Instant Pot: Punjabi Chicken Curry

February 19, 2021 1 Comment

Instant Pot: Punjabi Chicken Curry - Indian As Apple Pie

'This is the best f*&^-ing thing you've ever made in that contraption.' My husband loves food. Punjabi food. And, he gets to the point. I've been working with the Instant Pot for over a year, and this was the first recipe that really got him excited. The others have been good, but you don't mess with his chicken curry. And in the slow cooker it's so amazing that it was tough getting the flavors just right in the electric pressure cooker. 

What makes this recipe different than other chicken curry recipes for the pressure cooker and others versions I've tested the last few months? A couple of things. For a true Punjabi version of the dish, use methi - dried fenugreek leaves. It truly makes a difference. If you can't find this ingredient, no worries, skip it. But, as soon as you have a chance to get to an Indian grocer or go online for it, buy it and use it. Marinate your chicken in spiced yogurt - that's key. And, water. This recipe should have gravy or curry. It's essential. Many recipes call for only 1/4 cup of water, but this one uses 1 cup. It makes all the difference in the world. 

Punjabi Chicken Curry 
Pressure Cooker Size: 3 quart or larger
Warm Up: 13 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Cool Down: 10 minutes plus manual release time
TOTAL: 33 minutes plus manual release time
Makes: 4 – 6 servings

½ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (dairy or alternative)
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lightly hand crushed to release flavor (optional)
1 tablespoon salt
2 pounds bone-in skinless chicken (drumsticks, thighs, breast) (boneless can also be used)
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1 pinch hing (asafoetida) (optional)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
3 whole cloves
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
1 cassia leaf or 2 bay leaves
1 small yellow onion, pureed
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, pureed
3 cloves garlic, pureed
2-4 Thai or serrano chiles, stems removed and minced or pureed
1 medium tomato, pureed
1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste
1 cup water

1. In a large mixing bowl add the yogurt, garam masala, red chile, coriander, methi, and salt. Stir well.

2. Add the chicken. Stir again until all pieces are coated completely. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour to overnight. It is not essential that you marinate the chicken, but it does develop a deeper flavor.

3. When you are ready to cook, place the inner cooking pot in your Instant Pot. Select the SAUTE setting and adjust to MORE. When the indicator flashes HOT, add the oil.

4. Once hot, add the hing and cumin. Stir well and cook 40 seconds until the seeds are reddish brown. Because the oil pools to the sides, push the spices into the oil along the border of the inner pot so they can cook fully.

5. Add the turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Cook 30 seconds.

6. Carefully add the onion. The moisture can cause the oil to splatter. Stir well. Cook 3 minutes.

7. Add the ginger, garlic, and fresh chiles. Cook 1 minute.

8. Add the tomato and tomato paste. Stir and cook 1 minute. Press CANCEL.

9. Add the chicken along with the excess yogurt marinade. Stir well. Add the water. Stir again.

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 10 minutes.

11. Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Then, manually release the remaining pressure. Serve with basmati rice or Indian bread like roti or naan.

Why should you consider pureeing your key ingredients like the onion, ginger, and garlic? It makes for a smoother gravy later. Here's a video with some tips. If you like this video, consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel. 

1 Response


February 06, 2022

This recipe was so easy to follow, and the results were phenomenal! I (unfortunately) have a negative reaction to cooked onions, so I substituted pureed zucchini to help account for the moisture & add some additional nutrients. There was so much flavor from the spices & other aromatics that I didn’t miss the onions, and cilantro acted as a tasty garnish. I’m excited to make this over and over again, even when I’m not in a hurry. Thank you Anupy :)

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