Well, I broke down recently and bought the kitchen appliance of the year — the Instant Pot. At first I was taken aback by a pressure cooker-slow cooker-sauté machine plus dozen of other functions-cooker, but I was curious and wanted the challenge. There are so many dedicated websites and blogs with recipes about the Instant Pot (here’s the official one (Instant Pot), if you want to learn more about them.
One of the major advantages that I have enjoyed is the one pot dinners. Another is the pressure cooking of dried beans and legumes. No more soaking overnight and then simmering the next day. I have made homemade yogurt also. So many functions and I still have not tried them all.
However, what I do want to share is the highly successful recipes. Since I love international foods and eating more vegetarian, there is a plethora of Indian Instant Pot recipes available on the Internet and books from libraries and bookshops.
This recipe is a family favourite from a wonderful website called My Heart Beets. Lots of Indian recipes but lots of other nationalities plus good old North American as well. This recipe is easy to put together and the flavours are two thumbs up. It is called Vegan Butter Chicken — made with chickpeas, and there is no butter in my version and no dairy if you use oil instead of ghee and coconut milk instead of cream.
The spices are a warm and colourful palette: garam masala, coriander, paprika, salt, turmeric, pepper, chili pepper and cumin.
I buy dried beans and legumes, including these chickpeas. Easy to store and I use the amount that I need for each recipe. Two cups of dried chickpeas yields 4 cups of soaked chickpeas overnight.
Here are all the ingredients necessary for the pressure cooking step of this recipe: the soaked chickpeas, mixed spices from above, tomato sauce, water, chopped onion, garlic (oops, I forgot to chop them for the photo) and grated ginger.
Turn on the saute function on the Instant Pot and cook the onions until they become translucent and start to brown, just a bit.
Then place all the rest of the ingredients into the pot and mix with the onions.
And that’s it! Turn off the saute function, lock on the lid and seal, and set the pressure for 35 minutes.
At first the digital screen confused me but this is the system. You set the pressure for 35 minutes…then the read out switches to ‘On’…it will take about 13 minutes to get to full pressure; and when it does, the ’35’ appears again and counts down to ‘0’ minutes.
Once the Instant Pot beeps and the countdown is over, it will take about 25 additional minutes to release the pressure manually.
Have ready a half-cup coconut milk and kasoori methi, which are dried fenugreek leaves. If you don’t have these leaves, the dish will still taste delicious. Also have some chopped coriander for serving.
You can see the finished butter chickpeas before and after adding the coconut milk. It gives it a lovely creamy finish.
Make rice or serve with naan. Both will soak up the aromatic rich sauce and you’ll have a delicious meal.
Please go directly to the site for the full recipe and explanation. It is a lovely website with lots of recipes to peruse.
I made two changes to my version:
- I did not add the suggested green pepper. I have never had green pepper in butter chicken at any restaurant, and
- I did not use ghee, I used olive oil. My version is vegan.