Why is your name Ashley? Aren’t you Indian?

There’s always a lot of confusion about my name. I’ve seen questions (on my social media) like, “what’s an Ashley” or “is Ashley a brand of condensed milk?” and have gotten many questions over the years about why my name is Ashley (as if I have any control over my name 😂 ).

I’m used to the questions though – I’ve been getting them since childhood. My parents named me Ashley because they were new to the US when they had me, and after dealing with their share of racism (like many immigrants), they decided to name me Ashley in hopes that I’d fit in. A few years later, they were more comfortable and named my younger brother Rishi. I think my mom still feels a morsel of regret over my name, and while I’ve always wondered what my name would be if they had waited to have me, I like being an Ashley.

Hopefully you know that a name doesn’t always determine your ethnicity (obviously). Anyway, I’m Ashley, and I share a lot of Indian recipes on my food blog.

How often do you blog?

I try to blog at least once a week, sometimes twice if my kids go to bed on time (hahaha). If you want to stay up to date with my latest posts, sign up for my newsletter.

Why do you share so many Instant Pot recipes?

Because I’m obsessed with my Instant Pot. Would you rather have dinner ready in 15 minutes or in several hours? Trust me; you need this appliance in your life – you can thank me later.

What size Instant Pot do you use?

I test all of my recipes using a 6 quart. Why? Because that’s the only size they had when they first came out and it’s the perfect size for my family. Also, I already spend a ton of time recipe testing – if I had to test every recipe in every sized pot, I’d never get anything done. If you’re wondering about the model I have and love – it’s this one.

Why am I getting a BURN sign on my Instant Pot?!

There are a few reasons this might be happening, but the first thing I’d suggest checking is your sauté setting. When you sauté, make sure your setting is set to “normal.” If you sauté on high, it can sometimes result in more burnt bits at the bottom of your pot. For my recipes, I always sauté on normal mode, unless I specify to sauté on high.

If you prefer to always sauté on high, be sure to stir more often and deglaze the pot with a bit of additional water before pressure cooking.

If that’s not the issue, check your seal, the silicone ring, or the valve on top.

I have a question about your 3-ingredient Gluten-Free Naan!

You and about a million other people, which is why I wrote an entire paleo naan FAQ post dedicated to answering your questions 🙂 There’s also a video in the post!

I have a question about your 2-ingredient Cheesecake!

What is it about my easy recipes getting so many questions lol 🤷🏽‍♀️ Check out this 2-ingredient Cheesecake FAQ post if you have questions about my Indian cheesecake recipe! And be sure to watch the video to see how easy it is to make!

Reader Interactions

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  1. Patti says

    Hi Ashley, 💐 thank you so much for your wonderful recipes! My husband and I are excited to try some, I’ll probably do the Chana Masala first. We will need to get the powdered mango and the roasted cumin seed, do you recommend any brands we would prefer organic on GMO. Also wondering if you offer a chicken tikki masala, that’s my husband‘s favorite. Thanks so much, all the best!

  2. Darryl Wise says

    I cannot see how to unsubscribe. Other than “you can unsubscribe at any time” BUT HOW AND WHERE

    If you find the link then unsubscribe me PLEASE !!

  3. Brooke says

    What is the serving size for your Tomato Curry? I see that it says it makes 4 servings but I’m just trying to figure out macros 🙂

  4. Sandra Mazliah says

    If you do t have your onion masala what do you substitute in the dish ? mine is frozen at home and i’m cooking g at a friends.

  5. Sarah says

    Hi Ashley,

    I’ve been making Indian curries for years. I love the complicated process of adding all the different spices, browning different ingredients, etc. The complexity and intricacy is mesmerising. Then I started having kids!

    I’m totally self-taught, having grown up in a middle-class, white American home in Austin. That being said, we went to eat Indian a lot, traveled to India as a family, and my mother did make “Indian” food which I now know was just curry powder added to lentils, but hey! Also I was always begging my Indian middle school friend to let me come over for dinner because her mom would make us friend cauliflower and other delicious things and I couldn’t get enough.

    All this to say, I had started to invent short-cuts, like freezing chopped onions in portions, and freezing self-made ginger garlic paste in mini muffin tins. So much easier to still have healthy, fresh and tasty food on the table. AND THEN: it is so obvious, and yet, it never occurred to me. Enter your onion masala! DUH and OMG rolled into one. Thank you so much! This minimises prep time so much, and -bonus – I don’t smell like onions and garlic every time I cook. 🙂

    Someday I’ll go back to leisurely evenings of wine and music and slow hypnotic cooking…. but it will be awhile till kiddos are out of the home. And that’s ok. For now, my German husband and sweet little and I will be enjoying Indian food on a regular basis, with even more time to play!

    Thanks and all the best to you and your family from Germany,

  6. Anushka says

    Hello Ashley,
    Not cooking related but I love your website!
    It’s so easy to use and navigate. I love the filtering system to find recipes quickly. I also love how you have suggested recipes that would be relevant to check out (like the ‘new here?’ On your about page). Also love your convenience focused approach and the sheer breadth of recipes you have available.

    I wanted to make a similar website, as a resource hub for climate action related articles. I was wondering if you could point me to how/where you made your website and a bit more about that development process. Thank you!

  7. Ferzana says

    Hi Ashley, I love your recipes and have been using them religiously. Your onion masala recipe is a life saver. I like to experiment with recipes and am trying to recreate healthy recipes that my family adopted from East Africa. One recipe in particular is Mandazi and barazi (African fried donut and pigeon pea coconut curry, which both go together). I am wondering if you have attempted to make baked yeast donuts that I can replicate for the Mandazi?

  8. Wynn says

    Please help!!
    Wanting to use your website but don’t understand your measurements. I’m having a hard time converting metric to ounces, tablespoon, teaspoon. Did attempt to make a dish but it was really awful because my conversion MUST have been off.
    Trying to make the onion masala. Thank you!

  9. Steve says


    I’m planning to do try some recipes this week, could you translate the cup in European metrics ? Is this valid : 1 cup = 240 ml ? 1 cup rice = 190 grams ?


  10. Shanthini Jayanthan says

    Hi Ashley
    I have a question about the Power Cooker Plus 8 quart Pressure Cooker I received recently. I have had my IP 6quart since March of 2017. Not sure I need to give that away and start using this new one. I cook mainly for two of us even though I cook more and freeze.,
    Any major differences or can I get used to this new one. Thank you

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Shanthini, I would keep the 6 quart – a lot of my recipes as well as others on the internet are tested using a 6 quart. I don’t own an 8 quart – I have a family of 4 and the 6 quart is perfect for us. Hope that helps!

  11. Willow says

    Would you please explain “naturally release pressure” that you say on many of your recipes. Do I leave it on “keep warm”? Or do I turn it off?
    I understand “open the valve to release any remaining pressure”
    Thank you so much Ashley!
    I’ve LOVED every recipe I’ve tried of yours!
    I even bought “Indian Food Under Pressure”, and I’m wondering… Are you going to make another book for us?!?! 😁

  12. Irene says

    Hi, I want the hard copy, but with COVID and freight to South Pacific, it makes more sense to buy an ecopy. My question is can I print a copy for myself. This is only for my personal use as looking at a hard copy is easier than staring at the screen. I do not intend to share the copy either so that I do not infringe copyright laws.


  13. George says

    Hi Ashley,
    I’ve made several of your Instant Pot dishes & I have onion masala in the freezer as we speak. My question is: Can I use frozen onion masala in the chana masala recipe?

  14. Alex says

    Hi. I’m brand new here. My question is this — for years now, I’ve had a fascination with Indian food. It’s by far the best tasting food EVER. My problem is it’s also quite possibly the worst for your health. Many, if not all Indian restaurants I’ve been to (I’ve tried a lot) soak their food in oil. I’m not okay with this. I’ve been on a quest to find a way to make Indian food without oil, but I haven’t found a way….yet….

    Is there a way to make Indian food without oil? And if so, does it still taste good? I don’t use oil to cook and I’m a vegan, so I have to be creative.

    Any ideas?

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      I find Indian food to be healthy when homemade. All restaurants (non-Indian as well) use a lot of oil, butter, cream, salt – to help make the food taste good. When you cook at home, you can control the amount of oil you use. You can use minimal oil for most recipes.

  15. Lavini says

    Hi! I love your site. How did you choose which kind of instant pressure cooker to get? Also which oils are your favorite to cook with in terms of healthiness and flavor? Thanks!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Thanks, Lavini! I have and love my Instant Pot Ultra – I’ve tried several models and use that most often. As for oils, I like to use avocado oil as a neutral oil for everyday cooking and then for certain recipes I like to use ghee or coconut oil.

  16. Latisha Connors says

    Hi Ashley,

    I am curious why you use meat in your recipes when there are healthier/more ethical alternatives available.


  17. RS says

    Hi Ashley,
    Love your website and also just got your book.

    I wanted to ask you if there are any additional instant pot accessories that you recommend getting. I know that you make a couple recommendations through out some of your recipes, but was wondering if you could summarise it in a list here for others that are curious. Thanks in advance!

  18. JR Copley says


    What a great well-organized site you have here! I’m a long time InstantPot owner and I’ve been trying to expand into Indian cuisine. New arrivals are appearing in my spice cabinet: hing! kamal namak! amchur! Even my local Indian market didn’t have ratan jot…

    My question is about what oils you rely on. Some oils will bring a distinct flavor and will be specifically called out in recipes (mustard, coconut, sesame ), but are there oils you would specifically recommend for or against in the case of general purpose use (i.e., not deep frying)? Avocado, olive, canola, peanut, basic vegetable; are all suitable?


    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi JR, thank you for the kind words! Love that you’re expanding into Indian cuisine 🙂 To answer your question, if I don’t specify an oil/fat (ghee, mustard, coconut) in a recipe, then any neutral oil will work. My go-to neutral oil is avocado oil due to its high smoke point. Keep me posted on what you think of any recipes you try!

  19. Lisa Banker says

    Hi! I love your recipes but always get the burn message when making the chicken biryani. What should I adjust so that I can get the chicken biryani right?

  20. Re says

    What size is the instant pot which you have been using in the recipe. I would like to buy one and want to make sure I get the correct size since on face book one post said that it gives a burn notice

  21. Susz says

    Ashley, I JUST found out about you…stumbled across you actually. Just bought your cookbook and can’t wait to cook. So very impressed with what Inhave read and seen. Thanks so much. Susz

  22. Alicia Mariscal says

    Our family loves your Indian food recipes, thank you! For the recipes noted as Instant Pot, what would the cooking instructions be if we were to make the recipes in the slow cooker or stovetop?

    • Mark Jonker says

      Hello Alicia, have you figured out yet how to translate a pressure cooker recipe to non-pressure-cooker? I’d love to hear it if you have!

      Thanks so much, Mark.

  23. John C says

    I’m assuming it is possible to make these recipes (which look terrific) without an instapot. By, for example, sauteing sauce ingredients first then adding chicken for the green pour over receipe. Is that right?

  24. Sashaa says

    Hi Ashley,

    I was just wondering if you could kindly clarify if when giving your recipes which require measurements in cups, do you use actual measuring cups itself or standard household cups (like water/tea mugs etc)?? Silly question I know but I don’t want to make errors with minor mistakes.

    Thanks in advance 😊

  25. Meena Ram says

    Hi Ashley, does your cook book include recipes for instant pot (new to instant pot world) or it just for electric pressure cookers?

  26. Catherine says

    Wondering about the burn message? I only get it when I have cooked the Aloo Gobi. I am not sure if then it should be cancelled and opened, and then restart the time. I once let it go and waited and the vegetables were cooked and not very burnt. Maybe more water at the start??
    Love all your recipes that I have cooked. I must say I only really use my Instant Pot for Indian food, but use it very often. The chicken Briyani is to die for. Love it.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Jeyanthi! Unfortunately I don’t have a hard copy of my paleo ebook — but I have heard from others who have bought the ebook and printed it out as a workaround. I hope that helps!

      • Senthurselvi says

        Hi Ashley,
        I have tried few of your recipes they were awesome.I wanted to buy an instapot. I’m in India..i just wanted to know will there be any difference in instapot and electric pressure cooker with settings?

  27. Shalini says

    Hi Ashley,

    If you want to double or triple the quantity of ingredients making it for more ppl, how does the cooking time vary for IP. Does it still remain the same as mentioned in your recipe index.

    Reason I am asking this is because I hv got 8 war IP at home brought solely for the purpose to use for parties. But now looking at so many posted recipes I would really love to start using mine which is still kept in the cupboard. Would appreciate if you can get back with this. Thanks

      • Shalini says

        Hi Ashley,

        Many thanks for getting back. Will definitely give it a go and might come back to you if I hv any issues. Hope it’s ok😊.

  28. Eve-Marie says

    Wow! I came across your website looking for some kind of bread and tried your naan recipe. I can’t achieve perfection like yours, but the taste is just so good. I’m looking at all your recipes and drooling. My only selfish regret is that you don’t have to be nithshade free, I bet you would find a way to make amazing dishes even with the restrictions.
    I’m soooooo signing up for your newsletter!
    Thanks for sharing your talent et creativity.

  29. Lisa McCave says

    Hi, Ashley ~
    I’m a new subscriber (as of yesterday) and I’m so impressed and excited about all your tantalizing recipes! I’ve spent tonite reading them all and marking ‘favorites’. Yum. You know, some people are just MEAN. I think your pictures are perfect, your blog is so fun and full of your personality. I wouldn’t say your photos aren’t good….Geez. Anyway, I’ll be trying your recipes – the chai, the saag, almond milk, butter chicken, shrimp curry…and as many of your mom’s treasured recipes. Great timing about how to grow garlic scapes as ‘they’ are cooking w/garlic scapes tonite on “Chopped’ and Mom is growing a garlic scape this week. Funny how the Universe brings things together. Karma is gfreat! Thank you so much for all the time you put into your blog. So creative! Lisa

    • My Heart Beets says

      I’m so glad to have you as a new subscriber!! And thank you for the support 🙂 I’m happy that you have so many recipes on your list – please let me know how they turn out for you when you make them!

  30. Ashley says

    I can’t express how super excited I am to stumble across your blog. I love love love the flavor of Indian food and have been hunting for a good paleo Indian cookbook for several weeks to no avail. So thank you for the all the work you have obviously put into this site!!

  31. Adrian says

    I think your website is wonderful! I had to go on a gluten free diet several years ago and I can’t wait to try your recipes. All of your recipes meet my dietary restrictions. I am also a UVA grad but many years before you and my son graduated from UVA this past spring and he told me about this website as I believe he knows your brother.

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Ashley's Secrets



Favorite tips & tricks to

easy & delicious Indian cooking