Dal Makhani/Creamy Buttery Lentils – Instant Pot Method

Dal makhani is one of the most popular Indian dishes. Lentils and beans are cooked in a buttery gravy. Dal means lentils and Makhani means buttery. Creaminess in this dish is achieved by slow cooking the lentils and beans in a rich sauce made with butter, onions, tomatoes and cream. I have tried various versions of Dal Makhani recipes and all of them taste delicious.

The onion tomato gravy in most Dal Makhani recipes is almost similar to the onion tomato gravy used in the Rajma Masala recipe in my blog, except that in Dal Makhani preparation, the onion tomato gravy is cooked in butter instead of oil and lentils are slow cooked for a long time to get a creamy consistency. I wanted to post a recipe which has some variation in the onion tomato gravy. I found a recipe shared by a fellow blogger Brijdeep Kaur and bookmarked it a long time ago. She shared the stove top pressure cooker version of the recipe in her blog. She mentioned that she learnt this authentic Punjabi dish(Dal Makhani) from her mom. I compared this recipe with the previous versions of Dal Makhani recipes that I tried before. I noticed that the addition of yogurt is what makes it different from the other recipes. I tried this recipe and loved it. The addition of yogurt in the onion tomato gravy adds a wonderful creamy texture and a new flavor to this traditional Indian dish.

Last week, I made this dish in my Instant Pot and I was able to click the step by step pictures. I am sharing the Instant Pot method of making this creamy and delicious dish. Since Instant Pot has ‘Pressure Cook’ option, ‘Saute’ option and ‘Slow Cook’ option, this is a perfect dish to make in an Instant Pot, as we need to  use all these three modes of cooking, to make this dish. First, we need to pressure cook the lentils and beans in Bean/Chili mode, next we need to cook the onion tomato gravy in ‘Saute’ mode and finally slow cook everything in ‘Slow Cook’  mode. Slow cooking is the most important step for this recipe, to get the creamy texture(without the addition of cream) and restaurant/Dhaba  taste. Lets begin the process of making this dish in the Instant Pot.

I also shared the process of making it in a regular pressure cooker. Please refer to the notes in the bottom of the post.

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Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 250ml

Urad Whole(Black Mapte Beans) – 1 cup

Rajma(Red Kidney Beans) – 1/4 cup

Butter – 1&1/2 Tbsp.

Onion(Medium size) – 1(finely chopped)

Garlic cloves – 4(finely chopped)

Tomato(Medium size) -1 or 2 (I used 2 tomatoes)(Chopped into big cubes)

Fresh Ginger – 1 inch piece

Green chilli -1

Turmeric powder – 1/2 Tsp.

Red chilli powder – 1 Tsp.(You can add more or less as per desired spiciness)

Cumin seeds – 1 Tsp.

Cinnamon  – 1″ stick

Cloves – 2

Bay leaf – 1

Plain Yogurt – 1 cup

Kasoori Methi/Dried Fenugreek leaves – 1 Tsp.

Garam masala powder – 1  Tsp.(I added 1/2 Tsp.)

Heavy whipping cream/Fresh cream – 2-3 Tbsp.(for garnishing)(optional)

Salt – as needed( Approximately 2 Tsp.)

Procedure:

Step 1:

Soak Urad and Red kidney beans for 12-16 hours.

Wash Urad dal and Red kidney beans/Rajma. Soak them together in a bowl of water for 12-16 hours(I soaked them overnight).

Step 2:

Pressure cook the beans in the Instant Pot.

Discard the soaking water from Urad dal and Rajma. Add Urad and Rajma in the instant pot insert. Add 3 cups water. Add 1/2 Tsp. salt and 1/4 Tsp. turmeric. Close the lid. Make sure that the sealing ring in placed under the lid and the anti block shield under the lid is placed and pressed in its position correctly. Turn the steam releasing valve on top of the lid to the ‘Sealing’ position.

Turn on the Bean/Chili mode. Just press ‘Bean/Chili’ button. The ‘Bean/Chili’ mode is a fully automated program to cook beans. The default display(cooking time) will be 30 minutes. The high pressure setting is selected by default in the ‘Bean/Chili’ mode. You will hear a beep when the beans is done. Let the pressure release naturally. Instant pot has a indicator pin next to the steam releasing valve to indicate if the steam is released or not. The pin drops down when the steam is completely released. Unplug the instant pot and open the lid when the pin drops down. Urad and Rajma should be soft and tender.

Step 3:

Strain the cooked Urad dal and Rajma. Save the strained liquid. We will use it later. Now the IP insert is empty.

Step 4:

Add yogurt to the IP insert and mix it with a spoon until creamy. Add the cooked and strained Urad dal and Rajma.  Mix it with a spoon.

Step 5:

Add chopped tomatoes, green chilli and ginger to a blender jar and puree them into a smooth paste.

Step 6:

Prepare the onion tomato gravy.

I have two inserts for instant pot. So I used the second insert to prepare the gravy. If you have only one insert, transfer the cooked beans and yogurt mixture to a different container. Rinse the insert and use it to prepare the onion tomato gravy.

Turn on the instant pot in ‘Saute’ mode. Just press ‘Saute’ button.  Add butter in the instant pot insert.  Once the oil is hot(after few seconds), add cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds, bay leaf and stir.

After you hear the crackling sound of cumin seeds, add finely chopped garlic. Saute for few seconds. Add the chopped onion. Add 1/4 Tsp. salt and saute until onion turns translucent and slightly brown in color.

Note: The recipe that I followed uses onion and garlic paste but I chose to use finely chopped onion and finely chopped garlic. I have seen some posts where people could not get rid of the raw onion smell when they used onion paste in their dishes. I have also seen some posts where people faced the problem of the dish turning slightly  bitter when they used raw onion paste. Though I never had any of these issues, I just chose to use finely chopped onions and garlic. If you prefer to use onion paste instead of chopped onions, then try it saute them in oil for few minutes. Let them cool and prepare the paste. I have also read that using red onions to prepare the onion paste causes bitterness. I am not sure, but I never faced that problem with yellow onions.

Add the prepared tomato puree. Cook for a minute. Add 1/4 Tsp. turmeric powder, 1 Tsp. salt and 1 Tsp. red chilli powder. Mix it well. Cook until the onion tomato masala starts leaving the sides of the pan.

Add 1 cup water to the blender jar and keep it aside. We will use it in the next step.

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Step 7:

Add yogurt and Ural dal mixture. Mix it well. Add crushed kasuri methi and garam masala. Mix it well. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the strained liquid which we kept aside in Step 3. Also, add the water(rinsed from the blender jar in Step 6). Mix it well.  Cook for 3-4 minutes . Taste it and adjust salt as needed.

Step 8:

Final Step: Slow cook(in ‘Normal’ mode) for at least 1-2 hours. 

I slow cooked only for an hour as I had to serve dinner to my kids. Turn off the IP. Press ‘Slow Cook’ button. Adjust time to 1 hour using minus ‘-‘ button. Close the lid. Turn the steam releasing valve in venting positon. Open the lid after 1 hour. Dals are softened and the curry looks creamy.  If you plan to slow cook for longer hours, add some more water after every hour(If the gravy is too thick).

Garnish with chopped cilantro and cream/butter.

Notes: This dish can be made in a regular pressure cooker and a regular pan. I am sharing the procedure below:

Pressure cook urad dal and Rajma with 3 cups of water for 5-6 whistles. Cook until Rajma is totally soft.

Use a wide thick bottomed pan instead of Instant Pot. Place the pan on medium heat and follow the procedure mentioned in Step 3 to Step 7. 

Finally, reduce the heat to low , cover with a lid and slow cook the dals until desired creamy consistency is reached. Adjust water as needed. Stir occasionally to make sure that the gravy doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

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Serve hot with Jeera Rice/Naan/Roti/ Phulka or Kulcha. You can also pack it in the lunch box.

I hope you enjoy this Instant Pot Dal  Makhani recipe!!!!

Eggless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today, I am sharing the recipe for eggless peanut butter cookies. If you like peanut butter, you will love these cookies. I had a big jar of peanut butter lying in my pantry. I was planning to make cookies for my daughter since a long time. My daughter made peanut butter cookies with a 3 ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe but she didn’t like the taste. I was searching for a different recipe and I found this(Almond Butter M&M cookies) recipe. I thought my daughter would like these cookies if I make them with peanut butter. I attempted to make an eggless version of the same recipe using peanut butter. There are different egg substitutes that are mentioned in the online resources like flaxseed meal, milk, applesauce and cornstarch+water. I found it interesting to use cornstarch+water as an egg substitute because, these two ingredients are always readily available at my home. The cornstarch and water ratio is mentioned as 1:2 in some egg substitution charts and 1:3 in some of them. I used 1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp. water as an egg substitute. I used peanut butter in place of almond butter. The experiment was successful. Cookies tasted great and the taste was approved by my daughter. I served them to my son’s friend and he loved them too and asked me to share the recipe. I am going to experiment more with this easy egg substitute(cornstarch+water) in other cookie recipes and share the successful results with you all. I am saving this cookies recipe to make them  again and also sharing it here. Try it and enjoy!!!!

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Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 250ml

Serves – 12 cookies

All purpose flour – 3/4 cup

Peanut butter – 1/2  cup(I used Jif creamy peanut butter)

Cornstarch – 1 Tbsp.

Water – 2 Tbsp.

Mini chocolate chips – 1/2 cup

Unsalted butter – 1/4 cup(room temperature)

Brown sugar – 1/2 cup(I used dark brown sugar)

Vanilla extract – 1 Tsp.

Salt – 1/8 Tsp.

Procedure:

Step 1:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix 1 Tbsp. cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. water and keep aside.

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Step 2:

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.

Step 3:

In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, Mix butter, peanut butter and sugar until creamy. I tried to explain this in detail. Follow all the steps mentioned below.

Use room temperature butter. It should not too soft and mushy. It should be soft and you should be able to scrape it using a butter knife. Cut the butter into small pieces. Add the butter in the stand mixer. Attach the paddle and run the stand mixer on speed 4 for few seconds. Add the peanut buttter.  Run the stand mixer on speed 6 for about 1-2 minutes until the peanut butter and butter mixture is well mixed and looks creamy.

Add the brown sugar and run the stand mixer on speed 6 for 5-6 minutes until you have a light and fluffy mixture.

Step 4:

Add vanilla extract. Add cornstarch+water mixture. Run the mixer until it is mixed well.

Step 5:

Add the sifted flour in 2-3 batches and run the mixer on speed 4 until it is mixed well. The mixture will look like a soft dough.

Step 6:

Finally add the chocolate chips and fold them in gently.

Step 7:

Divide the mixture into 12 portions. Roll them into balls and slightly  flatten them.  Arrange them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

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Step 8:

Bake for 13-15 minutes till the bottom turns light brown. Remove the tray. They will be fragile to touch.  Let them cool in the tray for 10 minutes. They will continue to cook and harden. They will look slightly cracked on top.

Step 9:

Place them on a cooling rack and let them cool completely.

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Step 10:

Serve immediately or store them in an air tight container.

You need to try these cookies if you are a peanut butter and chocolate lover. You will enjoy!!!

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Karachi Halwa In a Mug

Happy Valentines’ Day Everyone!!! DO you need a last minute dessert idea for Valentine’s Day? Do you like Karachi Halwa? If your answer is ‘Yes’ to any of these two questions, then this post is for you. 2 minutes is all you need to make this delicious Karachi Halwa in a mug.

Karachi Halwa is a chewy and tasty Indian dessert everybody would love. It is also known as Bombay Halwa. It is made with cornstarch, sugar, cashew nuts and ghee. It can be flavored with saffron and cardamom. It is usually available in green, yellow and orange colors in the sweet shops in India. You can add any food color of your choice. I added pink food color to make a pink dessert, which is perfect for Valentine’s Day.

I recently shared Churros recipe for Valentine’s Day. You can find Churros recipe here. I also wanted to to share a quick and easy last minute dessert for the Valentine’s Day and sharing this Mug Halwa recipe today. This dessert is perfect for portion control. I wanted to post it today morning but I was occupied with other activities and couldn’t draft this post until now. It’s not too late for a sweet treat for your Valentine.

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Ingredients:

Corn starch – 1 Tbsp.( I used ARGO 100% Pure Corn starch. It is available in the grocery stores)

Water – 4 Tbsp.

Granulated white sugar – 3 Tbsp.

Food color – 1-2 drops(I used gel food color)

Ghee – 1/2 Tsp.

Cashew nuts(chopped) – 1 Tsp.

Procedure:

Step 1:

Add 1 Tbsp. Corn starch, 3 Tbsp. sugar and 4 Tbsp. water and 1 drop of food color in a microwave safe coffee mug. Mix all the contents in the mug. Make sure there are no lumps.

Step 2:

Place the mug in the microwave and microwave it on high power for 30 seconds. Stir the contents in the mug and microwave for another 30 seconds. Repeat the process two more times. (2 minutes of microwave time in all).

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Step 3:

Add 1/2 Tsp. ghee and chopped cashew nuts. Stir well. Let it cool.

Step 4:

Enjoy the dessert in the mug or empty the contents into a greased plate/bowl. Cut it into desired shape using a knife or cookie cutter(I used a heart shape cookie cutter).

Note: If you do not want to use food color, you can add fruit juice to get the desired color. I added Blackberry juice instead of food color when I made it last time. I just pureed few black berries and strained the juice with a tea filter. It tasted great.

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I also tried with brown sugar and Blueberry juice today. The color doesn’t look pretty with brown sugar but it tastes even better with brown sugar. I loved the taste with brown sugar.

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Make this quick and easy microwavable Karachi Halwa(mug halwa) for your Valentine today!!!!

Eggless Churros

Valentine’s Day is coming up. I wanted to share an Eggless Churros recipe for Valentine’s Day and present them with a different look. I decided to make flower shaped ones. They are incredibly easy to make.  All it takes is 6 ingredients and about 30 minutes to make these delicious treats.  I adapted this recipe from here. I have read many recipes online. Some people say that the traditional churros recipe does not use eggs. I also read that the eggless version tastes like the churros sold by street vendors and at fairs, in Mexico. I am not sure. I haven’t been to Mexico yet.  I made this simple eggless version of churros and my kids loved them.

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Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 cup = 250ml

All purpose flour – 1 cup

Water – 1 cup

Vegetable oil – 2 Tbsp.

Granulated white sugar – 3 Tbsp.

Salt – 1/2 Tsp.

Oil – For deep frying

Piping bag – 1

1M  Wilton piping tip

Ingredients for coating churros:

Ground cinnamon – 1 Tsp.

Granulated Sugar(white/brown) – 1/2 cup(You can grind it into a fine powder, optional)

Procedure:

Step 1:

In a small sauce pan, add 2 Tbsp. oil, 3 Tbsp. sugar, 1 cup water and 1/2 Tp. salt. Mix it well. Place the sauce pan on medium heat and bring to a boil.

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Step 2:

Turn off the heat. Gradually add the flour and mix it with a spoon/spatula until it forms a smooth dough. Let it cool slightly(around 5-7 minutes).

Step 3:

Place the dough in the piping bag fitted with 1M piping tip. Take a parchment paper and cut it into small squares. We will use them to pipe the roses.

Step 4:

Hold the piping bag on top of the parchment paper and make a rose with the dough. Repeat the process.

Step 5:

Heat the oil (for deep frying) in a wide pan on medium/low heat. Carefully transfer the piped churro dough roses to the hot oil.  Fry them in batches of three or four until they look golden. Drain on a plate lined with paper towel.

Step 6:

Add the sugar and cinnamon powder in a Ziploc bag or a small bowl and mix well. While the fried churros are still warm, toss to coat them in the Ziploc bag or the bowl filled with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Serve immediately.

Note:Do not worry, if you do not have a piping bag and piping tip. You can make these churros with a Ziploc bag. I used a Ziploc bag when I made them first time. They look different but taste equally delicious.

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Make these easy to make eggless flower shaped churros at home, for a special Valentines’s Day treat!!!!

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Moong Dal Sambar/ Instant Tiffin Sambar/ Pesara Pappu sambar/ Spicy Lentil & Vegetable Soup – Instant Pot Method

Tiffin Sambar is an yummy accompaniment to the Common South Indian breakfast foods like Idli, Dosa, Vada and P0ngal. It is a spicy South Indian lentil and vegetable soup. The breakfast foods are also known as ‘Tiffins’ in South India. Tiffin sambar is served in the restaurants along with the South Indian breakfast foods/Tiffins. It tastes different from the sambar that is served with rice.

Tiffin sambar can be prepared in many ways. Each region has a different variation of the recipe. I wanted to prepare sambar with toor dal like I usually do, but when I checked my pantry, I realized that I didn’t have toor dal in stock. I tried making sambar with the combination of toor dal and moong dal and it tastes delicious. But, I had never prepared sambar with moong dal alone, so I was not sure how it would actually taste. I adapted the recipe from here,, and prepared One Pot Sambar in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. Sambar turned out delicious, just the way I like it. It was similar to the sambar served in the Indian restaurants with the South Indian breakfast foods. Today, I am sharing the recipe for the instant pot version of Moong Dal Tiffin Sambar. This sambar can be prepared in very less time. This is a perfect recipe for the busy mornings. Just do a quick saute and dump all the ingredients in the instant pot and close the lid. You can take care of other things while instant pot is cooking this yummy sambar. Roast the sambar powder ingredients a day before you want to make sambar. Grind them, just before making the sambar to retain the fresh flavor of the spices.

If you are interested in making Idli/Dosa along with this sambar, you can find the recipe to prepare Idli/Dosa batter here.

Lets begin the process of making this delicious Tiffin Sambar.

Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 250ml

Moong dal – 1/4 cup

Onion- 1/2 cup(finely chopped)(1 medium size onion)

Tomato – 1(medium size)

Green chilli – 1

Brinjals – 2(medium size)

Potato – 1(medium size)

Carrot – 1(medium size)

Tamarind concentrate – 1 Tbsp.

Turmeric powder – 1/2 Tsp.

Grated jaggery – 1/2 Tsp.(optional, I added it)

Chopped cilantro – 1/4 cup

Salt – 1 & 1/4 Tsp. (approximately)

Vegetable oil – 3 Tsp.

Mustard seeds – 1 Tsp.

Cumin seeds – 1 Tsp.

Asafoetida – 1/4 Tsp.

Curry leaves – 10-15

Ingredients to prepare homemade sambar powder:

Chana dal – 1 & 1/2 Tbsp.

Coriander seeds – 1 & 1/2 Tsp.

Red chillies – 2 (Byadgi variety)(You can add more or less according to your taste)

Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 Tsp.

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Step 1:

Wash and soak moong dal for 15 minutes.

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Step 2:

Roast the ingredients mentioned under sambar powder in 1/2 tsp. oil. Roast them on low heat until chana dal is golden brown. Let them cool and powder them.

Step 3:

Wash and chop all the veggies. Place the chopped brinjal pieces in a bowl of water to prevent them from turning black. image

Step 4:

Turn on the Instant Pot in ‘Saute’ mode. Add oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let them crackle. Add curry leaves, green chilli(slit),  asafoetida and chopped onion. Add 1/4  tsp. salt. Saute until onion turns slightly transparent.  Adding salt helps to release the water from the onions and allows them to soften gradually. This process is known as sweating.

Step 5:

Add the chopped vegetables and saute for a minute.

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Step 6:

Add turmeric powder, fresh homemade sambar powder, jaggery and salt. Mix it well.

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Step 7:

Drain the water from the soaked moong dal and add it. Add 4&1/2 cups of water. Mix it well. Close the lid. Turn the steam releasing valve in sealing position. Pressure cook the vegetables in manual high pressure setting for 15 minutes. To do this, turn off the instant pot. Press cancel button. Hit manual button. The default pressure setting will be high. Do not change this.  Press on minus ‘-‘  button and set it to 15 minutes.

Step 8:

Open the lid when the pressure is naturally released(NR). Instant pot has a indicator pin next to the steam releasing valve to indicate if the steam is released or not. The pin drops down when the steam is completely released. Remove the lid when the pin drops down.

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Step 9:

Add tamarind concentrate. Cook on ‘Saute’ mode for 4-5 minutes. Add some chopped cilantro.

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Note:

You can add the tamarind paste in the Step 7. Dal will be 95% cooked and will not be mushy. It’s your preference. This is how the cooked dal looks, if you add tamarind pulp in the Step 7.

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Step 10:

Turn off the instant pot and transfer the prepared sambar to a serving bowl. Finally garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with your favorite tiffin/breakfast.

First time,  I  tried making this sambar with just onions, tomatoes, carrots and store bought sambar powder(I used 1 Tbsp. MTR sambar powder). It tasted good but, needed improvement.

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Second time, I added potato along with the other vegetables. It tasted better with the addition of potato but, it still needed improvement.

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Finally when I made this sambar in the exact way as I mentioned in this post, I loved the taste. The addition of potato and home made sambar powder gives a unique flavor to this sambar.  I felt that this sambar recipe is a keeper and shared it in my blog. I hope you will like it too.

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Enjoy this delicious Tiffin Sambar with your favorite South Indian Breakfast!!!!