Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Kobichi Wadi and other Instant Pot Adventures

June is here, school's out for summer, the fireflies are lighting up our evenings, and the blog beckons. The big kitchen news since I last saw you is that my sweet sister gave me an Instant Pot  for my birthday, and so I have much belatedly joined the ranks of IP enthusiasts.

6 quart duo plus Instant Pot
The nice thing about being a late adopter of a cult favorite kitchen appliance is that someone has already done the homework for me. Generous souls have posted scores of resources and dozens of standardized recipes for me to try. Even right after unboxing the IP, I skipped the manual and used this handy article to test the appliance and start using it right away.

In the few weeks that I've owned the IP, I've made several different things in it. I tend to look up recipes for the (a) amount of water to be added and (b) pressure cooking time/steaming time and (c) instructions on natural pressure release or quick release or "wait x number of minutes and then do a quick release". Once I have this information or some sort of consensus from a few posted recipes, then I can adapt my own recipes to the Instant Pot.

My very first IP recipe was a one pot spaghetti, made by dumping in raw noodles, marinara sauce and some whole brown lentils into the IP. The lentils are not traditional, of course, but an easy way to add protein, fiber and heartiness to the dish. Not bad at all- it was a very kid friendly meal, served with a topping of Parmesan.

Another easy meal that turned out well was a tofu Vietnamese curry made by sauteeing veggies, curry powder, tofu and coconut milk, followed by a quick pressure cook.

For a special occasion, I made rice kheer in porridge mode using this recipe.

Punjabi dum aloo
When I found fancy fingerling potatoes on sale in the grocery store, I knew dum aloo was going to be on the menu. I made the sauce on the stove top but used the IP to saute and pressure cook the potatoes, and they turned out absolutely perfect, well cooked but with more of a roasted taste rather than a boiled one.

Veg Pulao
Hard boiled eggs are easy and fool-proof in the IP- I made them yesterday using this recipe.

I've made vegetable pulao a couple of times, by sauteeing onions and whole spices, then adding mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, potatoes, zucchini) and salt, turmeric, garam masala, then 1 cup rinsed Jasmine rice and 1 1/4 cup water. Pressure cook for 4 minutes, wait 5 minutes and then release pressure.

Last night I topped this pulao with boiled eggs and fried onions to make a quick egg pulao. Two tips for this recipe are to use large chunks of vegetables so they don't get mushy, and to remove the insert from the base after the pressure is released and place it on a different surface, so the pulao doesn't just keep cooking.

I've also used the IP as a steamer to make idlis- my idli stand fits in it perfectly. So do the two stainless steel containers that came with my first (and since retired) pressure cooker. I'm glad I held on to the containers because they fit into the IP. I used them to steam a big batch of kobichi wadi (savory cabbage cakes) this weekend.

Kobichi wadi is a savory cabbage cake and a favorite Maharashtrian dish. The steamed cake is sliced and then pan fried (or deep fried) and served as a tea-time snack with green chutney and ketchup, or as a side dish with dal and rice and other everyday meals. Using cilantro instead of cabbage gives you kothimbir wadi, a recipe that I've posted 14 years ago!

This was a recipe made on the fly, but I'm noting down general proportions and steaming times here.

Kobichi Wadi

1/2 medium head of green cabbage, finely chopped
~2 cups besan (chickpea flour)
2 tbsp. rice flour
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. red chili powder (or to taste)
Salt to taste
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. oil

  • Mix all the ingredients together. Add enough water to make a thick batter. 
  • Grease two containers and divide the batter between them. 
  • Stack the containers, cover, and steam in IP for about 35 minutes or until an inserted knife comes clean.
  • Let the containers cool completely and refrigerate for a few hours. 
  • Use a thin knife to loosen around the edges, and remove the wadi. 
  • Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut the savory cake into slices. 
  • Pan fry the slices until golden brown and serve them right away.

The steamed and sliced kobichi wadi can be stored in the freezer to be thawed and fried later.

Send your favorite IP recipes my way, pretty please! What do you love using it for?

* * * 
Have you ever wondered how much jam you could make out of  exactly12 strawberries? My daughter went on a strawberry-picking field trip with her class and came home proudly clutching a little box of strawberries. After snacking on a few, she wanted to make jam with the rest, and she did:

  • Slice 12 strawberries, mix with 2-3 tbsp. sugar in a small saucepan and set aside for 20 minutes. 
  • Cook the saucepan on medium heat until the berries fall apart and start to thicken.
  • Add 1-2 tsp. lemon juice and cook for a couple more minutes. 
  • Cool and store. 

Makes a third of a tiny 4 oz. mason jar, enough to top a few slices of hot buttered toast.

* * *
We continue to volunteer at the animal shelter every weekend- here are some recent photos of the pups and kitties. 

Miss Kitty is a big and beautiful Persian cat-
it is a treat to brush her.

It is kitten season over at the shelter-
last week there were 10 kittens there, all about 8 weeks old.

These three kits were siblings- frightened at first, then 5 minutes later,
they were bouncing around playfully.

Puppy season too- this is a litter of five (count 'em!)
2 week old puppies. 
Sweet kitty named Matilda

We were surprised to see a trio of bunnies
one week!


  1. Hi Nupur,
    Thank you so much for posting your experience with IP! I am yet to adopt this gadget in my kitchen. Lila's jam looks delicious...I'll pass on the recipe to my daughter. :)
    The kitties, puppies, and the bunny look adorable. Cute clicks!

    1. Thanks Lata! The jam is really fun for kids to make in peak berry season.

  2. Guess I forgot to mention my thoughts on wadis...I'm glad you've shared the recipe here...will try it sometime. (I'm a tamilian and I sometimes get tired of making only a simple curry/kootu with cabbages over and over again). :)

    1. Dear Lata- this wadi (made with cabbage, cilantro or even leafy greens) has the same general ingredients as kootu (veggies and legumes) but in a different form. Do give it a try, it can be steamed easily in a normal pressure cooker as well (without the weight), or even in a pot with the lid on.

  3. Two of my favorite IP cook book authors are Archana Deshmukh from ministry of curry blog and

  4. Shilpa DeshpandeJune 10, 2019 10:41 AM

    I love my IP, and my absolute favorite use of the gadget is in the Yogurt mode, to make yogurt and help ferment idli/dosa batters in the thick of winter!

    1. Thanks for the tips! Living in the South, I usually have no problems with fermentation of yogurt or idli batter, but this is good to remember for very cold days.

  5. Nupur, I was waiting for the InstanPot to show up on One Hot Stove!! :-) I have been quite happy with mine, although I don't think it is quite the wonder machine to replace all other kitchen gadgets! It's awesome for 1-pot meals, but my traditional pressure cooker remains my favorite for every day waran-bhaat!!

    1. LOL Gauri- yes, I am now on the bandwagon! I too will continue to use my good old pressure cooker regularly, but am definitely enjoying the IP and find myself using it on an almost daily basis. Since posting this, I made steamed broccoli, upma and chana masala and all were fantastic.

  6. Hi Nupur, I had posted a comment earlier, don't know why it didn't come up. Perhaps because I used my iphone (no word verification)?
    Anyhoo, congratulations on your latest kitchen gadget! I have an electric pressure cooker ( same functions as the IP, but different brand and I got it for half the cost) and have been using it for over 3 years now.
    It is super convenient! Just sharing what I generally use it for:
    Pav bhaji, paneer, soups,rice, pulao and biryani, pasta, tea,cooking all kinds of beans ( and thank God or this IP, I do not have to guess how many whistles), paneer butter /kofta masala gravy is a super hit,kheer, yogurt and perfectly fermented idli / dosa batter, boiled egg, I also love the delay timer function. On days i need rice for lunchbox, early morning, I set the rice in the IP last thing at night and set it on manual mode with delay timer and wake up to perfectly cooked rice in the morning. I know i can do it in the morning, but it saves me time, as I have recently gone back to work and all 3 of us have to be out of the house by 7:45 am.
    I have taken my IP on road trips and used it to make my chai, maggi, khichadi (which is very welcome after a long day of walking and hiking).
    And since my last comment, I have also made cantaloupe jam.
    But I don't steam idlis! I just could not figure out the timing and gave it up after one attempt. Time to try it once again.

    Those puppies! Oh! I love dogs and I so wish I had one... Kittens are cute too, but I love dogs more.
    We will go to the Humane society soon, maa-beta, and spend some time with the dogs and pups.
    How is Vaghoba? Do share his stories.

    1. Manasi- you are a hero for writing this informative comment. Thank you so much! I'm very intrigued to know that you make chai in the IP. Vaghoba is doing well- I'll definitely share his stories on my next post!

  7. Yay! You are on the IP wagon! I look forward to seeing what you think an dperhaps more posts. I have been a IP user for 4 years now and have two! I almost stopped using my stove. Although I going back to traditional cooking as my kids are slightly older and I like the therapy of sauteing etc on the stove. My fave recipe for the IP is biryani with the Rasoi magic masala. It comes out so authentic and no one can tell that i took me exactly 10 min prep time!
    Also slow cooked kheers are so yummy! I love the recipes on the IP for Indian cooking FB page.
    Kitties are so cute!

    1. Sangeetha- I can see how the IP is going to keep the kitchen cooler in Georgia summers by letting me use the stove less. Tell me more about this magical biryani- do you have a recipe. I'm not on FB but am finding lots of great Indian IP recipes on websites.

  8. Mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, sambar, rajma, (the best) steel cut oats, UP style aloo-tomato (saute 1 medium onion with garlic for 4 min, add 2 bunches of chopped Swiss chard, 5-6 peeled baby potatoes, 4 tomatoes and pressure cook for 5 min. Add a bunch of chopped cilantro), plus the prep stuff - beans, barley, farro, quinoa, yogurt, etc.

    1. Thanks Anon! I'll have to try mac and cheese and steel cut oats. Thanks very much for the aloo tomato recipe, will buy Swiss chard and try it right away.

  9. those cats and co are so beautiful - I hope they find good homes (I guess that is what the shelter does). And your instapot adventures sounds fun and convenient. I have never had an instapot or quite got the hype - probably still haven't got over my fear of old fashioned pressure cookers!

    1. Hi Johanna- Yes, the shelter houses animals (surrendered by owners/ rescued by animal cops from dangerous or abusive situations/ strays), they are spayed/neutered and vaccinated and then people come in and adopt them for a nominal fee. Many are taken by rescue groups to foster homes. Some are transported out of state to other shelters up north where the spay/neuter laws are better enforced and where they are not overrun with homeless animals. And our local shelter where I volunteer does a really good job of placing animals in good homes pretty quickly.

      Pressure cookers (whether the newer instant pots or the older kind) are really awesome for cooking all sorts of vegetarian dishes. I'm really glad my sis got me one, I never got the hype but confess to using mine on a daily basis!

  10. Welcome to the IP club, Nupur!
    I have two of them, a 6 qt and a 3 qt, use both quite regularly. I have completely stopped using the traditional pressure cookers. I use mine for steaming idlis too. I like my hard boiled eggs cooked to exactly 10 mins on the stovetop and haven't quite gotten the same results in the IP. Besides the usual curries etc, I absolutely love using the yogurt function. Try it, you won't go back to making it the normal way. I love that it's perfect and exactly the same taste and consistency every single time. I just put the pyrex container with the lid on inside it with some water.

    Have you read any more books on the Read Harder Challenge? Looking for recommendations to pick up.



The spammers are out in full force so I've had to turn word verification on! Thanks for leaving a comment- I read and respond to every single one.