Thursday, July 11, 2019

Instant Pot Pinto Beans - No Soak Method

Making Pinto Beans in the pressure cooker is the quickest, easiest and the BEST way to make them. The taste and flavor of these beans is just like the canned ones, I promise! 

Mexican food is one of our favorite dinners! One of the most important ingredient in these meals is Pinto beans. Whether these are cooked and enjoyed as is or processed further to make refried beans; these are found in almost ALL Vegetarian Mexican meals. 

As we need them so often in various forms, it is a great idea to make them at once and freeze any leftover. Making them in the Instant Pot is my favorite way to make a batch that lasts atleast two meals. Plus, this method needs no pre-soaking of the beans and has just a handful of ingredients.

Video Recipe

Why make Pinto Beans in the Instant Pot?

One pot recipes are always winners. This recipe is just like that. I make the beans and enjoy them as-is with a side of brown rice. If you need them as filling for quesadilla or tacos, just use the immersion blender to blend it to a grainy texture. It makes a perfect filling for all Mexican dishes.

I used to make the beans using a pressure cooker for the longest time. This method needs the beans to be soaked overnight. More often than not I forget to soak the beans and then I have to change the plans to make the beans. 

The Instant Pot needs no soaking and about 40 minutes of cooking time. So I start with the beans and then while they cook, I get everything else ready for the meal. That way I can have it all sorted in about an hour. This makes it my favorite method to make the beans. 

How to make beans in the Instant Pot?

As I mentioned above, the method to make beans in the Instant Pot is as easy as 1-2-3. Add all the ingredients to the pot, add water/ stock and cook. To add some flavor I have also added onion, garlic, taco seasoning and jalapeños; but all that is completely optional. They impart a brilliant flavor to the beans and I strongly recommend adding them. 

This method is for beans that have not been soaked. Some people do prefer to soak the beans overnight and then use them. I do the same if I have enough time at hand. So the cooking time will depend how soft you like the beans and whether or not you have soaked them. 

The timing I use for these beans as well as black beans is here: 
  • Very soft beans: 40-42 minutes
  • Soft beans: 35-36 minutes
  • Firm beans: 28-30 minutes
  • Soaked overnight: 18 minutes

Using and storing the Beans

Once you have the beans made, it is super quick to whip up any dish. The way I enjoy them is to serve them with a side of rice or quinoa and some salad for a complete meal. 

The leftover I either freeze as-is or in the refried beans form. To make that I drain the beans (reserve the liquid), process using an immersion blender or regular blender adding back liquid as required and transferring the purée to a silicone tray. I freeze the tray and store the cubes in a freezer bag. This way it is easier to thaw just a couple of cubes for a meal.

There are plenty of recipes that need beans. Here are some of my favorites: 


The recipe I have here is for Pinto beans. However, the same can be used for black beans or kidney beans too. The beans are equally firm and so the time required for them is same. 

I have added onion, garlic and jalapeño that I like to keep in the beans. If you would just like to flavor the beans, leave them as big pieces that you can fish out after the beans are cooked. Adding seasoning to the beans after they cook is an option too, but adding salt before works well. 

Love a different kind of seasoning for the beans? Skip the taco seasoning and add that. I sometimes like to add adobe sauce or smoked paprika for flavor. The beans made using that are great for grilling recipes like grilled tacos etc. Some people actually like to add some liquid smoke. I have not tried that but I hear it is  great option. 


Dry Pinto Beans 1 1/2 cups
Onion 1/2 medium, diced
Garlic 1-2 cloves, minced
Jalapeño 1 tsp, minced
Olive Oil 2 tsp
Taco Seasoning 1 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 1/2 tsp
Water 6 cups
Cilantro and sliced jalapeños to top


Set the mode of the Instant Pot to 'Sauté'. Once the display reads 'Hot' add Olive Oil. 

Add garlic and onion and mix. Let them cook for a couple of minutes. Add the dry pinto beans and water. Stir.

Next, add the jalapeños, cumin powder, taco seasoning and salt. Stir everything well. 

Press 'Cancel' and then press 'Pressure Cook'. Set mode to normal and time to 35 minutes. 

Once the cooking is complete and the pressure releases naturally, open the Instant Pot. 

Drain the beans using a colander and transfer to a bowl. Serve topped with sliced jalapeños and cilantro. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Paatra | Steamed Colocasia Rolls

A delicious steamed Indian appetizer made from colocasia leaves rolled with a spicy mixture of gram flour and Indian spices, Paatra (Patrode) is a MUST-TRY recipe!   

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Indian savories are always fun to make and great to enjoy. They take me down memory lane as they formed an integral part of my childhood. These savories are made quite often in our house and we enjoy them as a part of a meal or as an evening snack on weekends. 

These savories are also called Farsan; a dish that features in Indian thalis. The typical thali consists of a curry, a dry vegetable, dal, sweet dish, farsan, roti and rice. It is quite a filling meal and calls for an afternoon nap for sure! 

Farsans are either steamed or fried. Steamed delights like dhokla, khaman dhokla or muthiya are very popular. The fried ones are delicious; ranging from bhajiya or pakoda to vadas of various types. Paatra is a popular farsan too. This dish is made from colocasia leaves, layering them with a spiced chickpea flour mixture, rolled and steamed. The steamed rolls are cut into slices and tempered just before serving. 

Paatra has been a favorite in our family for years! I loved it as a child and continue to LOVE them now! Though the method to make them is a little tedious, the results makes ALL the effort worthwhile. This is the recipe that my grand mother made, and my mom and me still make it using the same recipe. 

How to make Paatra

As I mentioned above, paatra is a dish made from colcassia leaves. A popular snack in Maharashtra and Gujarat, this is also called Patrode or Alu Vadi in Marathi. This dish requires some patience and a handful of ingredients. There are few things to follow to get the recipe right each time! 

To start with, paatra leaves are the basis of this recipe. Available easily at most Indian stores, these leaves generally come in a stack of 8 or 12. I try and get a couple of packets with similar size leaves so that I can make it at once and relish them! Make sure the leaves are not withered or have too many holes. 

Start with removing the veins of the leaves. The veins tend to have thorns and not removing them will waste the effort completely. be careful not to rip the leaves while doing so.

Make a mixture using gram flour and other ingredients mentioned below. Keep the mixture thick so that it can be layered on the leaves easily. Taste the mixture before starting as that is the only way to add salt or spice in the recipe. 

Make the rolls tight as they tend to open up if not rolled well. Place the rolls leaving some space between them so they do not stick to each other. Test for doneness by piercing a knife in the centre. It should come out clean. 

Let the rolls cool completely before slicing. Else the gram flour will crumble while making the slices. These rolls can be enjoyed as is or can be converted to something even more delicious! 

How to serve Paatra

If you are serving the steamed paatra as is, just sprinkle some coconut and cilantro on the steamed slices and serve. This is the easiest way to serve them.

Another way to serve paatra is by tempering the slices with green chili, sesame seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves in hot oil. The paatra can be added to the pan and made a little crispy before serving. 

If you are a fan of fried dishes, just fry the paatra slices and serve. This is THE most delicious way to enjoy them! Though full of calories, I like this version once in a while.  

A popular Gujarati recipe called Rasiya Paatra involves adding snake gourd and paatra in a sweet and spicy curry. A popular serving at many Gujarati weddings, this dish is a must-try if you like Indian food! 

If you are a fan of Indian recipes, check these out: 


For the Paatra
Paatra Leaves/ Colocasia leaves 8 medium
Ginger Chili Paste 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder  1/2 tsp
Jaggery 2 tbsp
Oil 2 tsp
Baking Soda a pinch
Salt 1 tsp

For the tempering
Oil 3-4 tbsp
Asafetida a pinch
Curry leaves 4-5
Green Chilies 1-2

Shredded coconut and cilantro to top


Wash and pat dry the leaves. Place them upside down and using a sharp knife thin out the thick spine and veins. Be careful not to rip the leaves. Set aside. 

In a bowl mix together Jaggery and Tamarind pulp till it dissolves properly. Add 1 tsp water if required. Once it all dissolves, add in the remaining ingredients under paatra. Mix well and make a thick paste.Add water if required.

Place a leaf vein side up. Apply 1 tbsp of the paste to completely cover the leaf. Place the next leaf on it and repeat. I used 4 leaves in one roll. If you want thinner rolls, use 2-3 leaves. 

Tightly roll the leaves to form a roll. Repeat for the remaining 4 leaves and make another roll. 

Add 1 cup water in a pan and heat it. Place a steamer basket an inch or two above the water level. Grease the steamer with some oil or non stick spray. 

Place the rolls on the steamer basket and cover. Steam for 20-25 minutes on medium heat. 

Turn down the flame, remove the rolls and slice them into 1 cm slices. 

In a pan heat the oil and add all the ingredients under tempering. Once the mustard seeds crackle, add the paatra pieces. Mix gently and let them coat with the tempering. 

Sprinkle cilantro and coconut and enjoy!