Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Homemade Garam Masala

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Nutrimill and I have been compensated with a free product. All opinions are 100% my own.

A quintessential spice mix of Indian cuisine; Garam Masala is amazing when made at home. Easy to follow recipe, this masala goes a long way to flavor your curries! 

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. 

Home-made spice mixes are super amazing. They are fresh, easy to make, made from ingredients you have added and save a LOT of money compared to store bought mixes. 

Garam Masala is an Indian spice that is used in several recipes from curries to parathas and from dals to certain flat breads. It can be bought at any Indian store and the ingredients vary slightly based on the brand. However, some ingredients are ESSENTIAL and found in every mix.

I tried making this at home some time back. I tried adding an ingredient, change the proportion of the other and removing a couple of ingredients. Finally, I arrived at a proportion I would call AMAZING! 

Video Recipe

What makes a GREAT masala?

The basic ingredients for Garam Masala includes cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, pepper, bay leaves and star anise. The spice from cloves and peppers is unmatched by any other ingredient. The star anise and fragrant coriander seeds add a lot of flavor to the mix. 

The optional ingredients that I have included in the recipe are dried ginger powder, nutmeg and cumin. These do add a lot of flavor to the mix but if you add cumin seeds/powder and fresh ginger to your curries, you can leave these out. Nutmeg is super flavorful and can be added if you like the taste.

The other ingredients some recipes include are stone flower (dagad phool) and mace (javithri). They can be added if you have them else can be skipped. I generally do not add these in my mix. 

How to make the masala using Nutrimill?

Once you have the ingredients ready, the next couple of steps are super easy and quick. All you need to do is dry roast the spices and powder to a fine consistency. 

To make a fine powder, a spice mill or coffee grinder works the best! I have this one from Nutrimill that I TOTALLY love. It takes only about 30 seconds to get me the perfect texture. 

This mill comes in a package with the Grain Mill that I have shared earlier. Together, these two complete my kitchen in terms of making flours, spice mixes and home ground coffee! 

Check this post to read more about home milled flours: Whole Wheat Bread using Freshly Milled Flour

If you need one package that does it all, consider this one: Nutrimill Harvest Everyday Package

How to use the Garam Masala?

A perfect flavoring mix for all things Indian; Garam Masala literally translates to Hot Spices. This hot seasoning is the Indian version of Chinese 5 spice or Taco seasoning. It finds applications in MANY recipes. 

The important thing to note is that that the blend is generally added at the end of the cooking process. Cooking it for too long can give it a bitter taste. Add a small pinch and remember the amount you make using the recipe below goes a LONG way! 

The masala can be stored in an airtight container for 6 months. Hope you enjoy this home-made blend and use it for all your Indian recipes! 


Cinnamon Sticks 3, 3 inches long
Cloves 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1 tbsp
Nutmeg Powder 1/2 tsp


In a pan add all the ingredients except nutmeg and ginger powder.

Place on medium heat and dry roast till fragrant. Ensure it does not burn. 

Cool the mixture for 10-15 minutes and then add ginger powder and nutmeg powder. Mix well.

Transfer everything to the Nutrimill Spice Grinder.

Grind for 10 seconds and check how coarse it is. Repeat till the desired coarseness is achieved (around 30 seconds).

Transfer to an airtight container and use in your favorite curries. The masala is great for 6 months; when stored in a dry and cool place. 


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Instant Pot Mexican Rice

30 minute recipe to make Restaurant style Mexican Rice in the Instant Pot. This one pot vegan meal is also a great side for tacos and burrito! 

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. 

Weeknight dinner calls for easy, quick one pot recipes! Mexican rice is a dish that meets all these criteria and is LOVED by most people. It is a favorite in out house, with various add-ins and sides. 

Before we go to the sides and add-ins; let's talk about the recipe. For the longest time I have made Mexican/Spanish rice in a pan. Though the recipe is PERFECT; this version made in the Instant Pot is quicker yet equally tasty. It has become one of our favorite weeknight recipe. 

If you are a fan of Mexican food, this recipe is definitely a keeper. Make a big batch and enjoy in burritos, bowls, tacos or just with a side of beans. It freezes really well and can be used for meal prep menu.

Why make Mexican Rice in the Instant Pot?

Most people who make Mexican rice at home would usually make the rice and then add the other ingredients to it. It does take some extra time to let the rice cool before we sauté in the remaining ingredients. 

Making the recipe in the Instant Pot is made all at once in one go. No extra pans to clean, no wait time to let the rice cool and it comes together in under 30 minutes! 

I made this recipe in the 6 quart Instant Pot but it works well in the 8 quart too. And yes, it will also fit the 3 quart without an issue. 

What do you serve the rice with?

This rice is PERFECT to make in a big batch. Make it and freeze it for a quick meal on busy days. This rice is great to add into any kind of Mexican dishes like burrito, taco, quesadilla or on tostadas. However, I like to enjoy it as is! 

Just the rice is my meal quite often than not! And it never feels dry given that we have added salsa and tomatoes to ensure the rice is moist. If you feel it is dry, you can stir in a couple of spoons of salsa and it will be great. 

If you are looking for more Mexican recipe inspirations that are great with the rice, check these out:

This Mexican Rice in Instant Pot! 

This recipe is super delish! Plus the recipe has these features too:
  • Under 30 minutes to come together
  • Tastes just like the rice from Mexican restaurants
  • Freezes well and can be made in a big batch
  • Easy to customize
  • Vegan and Gluten-free! 
Here I used just rice and a couple of add-ins like pepper and onion. However, adding a handful of fresh or frozen corn and beans works well. To do so, add the corn and beans along with the salsa

The recipe calls for tomatoes and salsa; both culprits for the dreaded 'BURN' message! So after adding these two, do not stir. If the salsa settles at the base, the burn sign is almost sure to come up. 

I have used Basmati Rice that was just washed and drained. If the rice is soaked, it requires far less time to cook. So adjust the timing if you plan to soak the rice. Toasting the rice in oil is a great way to enhance the flavor. Make sure you do not skip that! 

Now wait no more and make a batch soon! 


Long Rice like Basmati 1 cup, washed and drained
Onion 1/2 medium, diced
Green Pepper 1/2 medium, diced
Garlic 2-3 pods, minced
Tomato 1 medium, diced
Jalapeño 4-5 slices, minced
Salsa 1/4 cup (homemade or store bought)
Water/ Vegetable Stock 2 cups
Salt 1 tsp
Lime Juice 1 tsp
Olive Oil 2 tbsp
Cilantro to top


Set the Instant Pot mode to 'Saute' and wait till the display reads 'Hot'. Add Olive Oil and garlic. Once the raw flavor vanishes; add onions and green peppers. Mix well and sauté for a couple of minutes. 

Next add the drained Basmati Rice and mix. Toast the rice for 3-4 minutes. Then, add  jalapeño, Taco Seasoning, Cumin Powder  and salt. Mix and add water/ Vegetable Stock. Stir well.

Add the tomatoes and salsa. DO NOT stir. 

Close the lid and set valve to sealing. Press 'Cancel' and press 'Pressure Cook'/'Manual'. Set timer to 5 minutes and let the rice cook. 

Once the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 3 minutes. Then remove the remaining pressure and open the lid. 

Add cilantro and lime juice and let the rice cool for 3-4 minutes. Fluff the rice using a fork and serve with beans and corn. 


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Instant Pot Vegan Corn Chowder

This post is sponsored by Silk. All opinions are mine alone. 

Full of vegetables, this Corn Chowder is Vegan, Gluten free and easy to make in the Instant Pot. Perfect for cold evenings, this one needs only a handful of pantry ingredients!

February is here and we are still freezing here. All we crave is a bowl of warm soup or chowder. I have been making tons of soups lately and we are loving them all. So often we want a Vegan soup that is free from cream and cheese. That is when this Corn Chowder comes handy. 

No heavy ingredients, full of vegetables and easy to make; this Corn Chowder is a family favorite! With a cook time of just 6 minutes in the Instant Pot; this chowder is great the day it is made and it freezes well too. I love to make a BIG batch of the chowder and enjoy it on cold evenings over the week! 

Corn Soup v/s Corn Chowder

A super popular soup at many restaurants is sweet corn soup. Made from vegetable stock, corn, vegetables and thickened with corn starch; this soup is yummy. 

Corn Chowder; made from ingredients similar to the soup, has milk or cream added to it. I wanted to make a lighter version of the chowder, so I ditched the cream. As far as the milk goes; it is an observation that dairy based milk splits when added to soups. Thus, non dairy Silk Oat Yeah Original Oatmilk is a great way to make it.

Video Recipe

Why make Corn Chowder?

A light soup that makes great dinner is something we LOVE. And this soup fits all our criteria of being delish. Wondering what? Read on:
  • The soup is Vegan and gluten-free
  • It needs just a handful of pantry essentials
  • The chowder is kid-friendly
  • It is a great recipe for Instant pot lovers! 
  • It is light and not overpowered with spices
  • This soup freezes well too! 

How to make Corn Chowder

A chowder recipe often has meat and sea food. However, this one is Vegan and has some added vegetables for crunch and flavor. I used carrots, french beans, cabbage and green peas. Celery, broccoli, cauliflower and baby corn are great add-ins too. 

For dinner that needs to be light and yummy, I make this corn chowder. To ensure it is Vegan, I use Olive Oil instead of butter. It makes the chowder light without compromising on the taste.

I had a can of sweet corn in my pantry and used that up. However, the soup can be made using frozen or fresh corn too. All it needs is one extra step. Use an immersion blender once the ingredients are cooked. It helps make the soup thick and delicious. 

I used a cup of Silk Oat Yeah Oatmilk in the recipe and the result was perfect. The milk helps thicken the chowder with the corn starch. I bought my Silk Oat Yeah Oatmilk from Walmart and now I enjoy it in my coffee, cereal, savory dishes and desserts. They have Vanilla and Chocolate flavors too; which are definitely coming home in my next Walmart run! 


Onion 1/2 medium, diced
Garlic 1-2 cloves, minced
Carrot 1/2 medium, diced
French Beans 2-3, chopped
Corn 1/4 cup (Fresh/Frozen)
Green Peas 1/4 cup (Fresh/ Frozen)
Cabbage 1/2 cup, chopped
Scallions 3-4 stalks, minced
Corn 2 cups canned
Cilantro to top
Silk Oat Yeah Original Milk 1 cup
Salt 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper powder 1/4 tsp
Chili Flakes 1/4 tsp
Corn Starch 1 tsp
Olive Oil 1 tbsp


Set the Instant Pot to 'Sauté'. Once the display reads hot, add Olive Oil. Add garlic and onion. Mix well and sauté for a minute. 

Add in carrots, fresh or frozen corn, peas and french beans. Mix well and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Next add cabbage and canned corn. Pour in 2 cups water. Mix well.

Season with salt, chili flakes and black pepper powder. Stir everything. 

Press 'Cancel' on the Instant Pot and then press 'Pressure Cook'. Set time to 6 minutes and pressure level to high. Set vent to sealing. 

Close the lid of the Instant Pot and let the chowder cook. Once the timer beeps, move the vent to venting. Once the silver pin drops; open the Instant Pot.

Set the mode to 'Sauté'. In a cup add Silk Oat Yeah Original Milk and corn starch. Mix well and add it to the soup. Mix well and let the soup boil for a couple of minutes. 

Add cilantro and scallions, mix and serve in bowls. Enjoy with sandwich or pasta. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

25 Delicious Valentines Day Recipes

25 recipes that are PERFECT for Valentines/ Galentines! From breakfast and dinner to drinks and breads; we have you covered! 

Valentines Day is ALMOST here and for those who have not planned something for the special day; here are TWENTY FIVE recipes to pick from. Valentines is all about delicious food, often in red pink and ombre colors! And they are all covered in this round up. Plus, these recipes are great for Galentines too! 

Wondering what is covered in this round-up? Here is what all I have below:
  • Breakfast recipes
  • Cakes and Cupcakes
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Breads
  • Desserts

These recipes are healthy, indulgent, easy to make or make ahead! So whatever you have preparation and ingredients for; you can pick a recipe to make. Hosting a party or having dinner for two; here are ideas for all kinds of crowds and demands! Need any more reason to dive in?

Click on the name of the recipe to be redirected to each detailed recipe! 

Happy Galentines and Valentines day folks! 

Chocolate Dipped Madeleines

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Instant Pot Undhiyu

A blend of winter special vegetables, dumplings and Indian spices; this Gujarati Undhiyu is a colorful and tasty side for roti or puri. This Instant pot version is easy to make without compromising on the taste! 

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. 

Undhiyu; the star of winter meals is a mix of vegetables, spices and fried dumplings. This Gujarati delicacy is generally made in Winter because the ingredients used are generally available at that time. It is served at weddings, enjoyed for weekend meals and sold at several Indian stores! 

For those not familiar with the dish; Undhiyu is an Indian curry served with puri, roti or steamed rice. The highlight if the dish is the green paste that is made using cilantro, green chilies, garlic and ginger. Combined with coconut, this forms the base of the curry.

The add-ins includes yams, potatoes, greens like pigeon peas, eggplants, wheat flour dumplings and fenugreek leaves. These can be customized based on liking and availability!  

Video Recipe

Love Instant Pot recipes? Head here to see all the wonderful recipes from bloggers and food lovers!

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Why make Undhiyu in the Instant Pot?

The most tedious part of making Undhiyu is the amount of preparation it requires to get everything together. It takes DAYS to prepare everything; shell fresh beans, clean fenugreek leaves etc. 

Making the Undhiyu in a pan takes a long time and there is always a fear of it burning or settling to the bottom of the pan. Pressure cooker is a great option and I used that before I started using the Instant Pot.

Now that I use the  Instant Pot, it is super easy. A timed version of the dish, the low pressure is perfect to cook the potatoes and yams without making the greens super soggy. The principle that  Instant Pot uses far lesser water than pressure cooker makes Undhiyu perfect in consistency. 

Now that I have started using the Instant Pot, I LOVE this method. I make it more often as the recipe will turn out great each time. I already tried it several times; before posting it here! 

The ingredients used in the recipe

The first part of the recipe included the making the muthiya. Dumplings made from fenugreek and flour; these are yummy as is and in the curry! Personally, this is my favorite part of the recipe. These can be deep fried, baked or shallow fried. 

The green sauce used in the recipe has a handful of ingredients. While cilantro, green chilies, garlic and ginger are important; the other ingredients can be modified. In place of fresh turmeric, 1/4 tsp of powdered turmeric can be used or skipped completely too. The coconut used in the recipe can be fresh or frozen. 

For the vegetables; use the ones you like and skip the rest. The main ingredients include greens, yams, potatoes and eggplants. The pigeon peas used can be fresh or frozen. Surati Papdi is available in the frozen aisles and can be used. If you get fresh ones; use that. Addition of desi papdi is a great idea too. I could not find it this time so skipped. 

Baby potatoes are great in the recipe. They can be used with or without peeling. If you cannot find them use the big ones, peeled and cut into cubes. Sweet potato is great for a mild sweet taste. Use the regular white ones or the purple ones. The same goes for yams. Finally, the eggplants. They can either be the small ones with slits made on them or big ones diced into pieces. 

Making a BIG batch of Undhiyu

The ingredients below might be a LOT for a meal. Given that it needs so many ingredients; it is a great idea to make a BIG batch of Undhiyu. It can be refrigerated for 2-3 days but frozen for much longer. The flavor does not change much over time as it has enough oil. 

I like to enjoy it for two meals and freeze the rest. Then, it is a quick weekend meal to just make roti or puri and serve with the Undhiyu. Make some steamed rice and it completes the meal! 


For the Methi Muthiya (Dumplings)

Fenugreek Leaves/Methi 1 cup, chopped
Ginger Chilli Paste 1/4 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1/4 tsp


Baby Potatoes 10-12
Small Eggplants 4-5
Sweet Potato 1 medium
Yams 2 (I used white and purple)
Surati Papdi 1 cup
Methi/ Fenugreek Leaves 1/2 cup

Other Ingredients

Shredded Coconut 1 cup
Cilantro 1 bunch
Ginger 1 tbsp, shredded
Garlic 8-10 cloves
Fresh Turmeric 1 inch piece
Green Chilies 2-3
Asafetida a pinch
Salt 2 tsp
Sugar 2 tsp
Vegetable Oil 1/4 cup


To make Methi Muthiya

Mix all the ingredients mentioned above in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup water and knead into a firm dough. Add more water if required. Make either round or log shaped logs and keep aside. These can either be deep fried and added to the undhiyu, or shallow fried to avoid excess oil.

To prepare the Vegetables

Add fresh turmeric, green chilies, ginger, garlic cloves, cilantro, a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp carom seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp sugar to a blender pot. Add as little water as possible and make a thick green paste. Add half the shredded coconut and set aside.

Next, remove the skin from potatoes and yams. Make 2 inch pieces cubes of yams and sweet potatoes. Make + slits in the potatoes and eggplants. Set aside. 

To cook the Undhiyu

In the base of the  Instant Pot add oil. Set the mode to 'Sauté' and Normal. Add  cumin seeds, carom seeds, sesame seeds and a pinch of asafetida in the oil. 

Once the seeds pop, add half of the green masala and let it sizzle for a minute or two. Then add Tuvar Lilva and Surati Papdi to the oil. Sauté for a couple of minutes. 

Next layer the potatoes, yams and sweet potato. Put the remaining green masala on the top and top with fenugreek leaves and remaining shredded coconut. Finally add the eggplants and muthiya. 

Add 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar and 1 cup water. Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Set mode to 'Pressure Cook' pressure level to 'low' and time to 4 minutes. Set valve to sealing and let the cycle complete.

Once the Instant Pot beeps, do a quick release and open the lid. Mix the undhiyu well, top with shredded coconut and cilantro. Serve with puri or phulka rotis. Serve with rice to complete the meal!