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Vegetarian Indian Cooking with Your Instant Pot: 75 Traditional Recipes That Are Easier, Quicker and Healthier

Vegetarian Indian Cooking with Your Instant Pot: 75 Traditional Recipes That Are Easier, Quicker and Healthier

by Manali Singh


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Quick Flavorful Plant-Based Dishes Made Easy

Manali Singh, founder of the popular blog Cook with Manali, shares her secrets to making your favorite traditional Indian dishes faster and healthier in your Instant Pot® or other multifunction cooker. And the majority of her wonderfully spiced recipes are also vegan— or can be easily made vegan—so it’s perfect for specific diets or anyone who wants to include more plant-based meals in the weekly rotation.

Enjoy classics like Matar Paneer and Chana Masala, as well as traditional street foods like Pav Bhaji, a medley of spicy mashed veggies eaten with dinner rolls, and Vegetarian Momos—healthy dumplings steamed to perfection. And don’t forget dessert! Indulge in Chai Crème Brulee or Kalakand, spiced Indian milk fudge.

Whether you’re new to the Instant Pot® or it’s a staple in your kitchen, Manali’s 75 recipes will show you how to easily prepare and enjoy authentic favors of Indian cuisine in your own kitchen.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781624146459
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 10/09/2018
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 283,469
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Manali Singh is the founder of the blog Cook with Manali. She was born and raised in India, but moved to the United States in 2011. She currently lives in Seattle, WA.

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The recipes in this chapter are those that you find on the menu of your favorite Indian restaurants. Whether it's the creamy Butter Paneer — paneer pieces simmered in a tomato cashew sauce, or the aromatic Vegetable Biryani — basmati rice cooked to perfection and flavored with fragrant spices like saffron, each dish is infused with a lot of flavors. This chapter also has some of my favorite dals, like Dal Makhani — black lentils cooked to a creamy consistency with spices and lots of garlic, ginger, onions and tomatoes. It's my absolute favorite and if you have never tried it, you are missing out!

These favorite takeouts go well with naan, roti or any flatbread of your choice. They also go equally well with rice. Dal Tadka, a mix of three lentils tempered with spices, especially goes well with boiled rice.

Indian dishes have robust flavors and I hope you will enjoy all of them in these restaurant-style recipes. They are all really easy to make in the Instant Pot. I like the fact that all these dishes retain the same flavor as they would if cooked on the stovetop.


Have you ever wondered how to make restaurant-style butter paneer at home? Yeah, with that finger-licking good creamy tomato sauce? This recipe is one of my favorites just because it's so easy! The sauce is made with tomatoes, garlic and ginger and flavored with garam masala, cardamom and a touch of honey.


4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
4–5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1-inch (25-mm) piece ginger, roughly chopped
1 green chili, or to taste
8 raw cashews
4 green cardamoms, crushed
¼ tsp red chili powder, adjust to taste
½ tsp garam masala, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
½ cup (120 ml) water
2 tbsp (30 g) unsalted butter
1 tbsp (15 g) tomato paste
2½ tbsp (38 ml) heavy cream
1½ tsp (11 g) honey
½ tsp kashmiri red chili powder, for color
1 cup (225 g) paneer, cut into cubes
1 tbsp (1 g) cilantro, chopped
1 tsp kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves), crushed

To the inner pot of your Instant Pot, add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, green chili, cashews and green cardamoms. Add the red chili powder,

¼ teaspoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon salt and water. Close the lid and press the manual or pressure-cook button, and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Do a quick-pressure release. Open the pot and purée the contents using an immersion blender, or wait for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture has cooled down a bit and then purée using a regular blender and return to the pot.

Press the sauté button, then add the butter, tomato paste, heavy cream, honey, the remaining ¼ teaspoon garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Mix to combine, then stir in the paneer cubes. Add the cilantro and kasuri methi and let the curry simmer for 2 more minutes.

Serve the butter paneer with butter naan!

MAKE IT VEGAN: Replace the paneer with tofu, the butter with vegan butter and the heavy cream with coconut cream.


Chana masala is one of the most popular Indian curries. Raw chickpeas are soaked overnight and then cooked along with onion, tomatoes and a special blend of spices. Cooking with raw chickpeas is essential for getting that authentic taste. It makes the chana masala so much more flavorful compared to what you would get if you used canned chickpeas. This chana masala is everyone's favorite, including my husband!

Making the chana masala spice mixture to use in this recipe is optional. You can use store-bought instead if you'd like.


2 tbsp (10 g) coriander seeds
1 tbsp (9 g) cumin seeds
1 tbsp (12 g) dried pomegranate seeds
1 tsp black peppercorn
2 black cardamoms
8 cloves
3–4 dried red chilies
2-inch (5-cm) cinnamon stick
1 tsp ginger powder

1¼ cups (263 g) dried chickpeas
2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil 1 bay leaf
3 green cardamoms
½-inch (13-mm) cinnamon stick
1 sprig mace
1 large red onion, finely chopped using a food processor
1 small green chili, finely chopped
3–4 cloves garlic, minced
1½-inch (38-mm) piece ginger, two-thirds minced, one-third julienned
2 large tomatoes, puréed
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp (4 g) chana masala
¼ tsp red chili powder, optional
1¼ tsp (8 g) salt, or to taste
2 cups (473 ml) water
2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
2 tbsp (2 g) cilantro, chopped
½ tsp kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves), crushed
¼ tsp garam masala
1 tsp ghee, optional

Soak the dried chickpeas in 3 cups (720 ml) of water overnight. In the morning, drain, then rinse the chickpeas.

For the chana masala spice mixture, dry roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, pomegranate seeds, black peppercorns, black cardamoms, cloves, red chilies and the 2-inch (5-cm) piece of cinnamon stick in a pan over medium heat until the spices are fragrant and become golden in color, 5 to 6 minutes. Let the mixture cool and then transfer it to a spice grinder. Stir in the ground ginger and grind until powdered and well combined. If you are making this ahead, or for another recipe, store the chana masala spice mixture in an airtight container at room temperature.

Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot. When it displays hot, add the vegetable oil, bay leaf, green cardamoms, ½-inch (13-mm) piece cinnamon stick and mace. Sauté for a few seconds until the spices are fragrant.

Add the onion and green chili and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion is soft. Then add the minced garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or so. Stir in the puréed tomatoes, cover with a glass lid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, 2 teaspoons (4 g) chana masala and red chili powder. (Using red chili powder is optional; it makes the dish spicier.)

Let the spices cook with the tomato–onion masala for 2 more minutes, and then add the soaked chickpeas along with the salt and water. Stir to mix everything together. Close the lid of the pot, making sure the pressure valve is in the sealing position. Press the manual or pressure-cook button and cook at high pressure for 25 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.

Open the lid, and add the lemon juice and cilantro. Also stir in the kasuri methi and garam masala. You can serve the chana masala at this point or do the extra step of tempering the dish, which makes it extra flavorful. To temper, heat 1 teaspoon of ghee in a pan over medium heat. When the ghee is hot, add the ginger juliennes, and cook until the ginger turns golden brown in color. Pour the tempering over the chana masala.

Serve the chana masala over rice and enjoy.

MAKE IT VEGAN: Replace the ghee with oil in the tempering.


This is a very rich dish named as a tribute to the nine jewels of emperor Akbar's court. Navratan korma usually has an assortment of nine veggies/nuts/garnishing ingredients, hence the name (nav = nine and rattan = jewels). This dish has a white gravy made of onions, cashews and cream. This rich and creamy curry is often served at special occasions.


½ cup (70 g) raw cashews
2 medium white onions, halved
1-inch (25-mm) piece ginger
1 heaping cup (140 g) cauliflower florets
1 large carrot, cut into rounds
10–12 green beans, cut into ½-inch (13-mm) pieces
¼ cup (35 g) frozen green peas
¾ cup (150 g) paneer, cut into cubes
2 tbsp + 1 tsp (35 ml) ghee, divided
1 bay leaf
½-inch (13-mm) cinnamon stick
3 green cardamoms
3 cloves
2 green chilies, sliced
1½ cups (360 ml) water
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp coriander powder
1¼ tsp (8 g) salt, or to taste Pinch of cardamom powder
¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
12–15 whole almonds
1–2 tbsp (9–18 g) golden raisins A few saffron strands Pomegranate arils, for garnish

Soak the cashews in 1 cup (240 ml) of water for 15 to 20 minutes, then drain. Bring a pan of water to boil. Add the onions to the boiling water. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are very soft, then drain. Using a blender, grind the onions, cashews and ginger to a fine paste. You may add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water while grinding if the mixture is too thick. Set the paste aside.

Put the cauliflower, carrots, beans and peas in the steamer basket of the Instant Pot. (I do not steam the paneer, but feel free to add the paneer to the vegetables.) Pour 1 cup (240 ml) of water in the inner pot of your Instant Pot and then place the steamer basket inside. Close the lid, making sure the pressure valve is in the sealing position, and then press the steam button. Set the time to 2 minutes on high pressure. Do a quick-pressure release.

Carefully remove the steamer basket from the pot. All the veggies should be nice and soft. Set them aside. Drain all the water from the pot, dry it with a paper towel and then place it back into the Instant Pot. Press the sauté button, and when the pot displays hot, add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of ghee. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, green cardamoms and cloves. Sauté for a few seconds until the spices are fragrant, and then add the prepared onion–cashew paste. Add the sliced green chilies and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the water and all the steamed veggies and paneer and stir to combine. Add the garam masala, coriander powder, salt and cardamom powder. Mix to combine all the spices. Cover the pot with a glass lid and let simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream.

In a small pan, heat the remaining teaspoon of ghee over medium heat. When the ghee is hot, add the almonds, raisins and saffron strands. Cook until the raisins swell up and the almonds are toasted, about 1 minute. Transfer the tempering to the Instant Pot and stir to combine. Transfer the navratan korma into a serving dish and garnish with pomegranate arils. Serve with naan.

NOTE: Pineapple is often used in navratan korma. If you would like, add ¼ cup (45 g) chopped pineapple just before serving.

MAKE IT VEGAN: Replace the paneer with tofu and the heavy cream with coconut cream or milk.


Dal makhani is one of India's most popular lentil dishes. Black lentils are cooked until creamy and fragrant. Dal makhani is my husband's favorite dal and we love this Instant Pot version. A lot of dal makhani recipes include kidney beans; if you want to include them, simply replace ¼ cup (55 g) of black lentils with kidney beans and soak them overnight along with the dal. We love that version just as much!


1 cup (220 g) whole black gram lentils/urad dal sabut
2 tbsp (30 ml) ghee
1 bay leaf
2–3 green cardamoms
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp (12 g) ginger–garlic paste (see here)
¼ cup + 1 tbsp (75 ml) store-bought tomato purée
3½ cups (840 ml) water, divided
¾ tsp garam masala
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp red chili powder
1¼ tsp (8 g) salt, or to taste
1½ tsp (5 g) kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves), crushed
1 tbsp (15 g) unsalted butter 1 tbsp (15 ml) heavy cream

Wash and soak the lentils in 3 cups (720 ml) of water overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse the lentils and set it aside.

Press the sauté button. When the pot displays hot, add the ghee, bay leaf and green cardamoms and sauté for a few seconds until the spices are fragrant. Add the cumin seeds, let them sizzle for a few seconds and then add the chopped onion. Cook the onion for 2 minutes until soft and translucent, and then add the ginger–garlic paste. Cook for another minute and then add the tomato purée. Add ½ cup (120 ml) of water and let the mixture cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garam masala, cumin powder, chili powder and salt. Cook for 1 minute, then add the soaked lentils to the pot. Toss the lentils with the masala and then add the remaining 3 cups (720 ml) of water to the pot. Stir and close the lid. Press the bean/chili button, and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes, making sure the pressure valve is in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes and then do a quick release.

Open the lid and press the sauté button. Mash some of the lentils using a potato masher, then add the kasuri methi, butter and heavy cream to the dal. Let it all simmer for a minute or two. Garnish with cilantro (if desired) and serve with naan.

NOTES: I recommend using store-bought tomato purée here for that perfect creamy dal makhani texture. If you can't get it, purée 2 medium tomatoes and use them in the recipe.

MAKE IT VEGAN: Replace the ghee with oil, the butter with vegan butter and the heavy cream with nondairy milk.


Palak paneer is a popular Indian curry in which cubes of paneer are simmered in a spiced spinach-based sauce. This popular curry is not only delicious but also a great way to eat your greens. I know of people who don't like spinach otherwise but would happily gulp down bowls of palak paneer!

I love how easy it is to make palak paneer in the Instant Pot — you don't even need to chop the spinach! This dish is lightly spiced, and the fresh flavors of paneer and spinach taste great with just about any flatbread.


2 tbsp (30 g) ghee or unsalted butter
½ tbsp (8 ml) vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chilies, chopped
¼ tsp asafetida
2 small onions, chopped
5–6 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch (25-mm) piece ginger, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 lb (455 g) spinach leaves
½ cup (120 ml) water, divided
1¼ tsp (8 g) salt, or to taste
1 tsp garam masala
1½ tbsp (22 ml) heavy cream

10.5 oz (300 g) paneer, cut into cubes

Press the sauté button. When the pot displays hot, add the ghee (or butter) and oil. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Add the chopped green chilies and asafetida and cook for a few more seconds. Next, add the onion, garlic and ginger, and cook until the raw smell of ginger and garlic goes away, around 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the spinach to the pot. There's no need to chop it, you can just add it straight to the pot. Stir until the spinach leaves have wilted; this will take around 1 to 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) of water and the salt.

Stir and close the pot with its lid. Press the manual or pressure-cook button and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes, making sure the pressure valve is in the sealing position.

Let the pressure release naturally for 3 minutes and then do a quick release. Using an immersion blender, purée the contents of the pot until creamy. Press the sauté button. Add the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) of water along with the garam masala and the heavy cream. Add the paneer cubes and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Serve with any bread of your choice. We love to eat it with paratha.

NOTES: A lot of people like pan-frying their paneer before adding it to the curry. If you wish to, simply pan-fry the paneer cubes in 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 ml) of oil or ghee before tossing them into the Instant Pot.

MAKE IT VEGAN: Replace the paneer with tofu, the ghee with oil and the heavy cream with coconut milk.


Excerpted from "Vegetarian Indian Cooking with your Instant Pot"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Manali Singh.
Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Butter Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese in a Buttery Sauce),
Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry),
Navratan Korma (Vegetables & Nuts in a Creamy Cashew Sauce),
Dal Makhani (Creamy Black Lentils),
Palak Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese & Spinach Curry),
Matar Mushroom (Mushrooms & Green Peas in a Creamy Tomato Sauce),
Dal Tadka (Mixed Lentils with Spices),
Paneer Tikka Masala (Indian Cottage Cheese in a Creamy Tomato Sauce),
Vegetable Biryani (Basmati Rice with Veggies & Fragrant Spices),
Achari Mixed Vegetables (Mixed Vegetables with Pickle Masala),
Spinach Dal (Lentils with Spinach),
Sambar (South Indian Lentil Stew),
Black-Eyed Pea Curry with Kale,
Jackfruit with Chana Dal,
Kashmiri Rajma (Kidney-Bean Curry),
Moong Dal with Cabbage & Dill (Lentils with Cabbage & Dill),
Panchmel Dal (Five-Lentil Mix with Spices),
Tomato Butternut Squash Dal,
Spiced Chickpea Salad,
Khatti Meethi Gujarati Dal (Sweet & Sour Lentils),
Sookha Kala Chana (Spiced Black Chickpeas),
Aloo Gobi (Spiced Potatoes & Cauliflower),
Vegetable Khichdi (Mixed Lentils & Rice Porridge),
Gatte Ki Sabzi (Chickpea Flour Dumplings Curry),
Banarsi Dum Aloo (Creamy Baby Potatoes Curry),
Paneer Lasagna (Spiced Indian Cottage Cheese Lasagna),
Kadai Tofu (Spiced Tofu with Bell Peppers),
Soya Jalapeño Keema Tacos (Vegan Minced Soya Granules Tacos),
Gobi Matar Korma (Cauliflower & Green Peas Coconut Curry),
Panchporan Spinach Kadhi (Yogurt Soup with Five Spices),
Masala Baingan (Spiced Baby Eggplants with Coconut),
Curried Black Bean Burrito Bowl,
Dal Dhokli (Whole-Wheat Noodles in Lentil Stew),
Tofu Broccoli Asparagus in Fenugreek Sauce,
Quinoa Curd Rice (Spiced Quinoa with Yogurt),
Cilantro Mint Paneer,
Dal-Chawal-Aloo Sabzi (Layered Meal with Rice, Lentils & Potatoes),
Ven Pongal (Rice & Lentil Porridge with Peppercorns),
Matar Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese & Green Peas Curry),
Dal Dhania Shorba (Lentil Cilantro Soup),
Jeera Aloo (Cumin Potatoes),
Tehri (Spicy Potato & Peas Pulao),
Tofu Mango Coconut Curry,
Masala Mac & Cheese (Spiced Mac & Cheese),
Turmeric Masala Doodh (Spiced Turmeric Milk),
Beans & Beets Poriyal (Spiced Green Beans & Beets with Coconut),
Pav Bhaji (Mashed Spiced Vegetables with Dinner Rolls),
Aloo Chana Rolls (Spiced Potato & Chickpea Wraps),
Vegetarian Momos (Vegetarian Dumplings),
Mushroom Garlic Fried Rice,
Spicy Masala Corn,
Vegan Hot & Sour Soup,
Sweet Potato Chaat with Cilantro Mint Yogurt Chutney,
Saag (Spiced Creamy Greens),
Tofu Bhurji (Indian-Style Scrambled Tofu),
Masala Chai,
Tomato & Date Chutney,
Masala Hummus (Spiced Hummus),
Mint Cashew Pulao (Spiced Basmati Rice with Mint & Cashews),
Khatti Meethi Pumpkin Sabzi (Sweet & Sour Pumpkin),
Idlis (Steamed Rice Lentil Cakes),
Khaman Dhokla (Steamed Savory Chickpea-Flour Cakes),
Rice Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding),
Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand (Saffron Cardamom Yogurt),
Kalakand (Spiced Milk Fudge),
Zarda (Sweet Rice),
Eggless Tutti Frutti Cake,
Pumpkin Coconut Halwa (Pumpkin Coconut Pudding),
Masala Chai Crème Brûlée,
Rose Pistachio Cheesecake,
Mango Coconut Tapioca Pudding,
Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese),
Ghee (Clarified Butter),
Dahi (Yogurt),
Ginger–Garlic Paste,
Buttons on the Instant Pot,
Instant Pot Accessories,
Indian Cooking Ingredient Notes,
About the Author,

Customer Reviews

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