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This Is The Instant Pot Butter Chicken You Need


Butter chicken is like the moo goo guy pan of Indian food. Unlike other recipes that were first made hundreds of years ago in some small village, passed down through generations from grandmother to granddaughter, this is a relatively new dish. In fact, it only dates back to Delhi in the 1950's, an invention of some chef at the Moti Mahal hotel but the Brits fell in love with this mild, flavourful curry and it is now one the most popular Indian dishes in the world.



I have been trying to perfect butter chicken in the pressure cooker for months now. I started out by trying other, popular butter chicken recipes and some of them were better than others. A couple called for using cornstarch to thicken a too thin sauce, which is just wrong in my book. None that I could find called for marinating the chicken in a masala before making the final dish and without that step, there is a depth of flavour that is missing for me.

 Now, I understand that the whole appeal of the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1  is that things take much less time to cook but skipping step of marinating the chicken in the yogurt masala, which imparts a huge amount of flavour to the finished dish, wasn't a corner I wanted to cut. Most of the recipes were just the sauce part with some chicken thrown in, often without any butter, sometimes no cream or cream substitute and I have even seen it made with *ACK* ketchup! I actually like it with coconut milk in place of cream and I usually use evaportated milk myself,  but no butter??? It's not called canola oil chicken, it's butter chicken, people. No butter, no butter chicken.

How to convert my own recipe for butter chicken to work in the pressure cooker?

One of the challenges when converting recipes for the pressure cooker is the fact that there is NO evaporation but you need at least 1 cup of thin liquid content in order for the machine to come to pressure. This can make cooking with thicker sauces that contain a lot of tomato a challenge. It takes a lot of messing up until you get the perfect balance by using bare minimum amount of liquid to obtain pressure. Once I got this one to a place where it seemed to work for me, I gave the recipe so some friends to make and I am happy to report that this recipe worked perfectly for all of them which means I can finally share it with you.

*I grate the onion, garlic and ginger because I find that onion is really overpowering in the pressure cooker if it's not well cooked and it also takes away the need to puree the sauce to make it nice and smooth, thus eliminating an extra step. I am finally really happy with this one and I hope you will be too. Oh and I add some frozen spinach for the extra water content AND a tiny bit of vegetable - I love spinach in curry so that part is not authentic in any way, but it's tasty and you can feel free to leave it out.


*This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon so if you click the link and purchase something, I do get a small percentage of the sale, which helps me to maintain The Yum Yum Factor.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken



serves 6-8

chicken and marinade:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1/4 cup tandoori masala (the powder, if you use the paste, adjust accordingly)
2" piece of ginger grated with a rasp
4 cloves garlic, grated with a rasp
pinch kosher salt
1 cup plain yogurt

sauce:
3 tbls ghee or butter
1 onion, grated on a box grater
2" piece of ginger, grated with a rasp
4 cloves garlic, grated with a rasp
1 tbls cumin
1 tbls coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp chili flake (or to taste)
1 19oz can tomato puree (if you don't have puree, use an immersion blender or throw them in a blender)
3/4 cup chicken broth
125g of frozen spinach

1 cup evaporated milk if you want to be healthy, cream if you don't care or even coconut milk 
1 tsp garam masala
a big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (reserve a bit for garnish)


Mix the yogurt with the ginger, garlic, tandoori masala and a pinch of salt and marinate the chicken in this for 1 to 24 hrs in the fridge

When it's time to cook the curry, heat your pressure cooker on sauce until it says it's hot. Add in the ghee and sauté the onion for a minute but don't let them burn, so stir constantly and add a bit of water if they look like they might be getting brown. Add in the garlic, ginger and spices and salute for another minutes, until it's really fragrant, before adding in the tomatoes and the chicken broth. Now, scrape in the chicken and the marinade but don't stir it and place the frozen spinach on the very top.

Put on the lid, make sure the vent is closed and program your pressure cooker for 10 minutes on high pressure and let it NPR for at least 10 minutes.

Open up the lid, add in the evaporated milk, the garam masala and cilantro and stir well. If it isn't as thick as you would like it, hit cancel and then hit sautee again and let it simmer a few minutes, stirring often, until its thickened up a bit.


Serve with basmati rice and more chopped cilantro

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