Instant Indian — a review

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Instant Indian
Rinku Bhattacharya 
Publication date: October 2nd, 2018
Genres: Recipes, Cookbooks, Cooking

Rating:  5 stars

Discover favorite foods from all over India with the first regional Indian cookbook authorized by Instant Pot!

Rinku Bhattacharya — cookbook author and founder of Spice Chronicles — has put together a collection of 100 authentic recipes that showcase the diversity and range of the foods of India, where every state and region boasts its own unique dishes. Whether you crave takeout favorites or want to be introduced to lesser-known specialties, this cookbook brings the best of India to your table in an instant!

The Instant Pot® lends itself perfectly to Indian recipes, making flavorful, nutritious Indian fare (like simmering-all-day dals, legumes and all manner of curries) in minutes instead of hours. Instant Indianfeatures numerous vegetarian and vegan options , and nearly all recipes are gluten-free.

With step-by-step instructions and color photos throughout, Instant Indian makes Indian cooking easy and fool-proof using all the functions of this popular appliance.

Amazon US / Amazon UK

REVIEW

Just like with my previous review of Bhattacharya’s books, when I was offered a chance to review this cookbook, I jumped on it.  Of course…I didn’t look very closely and realized after it arrived that I had signed up to review a book that was strictly recipes for an appliance I didn’t have.  *gasp*  I made plans to borrow one from a coworker, but as luck would have it a store nearby was going out of business.  So when they dropped all their stock to 50-80% off, I hightailed it over and snagged one of my own at about 1/3 the price (it’s an off-brand, but I’m not complaining…I needed a rice cooker anyway).  So while I was admiring my shiny new toy, I handed the cookbook to my 9 year old and told her to pick something she wanted to try.  About an hour later, she brought the book back open to a page and said, “This one.”  I was shocked, honestly.  It looked like a green, soupy mess that she normally wouldn’t touch with a hazmat suit on, but looking over the ingredients, I realized it was perfect.

I live in a rural, small town and finding the right ingredients can sometimes be a pain.  However everything on the list was something I could easily find in the local store.  She chose Saag Murgh (p. 174)…otherwise known as “Mom’s Chicken Curry with Seasonal Greens.”  It does ask for boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I knew I should snagged some from Costco), for which I subbed boneless, skinless chicken breast because I absolutely HATE deboning chicken.  I also realized (because I left my list at home) that I forgot the lime juice and didn’t get cilantro.  I subbed lemon juice for the lime juice and just eliminated the cilantro.  Also, because my kids complain about the spice-heat levels of food, I decided to sub paprika for cayenne.

Despite all these changes, it was still delicious and both munchkins approved and ate a full bowl.  My house STILL smells like this (rather delicious stew, not soup)…and I’m not complaining.  It is strongly reminiscent of Moroccan Harira in flavor profile.  The cinnamon adds a sweetness while the sauteed cumin seeds balance it with an almost smoky hint (that might be because there was an emergency of the 4 year old variety while I was sauteeing and they got a little dark…but I’m going with intentional).  All-in-all, this book will be added to the popular rotation for when we want something new.  I’ve already bookmarked a couple other recipes to try.

As for the book itself, I can’t really complain about anything.  Short stories about the development of each recipe are at the top, followed by the usual servings/prep and cook times.  Added to that is dietary notes, denoting whether a recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, etc.  I’d say a good chunk of the recipes are GF.  The instructions are simple and easy to follow.  Bhattacharya includes notes about how she goes about doing things (like using a food processor to mince leafy greens) and most recipes contain 3-5 steps total.  Something I do miss is that not every recipe has a picture, but the images that are included are well-placed and make everything look delicious.  The first chapter has some geographical background on cuisine and spice guide, while the second chapter lets you get truly adventurous with recipes for staples like your own yogurt, evaporated milk, spice mixes, and naan.

If you have one of these contraptions that everybody is ga-ga over, but are wondering how to incorporate a more interesting meal plan into actually using it, I definitely recommend Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya.  The cover isn’t lying when it says “Classic foods from every region of India made easy.”  I think my total  prep time was 20 minutes, and that’s because I hand-grated my ginger and realized about half-way through that my grater needs to have the blades bent back a bit.  Click the link above to grab your copy today.

About Rinku Bhattacharya

Instant Indian - Bhattacharya_pic.JPGRinku Bhattacharya (spicechronicles.com) was born in India, and now lives in a house with a vibrant backyard in Hudson Valley, New York with her husband, an avid gardener, and their two children. Rinku’s simple, sustainable approach to Indian cooking is showcased on her blog, Spice Chronicles, and in her Journal News column “Spices and Seasons.”
Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years, and works extensively with local area farmer’s markets on seasonal demonstrations and discussions. Rinku is also the author of The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles (Hippocrene Books, 2012), winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2013 for Best Indian Cuisine. She writes for the Poughkeepsie Journal, the Journal News, and several online sites, and is a frequent guest on CT Style TV.

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