vanished too. Only potatoes remained, sadly ignored all these days. I chopped a few, layered them with methi, added some OPOS ginger garlic paste (the star ingredient), some garam masala and turned on the IP. The curry was so good, we couldn’t get enough of it! 🙂
Methi Aloo Malai:
Methi (Fenugreek leaves) – 1 cup, chopped
OPOS Ginger Garlic paste or store bought ginger garlic paste – 1/2 tbsp
Potatoes – 3, chopped to bite sized pieces
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Green Chillies – 3, finely chopped
Heavy Cream – 2 to 3 tbsp 
Oil – 2 tsps
Water – 2 tbsp
Salt – Acc. to taste
In the IP pot, add oil, water followed by methi. Next layer the potatoes. Add green chillies, ginger garlic paste, garam masala and salt. Do not stir. Cook on high pressure for 11 mins and release pressure naturally. Finally, stir in the heavy cream.
Methi Aloo Malai is ready. One Pot One Shot style!
Enjoy with rice or rotis.
Black tea · Cardamom · Chai · Ginger · Instant Pot · Milk

OPOS© Instant Pot Masala Chai

Masala Chai

Thanksgiving… What are you thankful for? 
I give thanks for the sun.. for the moon.. for the stars.. for the air.. And as T says ‘I am thankful for life.’ Yes, I am thankful for life with all it’s ups and downs and challenges. I am also thankful for gratification in small ways like a cup of sweet chai on a tiring day.
Growing up, I was never a fan of tea or coffee. Milk was my staple. Now and then, my sister would offer to make chai. That’s pretty rare, because we never stepped into the kitchen until some culinary fantasy took over us. Thanks to our parents for keeping us out of household chores at that young age. 
Now, the chai which my sister made was light on milk, quite strong, fragrant with cardamom and sweet. Fast forward a decade or so, Mr.S (aka Hubs) stepped into our lives and introduced us to Hyderabad Chai. It had quite an amount of milk, aromatic with cardamom and ginger and delicious. Pretty soon, I was hooked on this chai and kind Mr.S took it upon himself to make it every weekend. While I tried my best to learn the recipe, I didn’t quite get the hang of it till about a year or so. My chai would turn out either too strong or too light or too heavy on milk or not enough milk. It was annoying and frustrating. Because when Mr.S makes Chai, he just eyeballs everything. I need measurements. I don’t believe in approximations. So I set about quantifying every ingredient. And now, I make Chai in my household. The sole tea master! Victory!! 🙂 And I make it in the Instant Pot in PIP OPOS style. You can use the recipe on a stove top too. I prefer the convenience of not having to ‘babysit’ the tea when I use the Instant Pot. In the photo below, you can see the tea pot I use inside the IP. I don’t need to even filter the tea. I just pour it out and enjoy!
Chai in Instant Pot
This is a ‘dump all and make’ kind of recipe.
Masala Chai:
Makes 1 cup of Chai
Ingredients:
Milk (Whole milk/Skim/Low Fat) – 1/2 cup
Water – 1/2 cup
Granular Black Tea – 1/2 Tbsp (Three Roses or Taj Mahal or any brand you prefer)
Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp or 2 cardamom pods (Optional)
Grated Ginger (Without Skin) – 1 Tbsp (Optional)
Clove powder – 1/8 tsp or 2 cloves (Optional)
Black pepper – 1/8 tsp or 4 pepper corns (Optional)
Cinnamon powder – 1/8 tsp (Optional)
Sugar (Acc. to taste and Optional)
Add all the ingredients to a heat safe container. Place in the Instant Pot in PIP style for 11 minutes on Low Pressure, Natural Pressure Release. Filter and enjoy!
On the stovetop, add all the ingredients to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 3 to 5 mins. Filter and enjoy!

Mushroom

Mushroom Masala – One Pot One Shot (OPOS) style

Mushroom Masala

Today was yet another hectic day. Hats off to all the parents who ferry their kids around to extra curricular classes every single school evening. T is currently enrolled in Taekwondo classes and getting her to the 5:30pm classes on time is a mammoth task! Apart from driving 45 mins from work to school, convincing a tired kid that Taekwondo will strengthen her immunity and make her strong seemed like a futile effort. Hubby offered to take T to the class which gave me an hour to myself. After 15 mins of lazing around, I wanted to make a quick curry for dinner. The mushrooms from Costco had to be used up before they start turning brown. I searched for recipes using mushroom on the OPOS Facebook group and decided on one.

OPOS (One Pot One Shot) is an efficient way of cooking which is all about layering your ingredients. While OPOS calls for a 2L stovetop pressure cooker, I made this recipe in an Instant Pot.
It took about 10 mins to clean and chop the mushrooms and marinate them in the paste specified in the recipe. Altogether it took 15 mins to prep and another 15 mins in the IP, not counting the time needed for natural pressure release.
The curry turned out scrumptious. I can’t thank Mr.RK enough for introducing this concept of cooking and the time it saves. There is no need to sauté onions and tomatoes. I was skeptical if it will even work out, but it did. 
Onto the recipe now:
Mushroom Masala:
Mushrooms – 24 oz, chopped
1 big onion – chopped
Tomatoes – 2
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder – 2 tsps
Salt to taste
Almonds – 5
Cashews – 5
Frozen shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
Fennel seeds – 2 tsps
Ghee or butter – 2 tsps
Water – 2 tsps
Chopped Coriander – 1 tbsp (optional)
Blend tomatoes, fennel seeds, coconut, cashews and almonds to a smooth paste without any added water. Mix chopped mushrooms with salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala powder and the tomato spice paste. Let rest for 10 mins.
The key to OPOS is layering. Start with the water followed by ghee/butter. Layer the chopped onions next. Spread the marinated mushrooms next. Cook on manual high pressure for 15 mins and natural pressure release.
Give it a stir and garnish with chopped coriander. Enjoy with rice, roti or naan.
Muffins · Rava · Suji

Rava Muffins

Rava Muffins
T is a picky eater. 
T is a picky and slow eater.
T is a picky and slow eater only when it comes to food she doesn’t normally enjoy. That narrows it down to anything which is not chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Not once, I repeat, not once was there a need to remind her to finish her chocolate or vanilla ice cream. And not once did she finish her lunch or dinner without a million reminders!
Every morning, her lunch is crafted carefully with the hope her lunch box will come back empty. Nutella or cheese sandwiches cut into animal shapes using these molds. Cucumbers, carrots, olives, grapes or apples cut and filled into the recesses of the lunch box. And the ever familiar phrase which I mumble even in my sleep ‘Finish your lunch, sweetie!’.
And every evening, there would be left overs dotted with reasons ‘Mommy, I didn’t have time.’, ‘Mommy, there was too much food. I have a small tummy.’ 
Now you get the idea. I am always on the hunt for recipes which would entice her into eating every single morsel. I can’t blame her, because I was a picky eater when I was a kid. I have grown out of it which gives hope that T would get better too.
Rava, also Suji, an Indian term for semolina is extensively used in my kitchen. From the humble upma to the delicious kesari, rava is used in a wide variety of recipes. My go to recipe on week nights and weekend brunches is rava idly. It’s very easy to make and paired with a chutney, makes a satisfying meal. 
Today, instead of steaming the batter in idly molds, I decided to bake in muffin molds. The result was scrumptious. The muffins held their shape and were still soft enough. They can absolutely go into a lunch box either for office or school. Easy to handle and easy to dunk into a chutney or sambar, these rava muffins were a winner. 
Rava Muffin Recipe:
Rava/Suji – 1 cup
Plain Yogurt – 2 cups
Baking Soda – 1/4 tsp
Salt – As per taste
Onion – 1 medium (finely chopped)
Carrots – 2 (peeled and grated)
Minced Ginger – 1 tsp (optional)
Minted Coriander – 1tbsp (optional)
Roast rava till it turns light brown. Add yogurt, baking soda and salt and stir till the ingredients are blended without any lumps. Keep it aside for 5 mins. Then stir in the onion, carrot, ginger and coriander. 
You can pour this batter into a greased baking pan or muffin tray and bake at 360F for 20 mins. I poured the batter into muffin molds and air fried it at 360F for 15 mins. I use my air fryer for baking too. I find it convenient than having to fire up a big oven.
The muffins are done when a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let rest for 10 mins and enjoy with peanut or coconut chutney or a little sugar. 
As to whether T gobbled this up without a fuss is a story for another day!

Air Fryer · Tindora

Airfried Tindora

AirFried Tindora
It’s such a cold day today. Being sick with cough and cold doesn’t help at all. But just the thought it’s a Friday cheers me up. No homework. No need to rush to get to bed on time. No need to wake up early tomorrow. What more can I ask for?  By the time I completed my work today, it was almost 6 pm. There were no leftovers in the fridge. Time to get cooking.. Or can we order take-out? Sure, take out was an option. But the vegetables languishing in the fridge stirred up an enormous amount of guilt. So I put aside my sniffles and set to work. A few beans, lentils, tomatoes and condiments went into the Instant Pot for T’s dinner. Next rummaging through the vegetable compartment, I found a bag of tindoras, sadly forgotten. 
Tindora called Ivy Gourd in English, Dhondakaya in Telugu and Kovaikkai in Tamil, is one of my favorite vegetables. Nutrition wise, it is rich in beta-carotene, helps regulate blood sugar levels and it tastes delicious. My mom slices it into thin rounds and sautés them patiently on the stove top till they crisp up. But I best love this vegetable in sambar. After soaking up the flavors in the sambar, it tastes simply divine. I will post that recipe one of these days. You can munch on raw green or ripe red tindoras. The ripe ones are sweet. Back home, the red ones were compared to the red beaks of parrots. 
So, how did I prepare Tindora today? 
I just trimmed the ends and chopped each into two. Mixed it with spices and salt and air fried it for about 20 mins. (The duration depends on the quantity of  the vegetable and the capacity of your air fryer. I use Philips XL AirFryer and quantity was more than two pounds. You can make this on the stove top or in the oven too.
Air Fryer Fried Tindora:
Tindora – 2 lbs
Chilli Powder – 1 tbsp (Adjust acc. to taste)
Turmeric – 1/2 
Salt – Acc. to taste
Jeera Powder – 1 tbsp 
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mix everything. Add it to the air fryer basket. Air fry at 360F for 20 mins, shaking in between. 
That’s it. Tindora is ready. It took me 10 mins to clean, chop and prep. And the rest of the cooking time was spent relaxing on the couch. 

Amazing Grass · Banana · Breakfast · Dates · Milk · Yogurt

Breakfast Smoothie

Breakfast Smoothie
Breakfast Smoothie

Winter is fast approaching.. the days are colder and nights even more.. Summer clothes have been packed away.. Plants are wilting.. The few which need to be saved like my beloved banana plant and my curry leaf plant have been brought indoors…The last few weeks were riddled with episodes of cough, cold and sore throats. Hubby was down with a bad respiratory infection for three weeks and is slowly getting back to normalcy. T is ok. I caught a sore throat which is steadily becoming a cough. Inspite of these minor inconveniences which cold weather brings, I simply love winter. I eagerly look forward to the first snow every year. My family usually finds me standing by the window transfixed watching the delicate snowflakes fall to the ground. Oh, it’s a magical sight! I never cease to wonder at this marvel of nature. As if shaking me out of my reverie, a cough or a sniffle would echo through the room, bringing me back to reality.
When T was little, she was a picky eater and had frequent episodes of cold and cough. One particular year was very hard with multiple visits to the ER. In her case, a cold turns into a cough and a cold cannot be avoided in daycare. The only logical way was to strengthen her immune system. I started looking for an immunity booster and found Amazing Grass. I had used it before and it helped stopped my allergies within a week. There was no harm in giving it a try. If T benefits from it, what more could I ask for?
But how do I make her take it? I usually have a scoop mixed into juice or water and gulp it down. T drinking it that way is not going to happen even in the wildest of my dreams. That’s when this smoothie came to the rescue. Did I tell you that T was a picky eater? I started her on this smoothie when she was 2 years old. It packed a good amount of calories, enough to kick start the day. And even if she didn’t eat much the rest of the day, the calorie count tallied because of the smoothie.
So, to this miraculous smoothie I added a scoop of Amazing Grass and T drank it upwithout a fuss. Her health did improve and to this day, I trust this smoothie and the green powder.
Let’s take a look at the recipe:
Breakfast Smoothie Recipe:
Banana – 1
Raw almonds – 5
Pitted/Seedless Dates – 3
Milk – 1/2 Cup
Plain Yogurt – 1/3 cup
Amazing Grass for Kids – 1 scoop (Optional)
Blend till smooth. I use a Vitamix. In case your blender doesn’t ground almonds finely, use almond flour. Banana adds a definite smoothness to the drink. You can add berries or other fruits to the mix as well.