Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya {Review + Recipe}

If you are looking into adding some diversity to the meals and desserts you make in your Instant Pot, you may just want to check out Rinku Bhattacharya’s new cookbook, Instant Indian

In this cookbook, there are 100 authentic classic Indian recipes taken from every region of the country. If you aren’t very familiar with this style of food, the author and creator of the cookbook takes the liberty of explaining well-known flavors as well as the how and why many of these dishes like curries that have many depths of flavor can be prepared quite well in the pressure cooker!

I really like the depth of information that is included in this cookbook. Before any of the recipes there is a section dedicated to learning a bit about the Instant Pot functions, terminology, what size you might want followed by a basic pressure cooking time table for most of the ingredients that will be used through the book.  

The first chapter of this book should not be looked over. This chapter explains the regions, spices, and basics. This amount of information has given me a greater understanding and respect for this style of food and the rich history it and the ingredients used have.

This is a well-laid out book. There are full color photographs of the dishes, easy navigation, step-by-step non-confusing instructions, serving sizes, prep time,  and dietary symbols throughout. I liked the personal touch of something to say for each and every recipe from the author. 

Chapters:

  • Make Ahead Basics
  • Breakfast and Snacks
  • Rice and Noodles
  • Legumes and Soups
  • Vegetables and Paneer
  • Fish and Shrimp
  • Chicken and Eggs
  • Lamb and Pork
  • Desserts and Drinks
  • Chutneys and Raitas

I like how the recipes aren’t so out there that it you couldn’t find the ingredients easily. These dishes are flavorful and not all as complicated as they seem.  Cook time thanks to the Instant Pot takes the cooking time down at least by 70% which is huge! 

I am looking forward to offering my family many of these diverse dishes into the New Year and beyond. Who knew there were so many different types of curries and that saffron cheesecake was a thing? Many more delicious recipes span this book like Kofta Pulao – Golden Rice Pilaf with Chicken Meatballs & Lagan Nu Custard – Indian Baked Custard. 

Variety is the spice of life and what better way to achieve it than around the table enjoying delicious foods and desserts together. I highly recommend this cookbook and am excited to share a recipe from it below. Enjoy! 

Recipe and photo from Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya
Hippocrene Books/October 2018

Khichuri
Bengali Red Lentil Risotto
Makes 4 cups

A khichuri or khichdi is a classic rice and lentil mélange, prepared differently all over India. This particular red lentil variation is from Bengal. It is distinct in its use of fried onions to imbue rich flavor. Cauliflower, potatoes and green peas round out this hearty, comforting dish. It is done in less than 20 minutes of cooking time and topped with a beautiful drizzle of cumin-scented ghee. To keep this dish vegan, you can use coconut oil instead of the ghee.

TOTAL TIME: 40 MINUTES 
Prep Time: 5 minutes   Sauté: 7 minutes   Pressure: 4 minutes    Steam Release: Natural after 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute

INGREDIENTS
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
3/4 cup red lentils (masoor dal) 
½ cup Basmati or kalajeera rice 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 cups cauliflower florets (about ½ head of cauliflower)
1 medium Yukon gold potato peeled and cubed 
½ cup frozen green peas

TO FINISH
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
2 whole dried red chilies
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add in the oil. After about a minute, add in the onions and sauté until they turn golden, about 5 to 6 minutes.
2. Add in the lentils, rice, ground cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt and the turmeric.
3. Add in the cauliflower, potato, and 4 cups water, and stir well.
4. Close the lid and cook on Manual mode at high pressure for 4 minutes.
5. When cooking time is complete, allow natural pressure release for 15 minutes, then do a quick release for any residual pressure.
6. Open the lid and stir well. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add in the green peas.
7. Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a small pan, add in the cumin seeds, the crushed red pepper if using, and the whole dried red chilies. Cook until the mixture crackles and is fragrant, being careful not to burn the crushed red pepper.
8. Pour the ghee mixture over the khichuri. Gently stir.
9. Squeeze in the lime juice and garnish with cilantro before serving.

Notes:
I often use quartered organic red potatoes with the skin on. If you wish, you can also throw in vegetables like broccoli or carrots for a more substantial khichuri.

If you are using brown rice, increase the cook time to 8 minutes, and cut the vegetables into larger pieces.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rinku Bhattacharya is a Gourmand Award-winning cookbook author, blogger and cooking instructor.  She is the author of Bengali Five Spices Chronicles and Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors. Rinku was born in Kolkata, India and has a natural passion and love for regional Indian cuisine and uses it to share and connect with her cultural heritage. She has travelled extensively and specializes in adapting Indian cuisine in global environments and kitchens. Her deep commitment to using seasonal ingredients for Indian cooking is reflected in her recipes.  Rinku teaches very popular Indian cooking classes in the Hudson Valley area of New York and has been featured in newspapers, magazines and on radio.  She and her family reside in the Hudson Valley area of New York.  Visit her at www.SpiceChronicles.com

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a free sample or a discount to purchase the product for review  purposes. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience with the product.