A Deliciously Different Instant Pot Recipe
A couple of months ago the following missive popped up on my newsfeed:
Everyone order one now! I just ordered a couple – one of them will be my upgrade. Go do it now! Nobody else has them listed this low.
The post was from Asima Mohammed, a witty and thoughtful fellow blogger who I knew best through her luscious recipes and gorgeous photos. But what was she advocating for with so much passion? I clicked through and there I saw it: The Instant Pot. This thing suddenly seemed to be everywhere – acquaintances on foodie groups were extolling its time saving properties and busy parents couldn’t stop talking about how, within minutes, a few frozen bits turned into delectable meal… and yet, despite all the buzz I still couldn’t figure out how it worked or what this magic actually was.
But now, Asima had recommended it! She said it was a good price! She bought more than one! I did need something life changing in the kitchen…
So, I bought it.
And while I was at it, I bought one for my Mama as well.
Yes, my Instant Pot purchases were made purely because this lady told me to make them and I am not ashamed.
The problem was, when the Instant Pot arrived, I had no idea what to do with it. I guess the best way to describe it is an electric pressure cooker but more – so much more.
My initial internet searches brought up hundreds of recipes for beans, rice, stew or cheesecake – none of which sounded worth the effort of setting up a new machine. So I messaged Asima to ask for one of her amazing recipes, with the condition that it could be made in the Instant Pot. Hopefully, I added, something that wasn’t beans, rice or stew. And in true big-hearted foodie fashion, she sent me this. Not only a recipe but also its history – definitely the best kind of cooking inspiration.
Simple but exquisite. I am so excited to share it with you. If you have any questions or queries on this recipe, please leave them in the comments, where we will ask Asima to answer them. Enjoy!
Baby Asima With Her Mother
The year was 1979.
My mother had just arrived from India as a young bride. It took her some time to adjust to her new life in Canada. She spent her days overcome with homesickness, along with some morning sickness, trying to adjust to her surroundings.
One of the things that would settle her stomach were sour raw mangoes that my father would bring home from Chinatown. She’d sprinkle them with red chilli powder and salt. Her other favourite was rice and yogurt with chunks of green chillies sprinkled overtop.
These two made up the bulk of her pregnancy diet. Till this day she’s surprised that my brother wasn’t born a chilli pepper.
It wasn’t long before she started craving the spicy and sour flavours of her childhood home, a province of India called Hyderabad. Just one problem: before coming to Canada, she had almost never set foot in a kitchen. She needed to learn how to make something that was good enough to remind her of home but simple enough that she wouldn’t mess it up.
Enter Keri ka Do Pyaaza. This is a dish made in Hyderabad in late spring from keri or raw unripened mangoes, loads of onions and very simple spices.
It eventually became a part of her meal rotation but not before she had her share of culinary disasters. On her first try, she purchased paprika instead of red chilli powder. Everything looked and smelled great, but definitely didn’t taste the way it did back home.
But maybe this is what it was like in Canada, she thought, adding it to the list of things she’d have to accept of her new life.
Eventually, my father’s newlywed guard came down and the day he commented that things didn’t taste quite right was the day she ran to neighbourhood aunties for help and discovered she was using the wrong spice.
I’ve adapted this recipe for the Instant Pot. In doing so, I’m sure I’m going to get side eye from Hyderabadi purists (and South Asian purists in general). But my heritage takes a backseat when the kids are screaming for attention.
So if you’re all about the ritual of cooking, this is not for you. But for anyone else, make it and love it. This is your final warning.
Keri ka Do Pyaaza : A Seasonally Made Lamb Curry Flavoured With Raw Mango & Fried Onions
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 pound (454 grams) bone-in lamb shoulder
Cut into pieces – any bone-in red meat will work but will need additional cooking time
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon red chili powder
This makes a slightly spicy curry so reduce the amount for less heat
½ teaspoon turmeric
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (50 grams) crispy fried onions –
I make a big batch of this every few months and keep it in the freezer but store-bought from the Asian grocers works as well
1 cup (250 mL) water
1 small raw mango, peeled and cut into big strips
A small handful of fresh coriander, split
Press ‘Saute’ and then immediately the ‘Adjust’ button on the Instant Pot to bring the red indicator to ‘More’ for the highest heat setting. When the display indicates ‘hot’ add the oil and sliced onions…
Add the lamb pieces along with ginger and garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally until the meat is slightly cooked and onions have softened.
Add the crispy fried onions and water…
Lay the raw mango strips over top with half the amount of fresh coriander. Close the lid and select the ‘Keep Warm/Cancel’ button and then press ‘Manual’ and the ‘—’ or ‘+’ button to set the time to 15 minutes. Turn the knob to ‘Sealing’ and walk away.
When it is done, the Instant Pot will go to “Keep Warm” mode automatically with a series of beeps. Allow the pressure to naturally release for about 10 minutes after which you can release the remaining pressure by carefully switching the knob to “Venting”. Remember to release the pressure somewhere with cabinet clearance!
Open the Instant Pot and and hit the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button and then press “Saute”. After setting aside half the amount of mangoes continue to reduce the sauce until it starts to thicken and the remaining mangoes continue to break down. Press ‘Cancel’ when done and add the mango pieces back in.
Serve sprinkled with the remaining fresh coriander and a side of rice or riced cauliflower.
Thank you, Asima, for sharing your treasured family recipe and making it easy for the rest of us. Asima Mohammed is a mother of two from Toronto, Canada. She blogs over at Borderline Paleo and Orange Tiffin. Her recipes aim to help people of South Asian descent eat healthily based on a primal diet, without sacrificing taste.