Instant Pot Indian Butter Chicken Can Be Yours in Less Than 30 Minutes
As you get comfortable making beginner recipes in the Instant Pot like eggs and salmon, it may be time to graduate to slightly more complex cookery and seasonings. However, you really want an expert to guide you when you’re exploring world cuisines like Indian food. One of our absolute favorite Instant Pot cookbooks is The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook ($20) by Archana Mundhe. The cookbook is authorized by Instant Pot itself, but we’ve cooked through at least a dozen of its recipes and can attest to its awesomeness. We’re particularly smitten with the butter chicken, so we asked Mundhe if we could pretty please make it in our test kitchen and photograph the steps as we believe this is a fundamental recipe you’ll want to make over take-out. She happily agreed.
We love this recipe, because it pressure cooks in 5 minutes and simultaneously steams the rice on top of the tomatoey, spicy chicken. Score! We like buying Trader Joe’s naan in the freezer section and toasting it in the oven, slathered with plenty of turmeric-y ghee. You can also spread butter and sprinkle on a little powdered turmeric as well.
Instant Pot Butter Chicken RECIPE
(Serves 4 to 6)
Total Cook Time: 35 minutes
Recipe Notes: Use chicken breast or thighs — dark and white meat turn out lovely in this recipe. Specialty spices like Kashmiri red chile powder and fenugreek leaves can be ordered online or found at Indian supermarkets or healthy grocery stores. Sugar, although optional, is recommended as it will cut through the acidity of the tomatoes. We added coconut sugar to our version.
Butter chicken, also known as chicken makhani, is more like a treat than an entrée — and quite possibly the most popular dish at any Indian restaurant. This heavenly, creamy curry highlights the robust flavors of Kashmiri chile, dried fenugreek leaves, and garam masala. Served with classic basmati rice and naan, this dish evokes excitement on any menu.
*The unsweetened coconut cream used in the recipe (not to be confused with the sweetened coconut cream used primarily in cocktails) can be found canned in grocery stores. It can be replaced with the cream from a can of regular full-fat coconut milk. Put the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours or in the freezer for 5 minutes to separate the cream from the water, then open the can and scoop off the cream from the top of the coconut water.
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved and patted dry
- 1 cup canned tomato puree
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chile powder or another mild red chile powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 cup canned coconut cream*
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 1/2 cups water1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the ghee. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Add the chicken, tomato puree, water, ginger, garlic, chile powder, salt, garam masala, and turmeric and stir to combine.
2. To make the rice: In a 1 1/2-quart stainless-steel bowl that will fit in the Instant Pot, stir together the rice, water, and salt. Place a tall steam rack in the pot, making sure its legs are resting on the bottom. Place the bowl of rice on the rack.
3. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 5 minutes at high pressure.
4. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot. Using heat-resistant mitts, place the bowl of rice on a trivet and remove the tall steam rack.
5. Add to the pot the coconut cream, tomato paste, fenugreek, and sugar and stir to combine. Select the high Sauté setting and cook until the curry comes to a boil and is heated through, about 2 minutes. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot.
6. Spoon the rice onto plates and ladle the curry over the top. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.
Reprinted with permission from The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook, copyright © 2018 by Archana Mundhe. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
(Photos via Brittany Griffin / Brit + Co)