Saturday, May 19, 2018

Instant Pot Vegan Tofu Lettuce Wraps

A Vegan friendly version of Lettuce Wraps; this Instant Pot recipe is SUPER yum, easy and great for two or a crowd! 

Do you LOVE lettuce wraps? Looking for an easy way to make them at home? Plus a vegetarian version that is super yummy? Bring out you Instant Pot and make a batch right away! 

I have been a fan of lettuce wraps for a while. Having tried it at various restaurants I have a few things I like about them as a dish: A super yummy saucy appetizer that everyone on the table likes, the truckload of lettuce I consume not realizing how 'boring' I thought salad was, the simplest appetizer to pull of for a party that can be made in advance and the guests do a DIY serving them!

Given all these advantages I like to make a BIG lot of the tofu and mushroom filling and use it several times in the week. The biggest problem with that happened to be how uneven the tofu cooks in regular woks. I thought my instant pot would cook it all evenly and YES, that actually happened! I made the dish with diced tofu instead of crumbled and the result was fabulous! I have been using my IP to do this ever since, bye bye wok! 

My love story with the dish has been rather strange. The FIRST time we ordered this at a restaurant I was thinking they would serve it like Vietnamese Spring Rolls. But when the platter came to the table it was JUST a bowl full of tofu, a stack of lettuce leaves and dipping sauce! I was so surprised that it was a DIY that I was not sure I like it. 

However, it tasted SO good that now this dish makes an appearance in my parties, for weeknight dinner and restaurant visits! And with me wanting to perfect the recipe using the IP, I made it SO MANY TIMES! But who's complaining? We ate more lettuce with this recipe than ever before!  


Coming to the recipe, I have made a few changes from the regular wrap recipes. First, this has diced tofu and not crumbled. Next I pressure cooked the entire batch to get that PERFECT melt in the mouth tofu. I added mushrooms for a meaty texture and they work really well. Not a fan? Just skip them and make the recipe. If using, I recommend using the brown ones. They are super good, I promise! 

The sauce I used is from peanut butter. It is not one of the jarred ones. It is purely crushed peanuts in a food processor till they are almost perfectly smooth. I use that in my recipes as both of us are not very big fans of the bottled ones. 

You can make the same recipe using your favorite meat too. I want to try it using paneer or seitan once! If you are a tofu fan like me, here are some more recipes that you will love: 

Do not have an Instant Pot?

While I must say this is my favorite gadget, if you are not on the bandwagon yet, do not worry. Make the same recipe in a wok and cook covered for 10-12 minutes on medium flame. If you like your tofu pieces browned up, increase the flame a little bit. 

I have made the same recipe in the wok several times before I got the Instant Pot and it does work pretty well! 

Have an Instant Pot?

If you are looking for more IP recipes, here are a few from my blog. I hope you enjoy them as much as I like posting about them! 

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For the Wraps

Firm Tofu 1 block (14 oz)
Brown Mushrooms 7-8, diced
Peanut butter 2 tbsp
Garlic 2 cloves, minced
Ginger 1 piece grated
Spring Onion whites 1/4 cup, chopped
Tamari (Soy Sauce for non vegan) 1 tbsp
Rice Vinegar 1 tsp
Chilli sauce/ Sriracha 1/2 tsp
Vegetable/Sesame Oil 1 tsp
Chilli oil 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1/4 tsp
Lettuce leaves a bunch
Spring Onion Greens and cilantro to top 
Sesame seeds as required

For the dipping sauce

Peanut Butter 2 tbsp
Vinegar 1/4 tsp
Chilli sauce 1/2 tsp
Tamari (Soy Sauce for non vegan) 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1/4 tsp


Press the firm tofu between paper towels and remove all the water. Dice into small cubes. Set aside. 

In a small bowl mix together the ingredients under the wrap; soy sauce, chilli sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, salt and sugar. 

In the base of the Instant Pot add vegetable oil and chilli oil. Set the mode to Saute and Normal. Add garlic and ginger, mix well. Saute for a couple of minutes till the garlic is flavorful.

Add the spring onion whites and mushrooms. Saute for a minute. Add the diced tofu and mix well. 

Pour in the mixed sauce and 1/2 cup water. Mix the sauce well. 

Press cancel on the Instant Pot. Set mode to pressure cook or manual. Set pressure level to low and time to 3 minutes. Set the vent to sealing and let the tofu cook. 

While the mixture cooks, make the dipping sauce. To do so mix together the ingredients of the dipping sauce in a bowl. Dilute with 3-4 tbsp of water. Set aside. If you like it spicy, drizzle some chilli oil in it.

Once the Instant Pot timer is done, do a quick release. Open the pot and add cilantro, spring onion greens and sesame seeds. Mix well.

To serve, separate the leaves from your favorite type of lettuce and keep them in ice cold water for 10-15 minutes. Add a couple of spoons of the tofu mixture and drizzle some sauce. Fold and enjoy the wrap! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Crispy Tea Time Milk Rusk

Milk rusk; an amazing tea time snack can now be made at home using this recipe. Dunk one in Masala Chai and you WILL finish a dozen I promise! 

Have you tried Milk rusk yet? These toasts have an amazing vanilla flavor; are soft due to the milk and have the great fragrance and taste from the cardamom seeds. If you have not tasted these yet; I bet you are missing out something super delicious! 

Crisp toasts that have a hint of sweetness are PERFECT with Chai or even otherwise. These toasts are sold at local bakeries and in stores as a packet. However, making them at home is the BEST! 

For a very long time I missed the toasts from the bakery in US. Though stores carry the packaged version, I would love a plate full of the bakery ones. So I ended up making a BIG lot myself. Though I must say I overdid it by making about 6 dozens of toasts in one go; but I do not regret it any more. 

Now each time I am making these, I make them in a 9 inch pan and end up with 6 dozens! And I store them in an airtight container for up to a week. The airtight bit is REALLY important else they will become soggy and will need to be rebaked.

If you search for rusk recipes you will be able to find a TON of recipes online; each one made with a slightly different method. Some bake the bread with baking sods, some with yeast and some add milk powder. 

From all the recipes I have tried and tasted; I like the one with fresh milk and yeast the best. They taste just like the ones from the bakery and easily available ingredients and are super easy to make. If you make milk bread or sandwich bread at home; this is just ONE extra step to make! 

If you are a Chai addict like me; here is a great Masala Chai recipe for you. Plus, here are some tea time snacks that are on my list ALL the time:

Coming to the recipe; this rusk recipe needs just 9 ingredients and can be made really easily. I make a big batch and enjoy them over the week. These toasts make a great tea party side and taste awesome with tea. Once you make them; I am sure you will make them again and again. So wait no further and head straight to the recipe! 


I made the bread in a square pan that made them about 1.5 inches tall and 4.5 inches length. However, if you have sandwich bread pan, use that to make the bread for the rusk. Just the shape might be slightly different but the taste will still be the same. 

If you like tutti-frutti; add some of those in the dough. They make the bread slightly sweet and colorful. When baked again, the toasts studded with tutti-frutti are super awesome! Just make sure you do not bite into a hot one; the tutti-frutti might burn you!

If you would like to make the rusk with wheat flour; replace all purpose flour with wheat flour and essential wheat gluten. They will help make a soft bread that can be used to make perfect rusks. 


All Purpose Flour 3 cups
Milk 1/2 cup
Water 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup
RapidRise Yeast 1 sachet (2 1/4 tsp) 
Cardamom Seeds 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 3 tsp
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Unsalted Butter 3 tbsp (Room Temperature)

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In a bowl add milk and 1/4 cup water. To that add  1 tsp sugar and salt. Mix and heat to warm. When the water milk mixture is warm, add the yeast, mix and rest covered in a warm place. The yeast will bloom in 10 minutes or so.

In a mixing bowl or the base of the stand mixer add the flour, remaining su
gar and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add the unsalted butter, cardamom seeds and bloomed yeast. Mix and make a dough adding warm water as required. Knead it to a smooth dough and keep working on it till soft. Once done, coat with oil or butter and rest covered for an hour in a warm place. 

Meanwhile, line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or spray non stick spray. Set aside. After an hour or once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead again for 5-7 minutes. Roll the dough out to a square of 9 inches. Place the dough in the bread pan and cover it. Rest for an hour. 

When the hour is almost up, preheat oven to 400 F/ 210 C. Once the loaf rises till the top of the pan, place it in the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes, till the top is nice and golden. Once it is, remove and cool for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Slice the bread into equal sized slices. I divided the bread into half to get two loaves of 4 1/2 inches length. Then I sliced the loaves into 1/4 inch slices.

Place the slices on a baking tray and bake them in an oven preheated to 400 F/ 210 C. Make sure you turn them over every 7-10 minutes to ensure even baking and prevent burning. 

Remove once the toasts are golden brown and store in an airtight container. Enjoy with some HOT Masala Chai

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Starbucks Banana Nut Bread

A warm slice of bread full of banana, walnuts and pecans; straight from Starbucks to your table. Are you ready to bake this one for breakfast or quick snack?

Who does not like the Banana and Nut bread at Starbucks? The thick slice of warm bread that is full of banana, walnuts and spices? If this is on your list of favorites, this recipe has you covered! 

Video Recipe

I tried a couple of banana bread recipes in the past, but THIS one is just like the one from Starbucks! With the aroma of spices, crunch from the nuts and moisture from bananas, this recipe is MY favorite. 

And so I HAD to share it here! This recipe is addictive, yet super easy to make I promise. 

With exactly TWELVE ingredients, 10 minutes to put together; this recipe has just one challenge; waiting for an hour for the bread to bake slowly to get all the flavors together! 

This bread is now my favorite and I make so often. This bread is the reason I keep all the bananas out to ripen. Such a treat to enjoy a slice of this bake slathered  with butter and a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast. 

This recipe is good for one loaf. But if you take my word, you need to double the recipe and make two loaves at a time. They disappear in no time if your family likes bananas. 

Honestly, I believe bananas were made with the intent if them going in a rich loaf! This bread is one the most amazing nut and fruit combination and should be made more than once a month. 

Breakfast can be sorted for days with these two loaves. Plus, with summer just around the corner, this bread makes a great picnic treat. Take along the loaf and some butter; it makes a mess free treat for kids and adults alike. 

I sometimes add some chocolate chips to make it kids favorites; but this version with just nuts is a winner too. 

So look no further and make sure you make a batch right away! If you have to wait for the bananas to ripen, do that NOW! Because the bread does require the bananas to be perfectly ripe and soft.

What you need to make this bread?

This recipe needs only a few pantry essentials. Flour, sugar, baking soda, a tad bit of salt and some nuts. That is all you need from your pantry.

Three-four SUPER ripe bananas are used here. The sweeter the bananas, the lesser the sugar required! So wait an extra day if you need but use ripe bananas. 

Eggs, milk and vanilla extract play their roles in this recipe. I would not recommend skipping any of them here! 

For the nuts, I used pecans and walnuts. You can choose the ones you like and use them. All nuts are great in the bread. 

You can also add chocolate chips  to the bread if you like them. They do make the bread a tad bit sweeter so adjust the sugar accordingly. 

Can this bread be made eggless?

This version of the bread contains eggs. However, to replace the egg just whisk together 1 tbsp flax seed powder with 3 tbsp water. Let it stand for a while and add it to the batter. This works great in all bakes. 

Love bananas? Try one of these recipes:

Making breakfast muffins with this recipe

I made the bread in a rectangular pan. However, making single serve bread bites in a muffin pan is a great idea too. 

The result is single serve breads that make a great way to serve it for parties. Or make the same bread in a round pan. The shape does not really matter! 

Pin for Later


Sugar 1 cup
Mashed Banana 3-4 medium
Walnuts 1/2 cup
Pecans 1/2 cup
Oil 1/2 cup ( I used Sunflower oil here)
Milk 2 tbsp
Egg 1 medium, room temperature
Baking Soda 1 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp


Grease a 9 inch bread pan with non stick spray or parchment paper. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 325 F/ 170 C. Mash the bananas and add vanilla extract to them. Mix well.

In the base of a stand mixer or a bowl add sugar, vegetable oil and egg. Beat till combined. 

In another bowl mix together the dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, mix well and then add in milk and mashed banana mixture. 

Beat once again till combined; fold in half the walnuts and the pecans. 

Transfer the batter to the greased pan and top with remaining pecans and walnuts.

Bake the bread for 60-70 minutes; till a skewer comes out clean from the center. 

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.