Cookbook review: Instant Indian
I'm so happy to share my friend Rinku Battacharya's new book "Instant Indian"; it features 100 authentic recipes from around India, including dals, idli, curries, chaat, biryani, pulao, and more! There are also recipes for paneer, no-knead naan, yogurt, and spice blends.
I previously reviewed Rinku's excellent "Spices and Seasons"; in recent months, I've jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon and have found myself purchasing several Indian and international cookbooks designed specifically for the Instant Pot. Previously, I would avoid cooking dishes with dry beans due to the long soaking and cooking time required, but the Instant Pot handles most types of dried beans in 25 minutes or less, making it perfect for adding more protein and fiber into my diet (dried beans are also a very economical option).
Instant Indian is divided into 11 chapters, including regions, spices and kitchen basics, make-ahead basics (homemade paneer, masala paste, spice blends, and no-knead naan), breakfast and snacks (idlis, upma, dosas), rice and noodles, legumes and soups, vegetables and paneer, fish and shrimp, chicken and eggs, lamb and pork, desserts and drinks, and chutneys and raitas. You'll find many restaurant favorites like alu gobi, tikka masala, butter chicken, saag paneer, and yogurt lassi.
For my review, I tested several recipes from different chapters including the tamatar masala anda, rajma with azuki beans, anda rassa, benarasi alu dum, and misthi pulao. I tested all recipes in a 3-qt. Instant Pot. The flavor of the misthi pulao was absolutely amazing due to sauteeing the spices in ghee first.
Each recipe includes serving size, total time breakdown (this is important with the instant pot, as in addition to prep time you also have to factor in time for the pot to come to pressure, cooking time, and natural or manual pressure release), and whether each recipe is gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian (many of the vegetarian recipes can be made vegan by swapping coconut ghee or using firm tofu for paneer). As a huge fan of chutneys (which are difficult to find and expensive in Japan), I love making my own using Rinku's recipes (at first I used her slow cooker version, now I love the sweet and tangy pineapple chutney from Instant Indian!).
The index is extremely user-friendly and thorough and not only includes recipes by ingredient, but also grouped by breakfast dishes, main dishes, etc.
One suggestion I've found helpful is it's well worth purchasing several additional accessories for your Instant Pot: at a minimum, buy extra seals (I find the color-coded ones particularly helpful) as smells tend to linger, if you cook curries often it's worth having a seal just for those. My other suggestion is purchasing the clear glass lid for making yogurt. The hardboiled egg stand / silicone roasting rack by OXO is great too. And if you plan on making idlis, you'll need to purchase an idli mold that will fit inside your Instant Pot.
There are numerous delicious ideas for sauteed and curried vegetable medleys using readily available vegetables and seasonings that will add color and nutrition to every meal, and enough variety to keep me happily cooking for months. Recipes are also labelled as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free, making it super-convenient for those who follow those diets.
Whether you are a longtime fan of Indian cuisine or simply looking for new recipes to incorporate using your Instant Pot, "Instant Indian" is a fantastic resource that deserves a place in your kitchen!