Saturday, April 23, 2022

Potato-Cauliflower Masala Dosa Filling, and other Instant Pot Subzis

One of the cornerstones of Indian home cooking is a simple stir-fried vegetable preparation commonly known as subzi (Hindi) or the bhaaji (Marathi). It can be made with one vegetable, or a duo (aloo gobi, or potato cauliflower is a classic example) or a medley. Far from being a side dish, it is the center of the everyday lunch or dinner plate, to be rolled up in a roti, or eaten with dal-rice or yogurt-rice. I love stuffing leftover subzis into a sandwich or a quesadilla. 

My sister gave me an Instant Pot for my birthday nearly 3 years ago and I quickly embraced it as the workhorse of my kitchen. Among its many uses, I find that the Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker of this sort) makes excellent subzis- in minutes, with very little supervision, and with the vegetables cooked until just tender. 

The general method is simple:

1. On saute mode, heat a bit of oil and add spices (some combo of mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, one of the masala mixes like goda masala or kitchen king masala) and aromatics (some combo of ginger, garlic, onion, curry leaves) for tempering and flavor.

2. Add diced veggies and just a bit of water. I generally use fresh veggies but some frozen veggies like green beans work well.

3. Turn off saute mode and pressure cook on HIGH- 3 minutes seems to be my magic number for veggies that are tender but not mushy.

4. Release pressure immediately.

Cabbage subzi made with the 
general method above

Frozen green beans subzi

A few days ago, I made a filling for masala dosas very quickly in the Instant Pot following this same method. It is the typical potato masala, only I reduced the amount of potato and added some cauliflower. Typical dosa filling, to me, has a nice tempering, with aromatic curry leaves and mustard seeds, and crunchy chana dal and urad dal. And the other hallmark is plentiful onions, cut thinly lengthwise. 

Potato-Cauliflower Masala

  • 1 medium onion, sliced finely lengthwise
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut in small dice
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut in small dice

Turn Instant Pot to saute mode. Heat 1-2 tsp. oil and temper it with mustard seeds, asafetida, curry leaves, ural dal and chana dal

Add onions, turmeric, salt, small dab of ginger garlic paste, either finely minced green chillies or red chili powder (your choice, for heat), and coriander cumin powder. Saute for a couple of minutes until onions are translucent. 

Turn off saute mode. Stir in diced potato and cauliflower and 1/4 cup water. 

Pressure cook on HIGH for 3 minutes. Release pressure immediately. 

Because the veggies are cut in small dice, they will be very tender. Mash the veggies roughly. Let cool and use as dosa filling.

* * *

Dosa and dosa-related recipes make a frequent appearance on One Hot Stove

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Chocolate Desserts, Book Challenges and Narrative Non-fiction

I have a big collection of recipes bookmarked, pinned, marked with sticky notes in cookbooks, sometimes printed or torn out of magazines- all waiting patiently for a chance to be debuted in my kitchen. One of them is a showy chocoflan, a composite dessert of chocolate cake and flan that I have wanted to make for years. I own the right-sized bundt pan for this and everything; all it needed was an occasion, and because it makes over a dozen servings, it needed a big enough crowd of eaters, not easy to come by in pandemic times. 

This past weekend, a small group of families did get together. Our Brazilian friends cooked up a tasty and comforting lunch of rice, black beans, collards, and farofa. My daughter and I decided to make the chocoflan for the occasion. 

I used the chocoflan recipe from the Smitten Kitchen blog. With a can of store-bought dulce de leche, and a couple of kitchen appliances (stand mixer for the cake batter, and a blender for the flan), this dessert was very easy to make and not at all the big, complicated project that I had imagined. 

The chocoflan easily serves 12-15 people. The only modifications I made to the recipe:

  • Used decaf instant coffee instead of brewed coffee (because kids would be eating this)
  • Cut down sugar in the cake from 1 cup to 3/4 cup
  • Baked for 1 hour, 40 minutes only (Next time, I'll test at 1 hour and 30 minutes.) 

This recipe is referred to as a "magic", "impossible" dessert because of what happens during baking. When you first set up the bundt pan, the cake batter goes in first, followed by the flan mixture. During baking, they switch places because the flan mixture is denser than the cake mixture, and so when you lift off the foil cover after baking, you see the chocolate cake now on top. Pretty cool! 

To serve with the chocoflan, I made this easy caramel sauce. The taste is about what you would expect- two really good desserts on one plate, a total crowd-pleaser. This dessert is a keeper. 

* * *

My daughter owns a couple of kids' cookbooks and enjoys leafing through them. For Valentine's Day, she made us a chocolate mug cake that was the absolutely perfect sweet treat. The recipe is from America's Test Kitchen's The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs. It makes 2 servings in big mugs but she divided the batter into 4 coffee cups for the four of us and it was a lovely serving size with some vanilla ice cream, and topped with a chocolate kiss! 

This recipe uses simple pantry ingredients. The mug cake is made entirely in the microwave oven, much safer for kids to use on their own as compared to conventional ovens. You just have to remember to use 50% power while making this recipe to avoid scorching the chocolate.

Fudgy Chocolate Mug Cake (For Four)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2. In medium microwave bowl, combine 4 tbsp. butter (cut in a few pieces) and 3 tbsp. dark chocolate chips. Melt in microwave, 1 minute at a time at 50% power.

3. Add 2 large eggs,  scant 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp. cocoa powder, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/8 tsp. salt and whisk in. 

4. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

5. Use a spoon to evenly divide the mixture between 4 coffee cups. 

6. Cook 2 mugs at a time, placing them on opposite sides of the microwave turntable. Cook for 1 minute at 50% power, then stir, and cook for another 45-60 seconds at 50% power. 

7. Let mug cakes cool for 3-5 minutes, then serve! Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream is highly recommended as a topping.

* * *

I’m doing two reading challenges this year- the POPsugar 2022 reading challenge and the Book Riot 2022 reading challenge. The first has 40 prompts and the second has 24 prompts, and I feel 0 pressure to do all or even most of them. I’ll just enjoy the challenges at my own pace. I love hunting down books to fit prompts, and time and again, reading challenges have stretched my reading muscles and led to great reads that I would have otherwise missed out on. 

I just finished The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking, a 2013 narrative nonfiction book by the American author Brendan I. Koerner. It fit the POPsugar prompt Book set on a plane, train or cruise ship, AND also the Book Riot prompt Read a history from a period you know little aboutThis book is a fascinating history of the "golden age" of aircraft hijacking in the United States from 1961 to 1973, when there were hundreds of hijackings in US skies. These incidents were shockingly routine, with sometimes two separate hijackings occurring on the same day. The book is a great romp through the history and politics of the time, and the factors that drove airline policies that we see even today. 

Narrative non-fiction is informative or factual writing that uses storytelling to make it interesting and even entertaining, and is one of my favorite genres. Just for fun, I made the graphic below showing some of the gripping narrative books that I remember vividly, years after reading them. 

6 memorable narrative non-fiction books

What are you cooking and reading this month?

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Undhiyu- A Winter Specialty

Seasonal eating is a central theme in Indian regional cooking. And when I think of classic winter dishes, the one on top of the list is that divine vegetable stew/casserole from Gujarat, undhiyu. The real thing has an elaborate preparation, traditionally cooked for hours in pots underground. My version here is easy enough for the modern kitchen, using vegetables and lots of short-cuts cobbled together from the Indian store. 

I've heard people complain that they get bored of their own cooking because, "everything I make tastes the same", and it is such a relatable sentiment. We tend to have patterns for everyday cooking, where every curry, for instance, starts with sautéed onions, and includes tomatoes. This is why when someone else cooks us the simplest meal- dal and rice- it can taste so different and refreshing.

Undhiyu is one of those dishes that has a very distinctive flavor. There's ajwain or carom seeds, which have a unique taste and that I don't tend to use often. There's a complete lack of onions and tomatoes. And there's a particular combination of vegetables and muthia (fenugreek and chickpea dumplings) and ripe banana for a savory dish with a strikingly sweet note. I made this big batch of undhiyu and happily ate it for lunch four days in a row with a roti. 

Undhiyu in the Instant Pot

  • 10 baby eggplants
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 packet frozen papdi (lilva papdi/ Surti papdi/ broad beans)
  • 1/2 packet frozen lilva (beans from the broad beans pod)
  • 1 packet frozen undhiyu mix
  • 1 packet (or less) frozen methi muthia

Make the masala by mixing together:

  • Grated coconut (I used frozen, thawed)
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Minced cilantro
  • Minced green chillies (optional)
  • Undhiyu masala (I used Badshah brand)
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Cumin-coriander powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Jaggery to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • A bit of oil
  • A bit of water

1. Remove the stem from the eggplants. Cut slits into each eggplant keeping the stem side intact. Cut the banana (unpeeled) into 4 pieces and cut slits into each piece. Stuff some of the masala into the eggplant and bananas. 

2. In a large bowl, mix the rest of the masala with the frozen undhiyu veg mix, papdi and lilva. 

3. In the Instant Pot, heat some oil on saute mode. Add carom seeds (ajwain), then add the contents of the bowl (step 2) and fry for a minute or so. Turn off the instant pot.

4. Layer with the stuffed eggplants and banana. Add the methi muthia last. Drizzle with up to 1/2 cup water.

5. Pressure cook under high pressure for 5 minutes. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then release remaining pressure. 

6. Add minced cilantro and lemon juice and mix together very gently. Serve with rotis. 

* * *

Some food pics from the last few months- 

My parents visited from India and brought along lots of goodies, including kandi pedha, small treats of milky fudge flavored with cardamom, homemade chaklis- spiky, spiral, spicy, savory fried things :) and nankhatai- shortbread biscuits from a local bakery that have a pretty floral design. 

Treats from India

I made flan for my parents' wedding anniversary. Over the holidays, I made them some of my usual favorites- biscotti and fruit and nut shortbread. 

The best baking project of the season was a buche de Noel or Christmas log. My dad wanted to try making a Swiss roll and I have had this Christmas log (a decorated Swiss roll) on my baking bucket list for the longest time, so we went for it. It was easier than we imagined. A thin chocolate cake is rolled up with some cream cheese filling. Then a portion is cut off one end and placed as the "branch". A whipped ganache frosting is generously slathered on and fork tines are used to create a log effect. It was perfectly seasonal and fun to make together, definitely a baking memory that I will cherish. 

Holiday sweets

I hope 2022 is off to a good start for you! 

P.S: Sangeetha, you commented a few days ago asking for a post on making yogurt. I realized I wrote one over a decade ago and I just updated it- read it here.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

What I eat for breakfast every single day

Before I launch into the post: Did you notice a change on the blog? After years and years of keeping the same blog header, I was ready for a change and tinkered around and made a new one, just for fun. It looks a little blurry and I still need to figure out how to fix that. 

Today I'm writing a quick post about breakfast, which remains an important meal for my early-bird self. Two years ago, I went on a work trip and discovered the hearty simplicity of steel-cut oats. Back home, I quickly got into the groove of cooking 1 cup of dry steel-cut oats and eating that batch over 4 days. Rinse and repeat. Having discovered an easy and tasty topping for the plain porridge, I found myself eating it every day. I waited to tire of it, but almost 2 years have passed and I still look forward to that hearty bowl of oatmeal, no matter the season. 

My husband has eaten granola for breakfast for about 15 years and counting. I always wondered how he did not tire of eating the exact same thing every day and now here I am, eating the same meal every morning. There's something to be said for it. I spent so much time planning, shopping for, and cooking meals, trying to keep the menu somewhat varied and interesting, that it is a relief to have one meal that is sorted out every day. Just a little less decision-making in a day filled with thousands of choices and decisions, minor as they may be. 

Basic steel cut oats

(About 4 servings)

1 cup dry steel-cut oats
4 cups water
1/4  tsp. salt

  • Place all ingredients in the Instant Pot.
  • Pressure cook on HIGH for 4 minutes. 
  • Natural pressure release. The natural pressure release is important so that the oatmeal does not stick to the bottom of the insert.
I usually add 3/4 cup or so of almond milk to the oats after cooking, for some creaminess. 

On days 2, 3 and 4, when I am eating refrigerated oatmeal, I simply scoop some in a bowl, add some water if needed, and microwave for a couple of minutes until it is piping hot.

To my bowl of warm oatmeal, I typically add:
1. 3/4 cup of frozen blueberries, thawed in the microwave for a minute
2. A spoonful of hemp seeds
3. A spoonful of ground flax seeds
4. A serving of mixed nut butter
On alternate days, I add 1 or 2 chopped Brazil nuts for the selenium.

So that is it- my low effort breakfast! 

Do you or would you eat the same thing every day for a meal?

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Classic flan in the Instant Pot

While I don't have much of a sweet tooth, there are some desserts that I am very fond of. Near the top of that list is flan, or as I grew up knowing it, caramel pudding. A simple and comforting confection of eggs, milk and sugar, it was the first dessert I really learned to make- in the pressure cooker, in those stainless steel inserts- and also one of the first posts I wrote back in the spring of 2005. 

My pressure cooker was small, so I was making caramel custard in the oven, using a bain marie (water bath). The same method went into making a pumpkin flan that featured on our Thanksgiving table some years later. However, bain maries are a bit tedious and I never really felt like I had a standardized flan recipe. By standardized, I mean a solid recipe that works in my hands, with tools that I own and familiar ingredients, and quantities that fit in my pots and pans, and with great results. 

Finally, I have landed on a flan recipe that checks all the boxes. I made it this weekend for dinner guests and it is "the one". For one thing, it is made in the Instant Pot so there is no fussing with the oven or a bain marie. The flan mixture exactly fills my 7-cup Pyrex bowl which in turn exactly fits in the Instant Pot. The resulting flan has the perfect, smooth texture and serves 10-12, enough for a dinner gathering of two families, with a bit left over for the next day. 

Making caramel is probably the hardest part of this recipe, which is good news because caramel is not hard to make at all. It can be done in the oven, stovetop or microwave and having tried them all at different times, I am firmly in the stovetop camp. 

While flan is definitely a rich dessert and an occasional, special, treat, it is far from being cloyingly sweet. I don't use a whole can of condensed milk, saving a portion of it in a glass jar in the fridge. We can use it for another dessert later this month.

Classic Flan

(recipe adapted from this video)

1. Set out whole milk, cream cheese and eggs out to come to room temperature (check quantities below).

2. Make the caramel. In a small saucepan, mix 1/2 cup regular sugar and 3 tbsp. water. Heat on medium heat until sugar melts, bubbles and caramelizes into a deep golden color. Watch the pot carefully because caramel can burn quickly. Pour the caramel into an ungreased 7 cup round bowl and let it cool for a few minutes. 

3. In a blender, blend the following to a smooth mixture-

  • 4 oz. cream cheese (quarter of a standard brick)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • Most of a can of condensed milk (4/5 or so)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
4. Pour the flan mixture into the bowl that has cooled caramel. Cover the bowl tightly with foil.

5. Place 2 cups water into the Instant Pot insert. The bowl goes onto a trivet and into the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. 

6. Pull out the flan from the Instant Pot. Let it sit out for 15 minutes to cool slightly, then refrigerate for several hours to chill thoroughly before serving.

7. Run a knife around the edge of the flan to loosen it, then turn into a platter to catch the lovely caramel sauce. 

* * * 

Duncan enjoying a beautiful fall day

Sunday, September 26, 2021

My interview on a podcast, and 10th birthday fun

I have been blogging in this space for over 16 years, and have lost track of everything that the blog has given me- friends in different places, loads of goodwill, and opportunities to meet cool people and experience new things. The blog brought me another "first" a few months ago when a reader named Aditi emailed me and asked me to be a guest on the podcast she co-hosts with Natasha. 

It turns out that Aditi and Natasha were childhood friends in India. They both now live in the US and have stayed friends over the decades. Their conversations about life in the US turned into a podcast called Chai and Chat, in which they chat with their guests about bicultural and bilingual identities in America and swap cultural stories in a relaxed and informal way, just the way you would have a thoughtful discussion with a good friend over a cup of chai. 

I had never been a guest on a podcast and am pretty self-conscious about being interviewed, but after I listened to a few episodes of Chai and Chat, I wrote back and said I would be thrilled to meet with them. And so we had a zoom call (on a rainy Saturday, with me locked in the bedroom, hiding from the kids and hoping for some peace and quiet), and it was simply delightful. Aditi and Natasha are so warm and sweet, and they put me at ease right away. They are expert conversationalists, which is an art in itself. They know how to ask interesting questions, coax out stories and anecdotes from their guests, and steer a conversation into thoughtful territory. 

If you have 32 minutes and 10 seconds to spare, listen to the episode here. Our conversation was completely unscripted, impromptu and flowed in many directions. I'm a self-conscious speaker, often tongue-tied and riddled with verbal tics. I say "you know" 3 times in every sentence! You have been warned. If you're up for it, and want to hear the person behind this blog, go listen to the "Home on the range" (LOL) episode of Chai and Chat. And my huge thanks to Aditi and Natasha for inviting me on their podcast, and most of all, for their overall efforts in bringing new voices and stories into the world. 

* * *

Double digit excitement! The other big event in our life recently was that my daughter (whose birth I announced here) turned 10 years old. From being too small even for newborn sized onesies, she now wears the same shoe size as me. As they say, the days are long but the years are short. We celebrated her birthday in a small way, while giving her everything she requested- pizza and salad for dinner, an ice cream cake, and a sleepover with two close friends with pancakes the morning after. 

Even before the official party started, the birthday celebrations kicked off with a breakfast of pastries from a local bakery.

The pizza recipe was the crispy pan pizza from King Arthur flour. It is an excellent recipe with low effort and great results, and the recipe can be doubled or tripled as needed. I started the dough the day before the party, and made personal pan pizzas by rounding up a bunch of cake pans. Everyone got to choose their own toppings- olives, red peppers, onions and so on. I helped myself out by buying jarred pizza sauce and shredded cheese.

The pizza dough can be frozen, and prepared pizza itself can be refrigerated and reheated on a griddle. All this to say that this is a keeper recipe if you're looking to make pizza at home. 

Next up, the cake, or rather ice cream "cake". The birthday girl much prefers ice cream over cake and we looked at ice cream concoctions online as we planned her party. Ina Garten's ice cream bombe caught her eye immediately. Luckily, I own a set of nested glass Pyrex bowls which were perfect for assembling this. 

I made the bombe the weekend before the party- a big advantage of ice cream cakes is the make-ahead feature- and again, simplified things for myself by buying these three ice cream tubs. All that was needed was softening and assembly. I lined the big bowl with plastic wrap and when it came time to unmold the thing, I was glad I did that. 

I didn't get any great pictures (just that messy one below), but the ice cream bombe was a pretty grand dessert. Each wedge has mango sorbet, raspberry sorbet and strawberry ice cream, a refreshing combination of flavors and also pleasing to the eye.  This thing was about 16 servings. (We still have some in the freezer!) 

I will definitely make this again. In fact, we were brainstorming other flavor combos that would work. Raspberry sorbet, dark chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream would be nice. I would always keep the outermost shell a sorbet, because they freeze more solid than ice creams do, and make for better cutting of the bombe. 

After the sleepover, the kids were treated to chocolate chip pancakes with fresh berries. I used this recipe and the result was fabulous. 

With only 2 little guests and a birthday girl and a milestone birthday, I decide to put some effort into a party favor and made matching book pillows for the three girls. These are 18 x 18 inch throw pillows with a pocket in front, big enough to tuck some books and a flashlight, or maybe a diary and a pen, or a coloring book and a few markers, or some card games. They have a handle so you can take them on car trips or just from room to room. I used this pattern to make the pillows and was very pleased with how they turned out.

Tell me what podcasts you listen to, and what you have been making and cooking and eating! 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Stuffed eggplant, lemon rice and other summer delights

We're halfway through August! How are you doing? Here in Northeast Georgia, August is the hottest month of the year. Temperatures soar to about 95F (35C) most days and are broken only by occasional furious afternoon thunderstorms. It still feels very much like the peak of summer, but also, since the new school year has started, it feels like we're done with summer and into a new season. 

Vacation pics from
Jekyll Island, a barrier island off the Georgia coast

The school summer break- May through July- went by safely and with some sense of normalcy, which I am extremely grateful for. We were able to take a weeklong beach vacation to the Georgia coast with my sister and nephew. My daughter was able to attend several creative and engaging summer day camps- a sewing camp, art camps, a camp at a barn animal sanctuary, among others- all of the camps being held either outdoors or with indoors with masks. My son graduated from his preschool and started kindergarten at the "big school"- the elementary public school. Our school district has a mask mandate and I am glad the kids get to be in school with their teachers and friends- while staying as safe as possible under the circumstances.

There's a lot of uncertainty about how the coming weeks and months will shape up, with COVID cases rising again locally and nationally- so we are still taking it a day at a time.

* * *

Over the years, I have been a frequent subscriber to CSA boxes, paying local farmers for a regular share of produce and other locally grown food. I restarted my CSA this spring and enjoy picking up a selection of fresh vegetables every week. 

This month's selection has been heavy on some of my favorite vegetables, the stars of summer- okra, eggplant, peppers. There are fresh tomatoes- green ones, red slicers, cherry tomatoes that my kids love to snack on. And fruits too- ripe fresh figs and berries. 

I love all vegetables but eggplant is up there at the top of the list. Growing up, eggplants big and small featured in a lot of everyday curries- stuffed eggplant (bharli vangi), vangi batata- eggplants with potato, eggplant sambar, smoky vangi bharit or mashed eggplant. Eggplant is also a component of the sublime Gujarati winter dish undhiyu

Since moving to the US, I've discovered the different ways in which global cuisines cook eggplant and I adore every single one of them- Italian eggplant parmesan, Middle Eastern baba ghanouj, Thai curries with eggplant, and Sichuan eggplant. 

Surprisingly, several of my close American friends who love Indian food and love vegetables will pointedly say, "all vegetables except eggplant"- they don't care for the taste and texture of eggplant. I think this may be because supermarket eggplant is often tough and bitter. The summer eggplant I've been getting in my veggies boxes, in contrast, is so tender and sweet, and a joy to cook and savor. 

I've been adapting many recipes to the Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) since my sister got me one a couple of years ago, and this month I discovered that stuffed eggplant (bharli vangi) is so easy and wonderful in the Instant Pot. 

You start by making a tasty stuffing mixture, a paste with savory, sweet and tangy notes. Baby eggplants are washed and have slits cut into them. Then you stuff them with the paste, and pressure cook them for a few minutes with only a bit of water. The result is tender eggplant in a luxurious sauce. I love this dish with a bit of yogurt rice but it is great with lentils, roti, rice or any combination of the above.

Stuffed baby eggplant (bharli vangi)

Stuffed eggplant (bharli vangi)

The stuffing: This time I made an easy, no-cook stuffing, using what I have on hand. Mix it up in a small bowl.

  • The base for the paste is minced onions and crushed roasted peanuts.
  • This is seasoned by salt, turmeric, red chili powder, ground cumin and coriander, goda masala if you have it, or garam masala instead. 
  • Then you add something tangy, like tamarind paste or lemon juice; I have even used cranberry chutney at times. 
  • And something sweet, like crushed jaggery
  • Optional- Seeds like poppy seeds or sesame seeds can be added for taste and texture. Grated coconut or a little coconut milk can add richness. 
  • Finally, a handful of minced cilantro goes in and you mix everything together. The stuffing should be a nice balance of flavors.

The eggplant: Choose tender baby eggplants. Wash them and at the side opposite the stem, cut slits to make a deep "X", without slicing through the eggplant completely. Stuff each eggplant and set aside. Save any leftover stuffing.

Cooking the dish

  • Heat a little oil in the Instant Pot on saute mode. 
  • Pop a generous amount of mustard seeds in the hot oil. 
  • Then layer the stuffed eggplant gently. Turn off saute mode. 
  • Mix up a little water (half a cup to a cup at most) in the leftover stuffing and pour over the eggplants.
  • Cook at high pressure for 3 or 4 minutes. (The first time I cooked it for 6 minutes and the eggplant were overcooked.)
  • Release pressure quickly.
  • Test eggplant to see if a knife goes through easily. If not cover and let it cook in the residual heat for a bit. 

* * *

Lemon rice is another quintessential summer dish and easily made in the Instant Pot. (Look up the instruction manual for ratios of rice and water). 

Instant pot on saute mode: Heat a bit of oil and temper it with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal and chana dal, curry leaves, dried chilis. Add salt, turmeric, grated fresh ginger. Turn off saute mode. 

Add soaked and drained rice and water. Pressure cook for 4 minutes on high. Release pressure after 5 minutes. 

Add fresh lemon zest and lemon juice (or lime zest and juice to make lime rice), and minced cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

* * *

Stuffed peppers
waiting to be 
Stuffed poblano peppers were a treat when I got a big haul of fresh peppers in the veggie box. Cut the tops off poblano peppers and cut in half vertically. Microwave the halved peppers for 3 minutes with a sprinkle of water, to par-cook them. Drain well. 

For the stuffing, mix mashed/grated boiled potato, minced onion, ginger and garlic and salt, spices and herbs. Stuff the peppers.

Pan-fry the pepper, starting cut side down, until they are browned. Covering the pan in the last few minutes is a great way to get the peppers to cook through. 

Just a pic of another classic summer lunch:
Khichdi with pan-fried okra/bhindi

After I wrote this post, I realize that I've written a very similar post 16 years ago

And with this array of home-style Indian dishes, I will end by saying (a day ahead of time)- Happy Independence Day, India!

Tell me how things are in your neck of the woods, and what you are cooking and eating in August 2021.