Anupy's Instant Pot Butter Chicken

March 25, 2021

Anupy's Instant Pot Butter Chicken - Indian As Apple Pie

Here is my first take on my Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe, translating my recipe from page 145 of my book The Indian Slow Cooker to the electric pressure cooker. My family loved it. And when I say loved it, I mean literally devoured it. There are a couple of things I modified for the pressure cooker. For butter chicken you truly want a smooth, buttery sauce. The way I do this without compounding the work is first by pureeing the onion, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes in my food processor. Here is a video from my YouTube channel if you would like to watch me do this. Secondly, I blend my curry right in my Instant Pot after I make the tarka and cook the fresh ingredients. While I tend to blend this after cooking it on the stovetop before adding the main protein or vegetable, it's key to do it as this point so you can keep everything in one pot and you can cook your chicken without having to take it out later and then have to add it back again. Also, if you blend after the cooking process, you will have to leave your chicken in whole and then cut it after - which reduces the absorption of flavor on the back end. 

Now, keep in mind, in all my cookbooks I include mostly vegetarian dishes with chapters on meat. Every meat dish has vegetarian and vegan tested tips. Because I am largely a plant-based eater, I only give you recipes that I have tested thoroughly, why so many of my fellow plant-based eaters love my books. In my world vegetarian and plant-based cooking is not an afterthought. I will have the plant based version of this dish for you soon. It's already in my head, but I have to play around with it before I feel comfortable to share it. 

As you know, I am sharing recipes from my upcoming cookbook The Indian Instant Pot. Do email if you have any questions or want to sign up to be an official recipe tester. anupysingla@indianasapplepie.com. 

Desi Corner: Butter chicken is referred to as Murgh Makhani in Punjab. The story goes that its origins come from the legendary Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi. Regardless, it's a dish eaten more in restaurants than in homes in India and ordered even more in restaurants now outside of India. If you live in the West, most likely this one of your first introductions to Indian cuisine. 

Anupy's Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Pressure Cooker Size: 3 quart or larger
Warm Up: 8 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Cool Down: 10 minutes plus manual release time
TOTAL: 33 minutes plus manual release time
Makes: 4 – 6 servings

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (dairy or alternative) or ghee
2 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle *
1 cassia or bay leaf
1 black cardamom pod
¼ cup almond flour **
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 small yellow onion, pureed
1 (3-inch) piece ginger, pureed
6 cloves garlic, pureed
2-4 Thai or serrano chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, pureed
1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste
6 cloves, ground in a mortar and pestle
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup water
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken, cubed
½ cup half-and-half or heavy cream (dairy or alternative)
¼ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

1. Place the inner cooking pot in your Instant Pot. Select the SAUTE setting and adjust to MORE. When the indicator flashes HOT, add the butter, cardamom, bay leaf, and black cardamom pod. Cook until the butter has melted and is sizzling, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the almond flour. Stir and cook 40 seconds.

3. Add the turmeric. Stir and cook 30 seconds.

4. Carefully add the onion. The moisture can cause the oil to splatter. Stir well. Cook 2 minutes.

5. Add the ginger, garlic, and fresh chiles. Stir and cook 2 minutes.

6. Add the tomato and tomato paste. Stir well and cook 5 minutes, scraping off any product stuck on the bottom of your pan. Press CANCEL.

7. Once cool enough to handle, remove the bay leaf and black cardamom pod and set aside (leave the green cardamom in). Using an immersion blender, process the mixture until smooth. You can also transfer it to a blender to process and then return to your pot.

8. Return the bay leaf and black cardamom. Add the cloves, garam masala, cumin, red chile, paprika, brown sugar, salt, and water. Stir well.

9. Add the chicken and stir again until all the pieces are coated.

10. Lock the lid into place and make sure the pressure release valve is set to the sealing position (upwards). Press the PRESSURE COOK button until the panel indicates MORE and adjust the time to pressure cook on HIGH for 15 minutes.

11. Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Then, manually release the remaining pressure.

12. Open the lid and let your dish cool for 2-3 minutes. Once slightly cool, add the cream and stir well. The cream holds up better if your dish has cooled slightly. Add the cilantro and serve with basmati rice or Indian bread like roti or naan.

* I like to leave the husk in because it adds flavor. When you blend the mixture, it gets broken down and breaks down even more during the cooking process. If you prefer, just take the husks out.

** I like adding almonds to my butter chicken for a creamier sauce, and almond flour is an easier way to do this. If you avoid nuts, then just leave this out. You can also replace it with the same amount of all-purpose flour to add a little thickness to your dish or ½ cup blanched, sliced almonds ground first in a food processor until smooth.

STEP 8: Here is what it will look like. Here, I am adding all my spices into the sauce that has already been cooked and blended down. Blending it down early means the chicken can go in in pieces to soak up as much flavor as possible. If you find this video helpful, consider subscribing to my Youtube Channel. 


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