IFR daily

Daily Indian food, as it's cooked in my kitchen. Sometimes, not-so-Indian. No frills. No props. Just good food. A phone blog.

Category: pressure cooker

Spicy Baby Dutch Potatoes

1.5 lbs baby Dutch potatoes
2 tbsp ghee (or oil)
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
6-7 fresh curry leaves, washed and wiped dry
2-3 hot green chiles, sliced fine
1 tbsp chana dal
1/4 cup sliced white onion
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Lots of chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

Boil baby Dutch potatoes in their jackets, preferably using a pressure cooker. (I let my pressure cooker go for a tad bit longer and some skins split. It isn’t a problem as these are waxy potatoes).
2015/04/img_1839.jpgWhile the potatoes are cooking, heat ghee in a medium pot. Once hot enough, add mustard seeds. (Test ghee by dropping one or two mustard seeds into it, if they pop then it’s ready). When they pop, lower heat and add cumin seeds, followed by curry leaves, finely sliced green chiles and Chana dal. Toss to combine.

Add sliced onion, turmeric powder, about 1/2 tsp of salt and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions are soft.

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Peel the potatoes, if you like. The skin is thin and peels off easily.
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Halve some of the larger potatoes. Add all potatoes to the pot. Toss to coat potatoes with onions and spices.
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Drizzle 1 tbsp of ghee along the side of the pot. Add another 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix well taking care not to break down any of the potatoes. Spread in as much of a single layer as your pot will allow. Cook on medium for about 7-8 minutes, allowing the potatoes to crispen a tad, but making sure that they do not burn. If necessary, mix and spread out in a single layer again.
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Add chopped cilantro. Add fresh lemon juice. Mix well.

Adjust for seasonings and serve hot with rotis or with rice and dal.
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Notes:
Use any waxy potatoes. If they are larger than baby potatoes, dice them into smaller pieces once boiled and peeled.
Do not peel, chop and then boil.
Use more hot green chiles to up the heat. More lemon juice if you are like me.

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Chhole with turnips (Shalgam-wale chhole)

4-5 cups pre-soaked garbanzo beans (chhole / Kabuli chana)
OR
1.5-2 cups dried garbanzo beans, soaked
2-3 tbsp oil
1 cup chopped white onion
1 tejpatta
2-3 Thai green chiles
1 inch piece of ginger
2 large cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tomatoes or half a pint jar (16oz) of canned tomatoes
1 black cardamom
1/2 tbsp garam masala
4 medium turnips, peeled and diced
4 small red potatoes, either raw or boiled, peeled and diced
1 tsp of chaat masala (optional) OR
Juice of half lime (optional)
2 tsp salt or to taste
half bunch cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in the pan of your pressure cooker. When it shimmers, add tejpatta and when it changes color, add chopped onions. Sweat on medium-high. Add 1 tsp salt to make them cook down faster.
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While the onions are cooking down, coarsely pound ginger, garlic and green chiles using your mortar-pestle. Or grate the ginger-garlic and chop the chiles.
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I was out of ginger and really regretted not making a dash to the Indian store yesterday. But I made do with what I had on hand and skipped ginger.
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Add ginger-garlic-chile mixture to the pressure cooker and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add turmeric powder and garam masala. I used Malvani masala.

Add tomatoes, breaking them down if they are not diced small.

Drain soaked garbanzo beans and add to the pressure cooker.
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Add diced turnips.
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If your potatoes are uncooked, add them now. If they are boiled, wait until later. Add 4-5 cups of water.

Add black cardamom. Smell it. It is smoked and best added while braising or once the liquid has been added to the pot. In general, do not toast this spice on dry heat as that makes it bitter.
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Add 1 tsp of salt.

Cook under pressure for 3-4 pressure releases and do a quick release, if you know how to do it safely. Otherwise, allow the pressure to release naturally and open the pressure cooker when safe. It may seem too watery but stir it gently and cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the potatoes to thicken the sauce.

If you have boiled potatoes, add them now and cook on medium for 5 minutes. I dice them rather small so that they near-dissolve into the sauce.

Stir in cilantro.
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Add chaat masala or lime juice. If you know me well enough by now, you know I added both!

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Serve hot over steamed rice or with rotis, with yogurt on the side.

We had chhole with Shalgam for dinner last night. I also got two lunch boxes and enough for one more weeknight dinner out of this.
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Moogachi Dal (Moong dal)

2 cups moog dal (split and husked)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
A pinch asafetida
2-3 green chiles, sliced along their length
5-6 curry leaves, washed and dried on a towel
1/3 cup chopped white or yellow onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/8 cup chopped cilantro, loosely packed

Pick over and clean moog dal of any debris. Rinse several times in a colander. If you have time, soak for a couple of hours in several cups of water.
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Heat oil in pan of pressure cooker. When it shimmers, add mustard seeds. When they pop, add asafetida. Add green chiles and curry leaves. Make sure these last two ingredients are not wet as that minimizes the splatter and post-cooking clean-up. If necessary, tip the pan to one side so that everything gets a nice sizzle in the oil. Cover the pan if you’re afraid of getting it into your eyes. Just don’t add all the ingredients at the same time. I can’t emphasize this enough.
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Add the onions and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
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Add minced garlic and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add turmeric powder and mix.

Add rinsed dal. If your dal was soaked, drain the water before adding the dal.

Add 6-7 cups of water, making sure you are below the 2/3rd capacity of the pressure cooker.

Add salt and mix.

Cook under pressure until the dal is fully cooked to the “fall-apart” stage. You do not want it al-dente. My moog dal never cooks quickly. I let it go to 4 pressure releases or “whistles,” about 25-30 minutes.
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Add lemon juice and cilantro and mix. Adjust seasoning.

I add about 2-3 cups of water to thin it out as we like our dals to be a little runny, instead of super thick. Also, the dal thickens on standing so it’s better to thin it out at the outset.

Serve hot over steamed rice, with yogurt and lemon pickle on the side.

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Moogachi dal is not one of my favorite dals. I prefer whole moog to split husked dal but it makes for a good change every now and then.

Our dals are usually very simple. We don’t add goda or garam masala to our dals. Nor onions or garlic, unless it is a patal bhaji of sorts, with greens in it. Ginger, yes. The souring agent of choice is usually tamarind or kokum. This dal is a departure from the traditional dal made by my family. And, we like it.

We got two dinners and 3 lunch boxes out of this 2 cup dal. Lunch boxes are filled and tucked away into the freezer right after dinner, for easy retrieval in the mornings and supplemented with yogurt, fruit, bars, crackers or cookies.

Cheater’s Pav Bhaji

2-3 tbsp oil
1 medium yellow onion
1 pint jar or 1 small can of tomatoes
1 tbsp grated garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
4-5 cups of frozen mixed veggies, chopped cauliflower and peppers
5-6 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pint water or more as needed
1 tbsp pav bhaji masala
1 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp salt
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp butter for the bhaji
3-4 tortas, quartered
Butter for the cast-iron griddle
1/4 red onion or green onions, chopped fine, for garnish
1/3 cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Pour 2-3 tablespoons of any neutral cooking oil into the pan of your pressure cooker (at least 5liters in size). I prefer avocado oil.

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Dice a medium white or yellow onion, just short of two cups. When half the onion is diced, turn on the heat under the pressure cooker pan and set it to medium-high. Once the onion is diced, add it to the pan and sauté for a minute or so.

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Grab a pint jar of tomatoes you canned late summer or if you didn’t, a BPA-fee can of tomatoes and empty it into the pressure cooker.

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Break down the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, if they are not diced. Stir.

Peel and grate 4-5 medium cloves of garlic, or as many required to make about 1 tbsp of grated garlic.

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Peel and grate a knob of ginger, to yield at least as much as the garlic. A little more is just fine.

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Add ginger and garlic to the pan.

Next up are the veggies. I like to use frozen mixed veggies, cauliflower and peppers. But I make do with whatever I have. Add a total of 4-5 cups of veggies. Last night, I only had frozen mixed veggies so I went with that. Ensure that the total food level is not more than 2/3rds of the pressure pan, for safety reasons.

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Wash, peel, dice 5-6 medium red potatoes and add to the pan. Also use the tomato jar to add a pint of water to the pan.
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Pull out your masalas. I like Badshah’s pav bhaji masala. Dabeli masala also works in a pinch. I like to increase the tang by adding chaat masala. Add 1 tbsp of pav bhaji masala, 1 tsp of chaat masala and 1 tsp of salt. Always check if your spice blends have salt in them. Add those first, taste some of the liquid and only then estimate the amount of salt you need. It is better to err on the lower side.

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Shut the pressure cooker, put the weight on and cook on medium high until one pressure release, about 7-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pressure subside on its own.

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While this is cooking and cooling, clear up as much as you can and start prepping the garnishes. You will need some onion (any will do, just not sweet Vidalia), some cilantro, some green chile (I skipped it). You will also need some butter and some lemon juice.
I had a quarter red onion in my fridge so I used that up. I salvaged some cilantro from my crisper. I also had a sliced lemon in my fridge that I pulled out.
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Put your cast-iron griddle on the stove and heat it on medium.

Once the pressure cooker can be opened safely, blend the contents with a hand blender until smooth. Add 1 tbsp of butter and squeeze in juice of at least half a lemon. Mix and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.

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I like to use tortas as pav. There have been times when I have made my own laadi-pav but a rushed weeknight does not have enough time for that. Quarter the tortas so that they can be lightly toasted in butter on the griddle.
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Serve the pav bhaji either on top of toasted torta or alongside the torta. Garnish with onions and cilantro.
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This is not how pav bhaji is made on the streets of Bombay. This is a cheat’s method of getting similar flavors in about half hour of cooking and prepping. Use this as a guideline rather than gospel. If you need it spicier, add some red chile powder or add green chiles with the ginger-garlic. Add more butter if you want to make it richer.

This makes a lot of bhaji. We got one dinner out of it and four lunch boxes, two in the refrigerator and two in the freezer. Potatoes don’t thaw very well once frozen but when mashed, their texture doesn’t become unappetizing once thawed. Pav bhaji, therefore, is a great candidate for my frozen lunch boxes.