Monday, August 31, 2020

Instant Pot Tortellini in Cream Sauce

Instant Pot Tortellini in cream sauce; a 15 minute recipe for a delicious weeknight meal. All made in one pot and NEVER mushy or undercooked!



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. 

Making pasta in the instant pot is a game changer! Ever since I started doing so, I rarely use the stove to make my pastas.

Tortellini is one of my favorites to have for any meal. The tiny bundles of pasta filled with delicious cheese, mushroom, spinach or butternut squash. 

When they are cooked in a light sauce they taste perfect. The sauce mixes with the mini stuffed pastas and give a super satisfying taste. I sometimes prefer them over ravioli as they are easier to enjoy with a fork! 


Video Recipe


What is tortellini?


A stuffed pasta that is available in grocery stores, tortellini is a mini form of wonton or ravioli. 

The fillings might vary based on the kind of tortellini. They can be dried or fresh in the store. The dried ones do not need refrigeration while the fresh ones come refrigerated or frozen. 

A lot of stores carry their fresh pasta and the fillings can be different based on the store. I love the ones with cheese and spinach or the ones with butternut squash around Fall! 

This recipe uses the dried ones that are shelf stable. I have not tried the fresh or frozen ones here. However, most pastas and noodles follow a simple rule for time needed to cook. Just half the time written on the package to make it in the instant pot.


Why use the Instant Pot for this recipe?


Cooking pasta in the instant pot makes it SUPER simple. Just sauté, close the lid and cook. No need to boil the pasta separate, make the sauce etc. 

The recipes that need a couple of pans can be converted to one-pot with the instant pot. 

Ready in under 15 minutes; this pasta makes a delicious dinner for busy weeknights. 

Take the guess work out of cooking. This timed recipe does not rely on checking if that pasta is cooked using taste test. 



Points to note while using this recipe


As I mentioned above, this recipe is tested for shelf stable tortellini. If using any other brand pr type, adjust the time to half the time mentioned on the package.

I have used some onions, peppers, spinach and sun dried tomatoes in the recipe. Adding other vegetables can be done. Just sauté them with the onions and pepper and follow the same recipe.

The sauce here is light to ensure the flavor of the tortellini is not lost. It is not super saucy but does not feel dry. If you like it with a lot of sauce, add 1/4 cup extra cream. That will result is creamy pasta. 

Adding marinara or pesto sauce is an option here. I have made a light cream sauce but adding these sauces before pressure cooking works. 



Steps

Set the instant pot to 'Sauté' mode. Once the display reads Hot, add olive oil. 

Add in minced garlic, onions and peppers. Sauté for a couple of minutes. 

Next add Italian Seasoning, Red chili flakes and salt. Mix well. 

Deglaze using 2.5 cups of water or vegetable stock. 



Add in sun-dried tomatoes and stir.

Then add the dried tortellini. 

Push it down to make sure it is covered with water/ stock. 



Close the lid and press Cancel. Then set the mode to 'Pressure Cook' and adjust time to 5 minutes. Move the vent to sealing and complete the cooking cycle. 

As soon as the Instant pot beeps, move the vent to venting and release all the pressure. 

Open the lid and add in cheese and cream. 

Mix well, and add spinach. The heat will melt the cheese and wilt the spinach. 





Mix everything and serve immediately. I like mine with a side of Garlic Bread. 




Ingredients

Tortellini 12 oz ( I used Cheese and Spinach)

Spinach 1 cup, shredded
Garlic 2-3 cloves
Onion 1/2 medium
Pepper 1/2 medium
Water/ Stock 2 1/2 cups
Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese 1/2 cup
Salt 1 tsp
Olive Oil 1 tbsp


Method

Set the instant pot to 'Sauté' mode. Once the display reads Hot, add olive oil. Add in minced garlic, onions and peppers. Sauté for a couple of minutes. 

Next add Italian Seasoning, Red chili flakes and salt. Mix well. 

Deglaze using 2.5 cups of water or vegetable stock. Add in sun-dried tomatoes and stir.

Then add the dried tortellini and push it down to make sure it is covered with water/ stock. 

Close the lid and press Cancel. Then set the mode to 'Pressure Cook' and adjust time to 5 minutes. Move the vent to sealing and complete the cooking cycle. 

As soon as the Instant pot beeps, move the vent to venting and release all the pressure. 

Open the lid and add in cheese and cream. Mix well, and add spinach. The heat will melt the cheese and wilt the spinach. 

Mix everything and serve immediately. I like mine with a side of Garlic Bread. 




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Friday, August 21, 2020

Air Fried Modak with coconut jaggery filling

This version of Fried Modak; these sweetened coconut filled dumplings are made using a mold and then air fried. Delectable and easy to make! 



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. 

The festival of Ganesha is fast approaching. To celebrate this we make modaks. Cone shaped sweets that are often filled with various sweet fillings; modaks can be steamed, fried or neither.

I totally love making modaks and I have shared several recipes already. Today I am sharing a traditional recipe with a slight variation. 

Fried Modaks are always the STAR of the celebration. Flour covering filled with sweetened jaggery coconut filling; these are delicious and addictive. 

Every time I attend Ganesha Puja at our friends' place, I look forward to having some fried modaks. This year I made my own; just that I air fried them instead of frying.

What you need to make these coconut modaks


The out covering of these modaks is made with wheat flour. A mix of all purpose and wheat flour can be used too. Just adjust the water to make a stiff dough.

Meanwhile the filling is made with jaggery and coconut. The coconut used can be fresh, frozen or desiccated. I have used the desiccated one. 

Use grated jaggery in the filling. Powdered jaggery does not necessarily yield the best texture. I use traditional Kolhapuri Jaggery in the recipe.

Adding nuts cardamom and nutmeg to the filling gives it a lot of flavor and taste. However these can be modified based on preference. Adding poppy seeds, raisins or other nuts can be done too.  


Air Frying the Modaks


The traditional recipe is to fry these wheat flour dumplings. However, this version is air fried. But we totally LOVE the taste and how they turn out.

The same recipe can be used to fry the modaks too. They can be deep fried or shallow fried. 

The other alternate is to bake them. The resultant modaks will be equally delicious! 

Using a mold to shape the modak


Those who have tried fried modaks know how intricate the folds are. It is truly a task of skill and patience. I have made them that way before but today I am sharing an easy version using a modak mold. 

I used a medium size mold that would hold about 1.5 tsp of filling. Choose the size of the mold as you like. 


Tips to get the recipe right each time


Make sure the modak edges are sealed well. This version is air fried so the probability of filling leaking is minimum. But if these are fried, they need to be sealed completely.

Add the right amount of filling to avoid them from exploding in hot oil. Adding too little filling will make the modaks wilt while air frying.

At every stage make sure the dough and the prepared modaks are covered. They will dry out and crack if left open. 

I like to coat mine with oil or ghee before air frying. It gives the modaks an even color and texture. This is optional. 

The same recipe can be used to make modaks without a mold too. The dough needs to be pleated well and closed completely before air frying. Plus, the recipe works well for a fried version too. 

Love modaks? Try these recipes for Ganesha Chaturthi this year: 



Steps

In a bowl add the wheat flour. To that add salt and ghee and mix well. 

Then add water and form a stiff dough. I used 1/3 cup water but you can add more if required. Do not make the dough too soft. 

Knead the dough well and let it rest covered in shrink wrap for 20-30 minutes.



In a pan roast the coconut for a couple of minutes on low flame. Do not let it change color. 

Add the grated jaggery, nuts, cardamom and nutmeg powder. Mix well and turn down the flame. 

Let the mixture cool.



Divide the dough into equal parts. Leave out two parts and make round balls with the remaining.

Using a medium size mold, press in one dough ball. Spread the dough evenly to coat the mold.

Add 1 1/2 tsp filling and press it down. Take a small part of dough from the remaining dough and cover the filling.


Press and open the mold. Remove the modak. Set aside and cover.


Repeat with all the remaining dough. I was able to get 10 modaks.

Set the air fryer to 370 F and preheat. Spray some oil or apply ghee on the modaks. 

Arrange in a single layer and cook for 12 minutes. Move them around at about 6 minutes.

Remove from fryer and serve.




Ingredients

For the outer cover

Saffron a pinch
Cold Water 1/3 cup (more if required)
Salt 1/4 tsp
Oil or ghee to coat 1 tbsp

For the filling

Desiccated or fresh coconut 1/2 cup
Nutmeg powder a pinch
Cardamom Powder 1/4 tsp
AlmondsCashewsPistachios slivered 2 tsp 

Method

To make the covering


In a bowl add the wheat flour. To that add salt and ghee and mix well. 

Then add water and form a stiff dough. I used 1/3 cup water but you can add more if required. Do not make the dough too soft. 

Knead the dough well and let it rest covered in shrink wrap for 20-30 minutes.

To make the filling


In a pan roast the coconut for a couple of minutes on low flame. Do not let it change color. 

Add the grated jaggery, nuts, cardamom and nutmeg powder. Mix well and turn down the flame. 

Let the mixture cool. 

To make the modak


Divide the dough into equal parts. Leave out two parts and make round balls with the remaining.

Using a medium size mold, press in one dough ball. Spread the dough evenly to coat the mold.

Add 1 1/2 tsp filling and press it down. Take a small part of dough from the remaining dough and cover the filling. 

Press and open the mold. Remove the modak. Set aside and cover. 

Repeat with all the remaining dough. I was able to get 10 modaks.

To air fry the modak


Set the air fryer to 370 F and preheat. Spray some oil or apply ghee on the modaks. 

Arrange in a single layer and cook for 12 minutes. Move them around at about 6 minutes.

Remove from fryer and serve. These can be kept in an airtight container for 1-2 days or up to a week in the refrigerator.



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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Air Fryer Tandoori Fries

Air Fryer Tandoori Fries. Add some extra zing to regular fries with Indian style Tandoori Masala. Plus, it needs only a fraction of the oil compared to its fried counterpart!  

I was sent a Vortex 6 quart Air Fryer by the manufacturer. All opinions are unbiased and mine alone.



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. 

Fries are favorite side in our house. From sandwiches and burgers to pasta and other entrees, fries are amazing to complete the meal.

It is a great idea to fry them. However if you need a non-fried version, the air fryer or oven woks really well. My favorite way is definitely to air fry them! 

Why use an Air Fryer?


An air fryer is a simple kitchen appliance that helps 'fry' using a couple of tablespoons of oil or butter. It often helps cook without that too!

There are SO many recipes that turn out really well in the air fryer. Vegetables, fries, patty and several desserts are GREAT in the air fryer.  

Plus, this appliance offers lightning quick cook times and easy clean up. Plus, ZERO waste of used oil! 

With these advantages and more, there is no surprise that it has become SUPER popular in the kitchens! 


Using the Vortex 6 quart Air Fryer


I have used the Vortex Air Fryer in this recipe and so many more. It is truly an amazing device. 

It comes with 4 built in functions: air fry, roast, bake and reheat. Easy to use buttons to select the mode and a dial to adjust time and temperature; this air fryer is super easy to use.

The large basket can fit SO much food at once. This is one of my favorite features here! 

Plus, it beeps once it preheats and indicates 'Add Food' and 'Turn Food'. No more guessing if it is hot enough or time to turn the food. Such a brilliant device from the Instant Brands! Learn more here


Best Air Fryer Fries tips


Fries are one of the best things to make in the air fryer. They are delicious and crisp too. No need for pans or fryers full of oil! 

Using a few tips can help make the fries crunchy and delicious using the air fryer.

Use Russet Potatoes: Get the perfect taste by using Russet potatoes. They help get the classic french fry flavor. Leaving the skins on or off is okay. 

Cut the fries evenly: The key for the fries to cook evenly is to cut them evenly. The thin ones will burn while the fat ones cook! Use a sharp knife or mandoline to get them even. 

Soak and dry the fries before cooking: Soaking the fries helps remove starch and drying them thoroughly helps remove the moisture from the fries. This helps them crisp faster and MUCH better! 

Work in batches: Do not dump the fries all together in the fryer. Arrange them in a single layer to cook them evenly. 

Taste test for doneness: The time mentioned works for the Instant Brands Air Fryer for the thickness I had. It can vary based on different brand air fryers. Taste test a couple instead of shutting off the air fryer based on time.


How to make Tandoori Fries 


Take regular fries a notch higher by using Tandoori Masala and other spices. This Indian inspired recipe makes the fries EVEN more delicious. 

I have been using this Tandoori masala for a while and totally recommend it. It has the perfect mix of spices for any recipe. From fries to paneer and rice, it helps make everything.

I have added some garlic powder, black pepper and chaat masala too. They all come together brilliantly to add SO much zing to the recipe. 

Lastly, sprinkle some chaat masala on the fries after they are done for that extra flavor. Do not skimp on the spices to get the perfect taste! 



Steps to make Air Fryer Tandoori Fries 


Peel and chop the potatoes into 1/4 inch sticks. 

In a bowl add 4-5 cups water and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Mix and add the potatoes. Soak for 30 minutes.

Mix together all the spices. Leave out the oil. 

After 30 minutes, drain the potatoes and spread them out on a clean muslin cloth or napkin. 

Let the fries dry for 10-12 minutes or pat them dry and use immediately. 


Transfer the fries to a tray and add the oil. Mix well and add the spices. Mix well to evenly coat the fries. 



Preheat the air fryer to 380 F. Set time to 15 minutes. Once the display reads 'Add Food' spread 1/2 the fries in a single layer. 

Let the fries cook till the display reads 'Turn Food'. Shake them and let them cook till the fryer beeps. 

Repeat the steps fro the remaining fries but reduce time to 12 minutes. If the fries are not crisp, air fry for additional 2-3 minutes. 



Open the Air Fryer and transfer the fries to a plate. Sprinkle some chaat masala, green onions and cilantro. 

Serve hot with ketchup and green cilantro chutney.


Ingredients


Russet Potatoes 4 medium
Olive Oil 2 tbsp
Garlic powder 1/2 tsp
Salt 2 tsp

Method


Peel and chop the potatoes into 1/4 inch sticks. 

In a bowl add 4-5 cups water and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Mix and add the potatoes. Soak for 30 minutes.

Mix together all the spices. Leave out the oil. 

After 30 minutes, drain the potatoes and spread them out on a clean muslin cloth or napkin. 

Let the fries dry for 10-12 minutes or pat them dry and use immediately. 

Transfer the fries to a tray and add the oil. Mix well and add the spices. Mix well to evenly coat the fries. 

Preheat the air fryer to 380 F. Set time to 15 minutes. Once the display reads 'Add Food' spread 1/2 the fries in a single layer. 

Let the fries cook till the display reads 'Turn Food'. Shake them and let them cook till the fryer beeps. 

Repeat the steps for the remaining fries but reduce time to 12 minutes. If the fries are not crisp, air fry for additional 2-3 minutes. 

Open the Air Fryer and transfer the fries to a plate. Sprinkle some chaat masala, green onions and cilantro. 

Serve hot with ketchup and green cilantro chutney.


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Monday, August 10, 2020

Ganesha Chaturthi Recipes

A collection of the BEST recipes to celebrate Ganesha Chaturthi. These Indian sweets are delicious and loved by all! 


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. 

The festival of Ganpati is around the corner. This festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Ganesha. 

Generally lasting for 10 days, this festival is celebrated around August- September. A beautiful form of the lord is brought home and worshipped for this time. 


One of the MOST amazing things about this and other Indian festivals is the food associated with it. For this festival it is the sweet that is super striking. 


Offered to the Almighty and later distributed to everyone in the form of prasad; these sweets are something that I always looked forward to as a child. In fact, I still do!

What to make for Ganesha Chaturthi? 


Modak and Ladoos are perfect for this celebration. While all kinds of sweets are made for different festivals, modaks are mostly made during Ganpati. 


Modaks are cone shaped Indian sweets popular in the states Maharashtra and Goa. They vary from steamed, fried and stuffed with sweetened coconut, jaggery etc. 


Ladoos are also super popular. They are Indian sweets that are made for festivals or other occasions. There are several types of ladoos based on ingredients used. 



Commonly used ingredients in these recipes


Different states have their versions for sweets. These variations to traditional modak and ladoo recipes can be made using different ingredients. 


I have made them with wheat flour, ricotta cheese, coconut, rava and a few other ingredients. 

The most used ingredient are these:

Ghee: Clarified butter is the fat used in almost all sweets. I like to make my own using unsalted butter using this recipe. If not making my own, this is my favorite store bought ghee.

Sugar: All of the sweets use some form of sweetener. Sugar is the most popular. I like to use this sugar for my recipes. 

Jaggery: Along with sugar, jaggery is popular in Indian sweets. Using dark colored Kolhapuri Jaggery is a great idea for the sweets. It helps give the sweets a deep brown color.

Sweetened Condensed Milk: Another popular sweetener for the recipes is condensed milk

It is thick and sweet and blends well into the recipes seamlessly. Have a jar of this shelf stable ingredient in the pantry to use it for recipes like these. 

Ricotta Cheese: A variation of mawa; ricotta cheese makes the BEST Indian sweets. I use it throughout the festive season! A large tub does give a LOT of mawa to use in Indian sweets. 

Nuts: The commonly used nuts in most Indian sweets are AlmondsCashews and Pistachios. Either in powdered form or slivered, these are handy to have for so many sweets. 

Saffron: Rich and flavorful, saffron finds application in several Indian sweets. This is my favorite brand to use all the time!  

Cardamom Powder: Another flavorful addition to Indian sweets is cardamom. Green cardamom pods have black seeds in them and they are ground to make Cardamom Powder

This ingredient adds a lot of flavor for sure! It is often used in combination with Nutmeg powder

Desiccated Coconut: The sweets made in Ganesha Chaturthi are often stuffed with sweetened coconut. Fresh or desiccated coconut can be used. It is easy to have shelf stable desiccated coconut for these recipes. 

I hope you try these recipes and share how they turned out! 




Kesar Malai Modak

Ricotta cheese is the main ingredient in this recipe. These modaks have condensed milk and saffron too. These are definitely a favorite in our family. 






Rava Modak | Semolina Modak

An easy to make recipe using semolina; these modaks are super delicious. They are filled with sweetened coconut and make a great offering for puja. Plus, these come together pretty quickly. 






The most commonly made modaks for Ganesha are these steamed rice flour modaks. The crust is made using fine rice flour and the stuffing is made using sweetened coconut. 

These modaks are filled and steamed. They taste great with some ghee on top.



Chocolate Modak

When you need a variation to the traditional modak recipes, this Chocolate Modak is perfect. Unsweetened cocoa powder gives these modaks a great taste and flavor; plus an interesting color! 





Sugar-free Dry Fruit Modak

A sugar free version of modak; these are made using dates, nuts and seeds. Made without a mold, these are super quick to make, delicious and need only a handful of ingredients! Plus, sugar free! 



Wheat Flour Modak

Another variation to traditional modak is this recipe. Wheat flour halwa is a commonly prepared sweet. Use that along with a mold to form modaks for the God.

The taste is exactly the same as wheat flour sheera; just the form is difefrent!



Churma Ladoo

Besides modaks, ladoos are popular in Ganesha Chaturthi. The super amazing ladoo that is made in most families is Churma or Choorma Ladoo. 

Made using what flour, ghee and sugar or jaggery; these ladoos are a MUST-HAVE for Ganesha! 



If you need a quick, simple yet delicious recipe for ladoos; this one is great. Made using strawberry syrup, desiccated coconut and ghee; these ladoos come together in no time.

Plus, these are super chis and great for the festive season!


Baked Churma Ladoos

A non-fried version of churma ladoos; these are made by baking the flour dumplings and then mixing with ghee and jaggery. 

They taste almost the same as the fried ones; just fewer calories! Try them to believe.


Besan Ladoo

Besan ladoos; the perfect sweet for any occasion are great for Ganesha Chaturthi. 

Made using gram flour, sugar and ghee; these are easy to make and taste delicious. I love making these for Ganesha Chaturthi or for the other days in the festival. 


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