Instant Pot: Chicken Tikka Masala

January 15, 2024

Instant Pot: Chicken Tikka Masala

Instant Pot: Chicken Tikka Masala 
Pressure Cooker Size: 3 quart or larger
Warm Up: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Cool Down: 10 minutes natural release + manual release
TOTAL: marinating time + 5 minutes simmer + 40 minutes + manual release time
Makes: 4–6 servings

¾ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (dairy or alternative)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, pureed
6 cloves garlic, pureed
1 tablespoon paprika (unsmoked)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 2-inch pieces or skinless bone-in pieces
1 small yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
2-4 fresh Thai or serrano chiles, stems removed
¼ cup unsalted tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons blanched sliced almonds (optional)
¾ cup water
1 medium tomato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
1 pinch hing (asafoetida) (optional)
2 green cardamom pods, crushed slightly in a mortar and pestle (use husks)
¼ cup half-and-half, heavy cream, or plain unsweetened yogurt (dairy or alternative), add later
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced, for garnish

1. In a large mixing bowl add the yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, paprika, cinnamon, and black pepper. Stir. Add the chicken and stir until all the pieces are coated. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour or overnight. When you are ready to cook, set the bowl of marinated chicken on the counter to slowly return to room temperature.

2. In a food processor, grind the onion, fresh chiles, tomato paste, garam masala, coriander, red chile, salt, brown sugar, almonds, and water until smooth. Add the tomato and pulse until broken down but not completely smooth. Set aside.

3. Place the inner pot in your Instant Pot. Select the SAUTE setting and adjust to MORE. When the indicator flashes HOT, add the ghee, hing, and cardamom. Stir and cook until the ghee starts to melt, about 40 seconds. If cooking on the stove, do the same in a large, roomy pot. 

4. Add the mixture from Step 2. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Follow these steps if cooking on the stove. 

5. Press CANCEL. Carefully remove the inner pot and place on a heat-resistant surface. Once it is cool enough to handle, remove the contents to a bowl. Be sure to scrape the bottom to loosen anything stuck. If cooking on the stove, skip this step. 

6. Return the inner pot to the base. Place a trivet in the pot and place the marinated chicken pieces on it. Discard any marinade left in the bowl. Pour the masala from Step 5 over the chicken. Do NOT stir. If cooking on the stove, simply add the chicken into the pot. 

7. Lock the lid into place and make sure the pressure release valve is set to the sealing position (upwards). Press the PRESSURE COOK button and then press the PRESSURE LEVEL button until the panel reads LOW. Adjust the cook time to 15 minutes. If cooking on the stove, simmer the chicken, stirring occasionally between 10 - 12 minutes until cooked through. 

8. Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Then, manually release any remaining pressure, press CANCEL, and remove the lid.  Let your dish sit uncovered for 2-3 minutes to slightly cool. Remove the trivet with tongs, add the cream, and stir until all the chicken pieces are coated. The cream holds up better if your dish cools slightly. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with basmati rice or Indian bread like roti or naan. For added flavor and crunch, garnish with sliced fresh onion and fresh chiles. All the spices including the cardamom husks are edible but remove and discard the husks if you prefer. If cooking on the stove, simply add the cream, stir, and garnish with the cilantro. 

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