The one spice Madhur Jaffrey always adds to her Indian curries

When the queen of Indian cooking, Madhur Jaffrey, couldn’t find the Indian chili varieties she wanted in America, she improvised and learned where to shop and what to substitute instead. On “Salon Talks,” Jaffrey shares her tips for bringing color and spice to dishes from her new book “Madhur Jaffrey's Instantly Indian Cookbook: Modern and Classic Recipes for the Instant Pot”.”

To achieve a very red color, but not so hot taste, Jaffrey explains, she adds pure Kashmiri chilies or Byadagi chilies from India to her recipes. When she can’t find them in specialty stores, she instead opts for dried paprika for its rich look.

Jaffrey also shares a chili history lesson, explaining that India didn’t start harvesting the chili until around the 15th century. “There are many regions that have their own chili. Once we [India] got the chili, we just said come on babe, we can do a lot with you! It came into India, and it almost replaced black pepper.”

In Jaffrey’s latest cookbook, she’s sharing her tips for achieving authentic, fast Indian cuisine (especially on weeknights) using the popular Instant Pot. “Madhur Jaffrey's Instantly Indian Cookbook: Modern and Classic Recipes for the Instant Pot” includes Jaffrey’s special spin on the Instant Pot rice recommendations, specifically for Indian Basmati rice.

Watch the video above to learn more about the history of the chili in Asia. And watch the full episode to hear Jaffrey dive into how she wrote her Instant Pot cookbook.

About “Salon Talks”

Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on

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