Instant Pot chicken Tikka Masala - Indian Chicken Curry made with Roasted Chicken thighs simmered in a delicious curry sauce.
You will find both instant pot and stove top versions below.
This is a Quick version of Chicken Tikka Masala which takes about 30 minutes to make. Traditionally this dish would take anywhere between 1-4 hours.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala is the most recognised Chicken dish of Indian cuisine.Tikka Masala along with butter chicken are the gateways curries into Indian cuisine.
It's a dish that's on every Indian takeout menu.
In simple words- It's grilled chicken simmered in a rich gravy.Though there is nothing simple about it..At least the authentic resturant version.
The right way to make it is to marinade the chicken in a yogurt and spices for 24 hours and then grill in a hot tandoor(a type of Indian barbecue) and then adding that to a rich spicy gravy made with onions and tomatoes.
Chicken Tikka Masala & Butter Chicken
These are two completely different dishes but made with similar ingredients.Here is my recipe of Butter Chicken.It's really better than take out, sometimes even in india!Goes wonderfully with naan.
Usually the Chicken in butter chicken is not grilled but cooked in the gravy.The other big difference is the temperament of the gravy.
Butter Chicken is mild, sweet tasting and Chicken Tikka Masala is bold & Spicy with tangy undertones.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
The ingredients are simple, if you have an indian pantry.If not then I have some swaps which work great too.
Chicken Thighs- Skinless Thighs cut into 1 inch pieces.You can use Chicken breast too but it will get overcooked because of the double cooking.if using chicken breast, use the whole breast, follow the same process and after the cooking is done, cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces
Yogurt- Full fat Greek Yogurt works best.You can replace it with hung curd.For a dairy free version, skip the yogurt altogether and use cashew cream to thicken the gravy.Scroll below for a dairy free version.
Onion- you can use white or yellow onions.
Tomatoes-if you can't find fresh tomatoes, skip this ingredient and add more puree or pasata.
Tomato Passata / Puree - You can use diced tomatoes too but the gravy will be chunky.Instead, you can puree the diced tomatoes and use in the same way as passata. Homemade fresh Pureed tomatoes might not give the same kick but will work as well. Do not use tomato paste- that's concentrated tomato puree and the sauce wont work out the right taste.
Spices- Turmeric and ground Chilli are the mainstays here.You can use any mild ground chilli from your area like paprika.Garam masala though important, can be skipped if you are new to indian cuisine and don't have it on hand.
Chickpea Flour- This thickens the marinade and makes it coat the chicken better.You can replace this flour with all purpose flour or almond flour or arrowroot flour for a gluten free version.
Dried Fenugreek Leaves or Kasoori Methi- This ingredient adds a whole lot of umami to the curry.If you are serious about indian cuisine,then you should search for it and find it.Otherwise, skip it.
Heavy Cream- You can use cashew cream instead.Scroll below for a dairy free version.
How to make Chicken Tikka Masala in Instant Pot
Though the list of ingredients is long, it is quite simple.Ingredients which you can get easily in any super market.
Just whisk the ingredients together and add Chicken Thighs.Let it marinate for 20 minutes to 24 hours.
You can also freeze this marinated chicken for later use.
Char the Chicken
Heat the instant pot in saute mode.Add Oil once its hot.Wait for 1-2 minutes so that the oil is heated through.
Add the half the Chicken to the hot oil.Do not disturb and let it char slightly for 4-5 minutes.Flip and repeat the process with rest of the Chicken.Add more oil if needed.
Deglaze- When you saute in instant pot, especially char anything,there are chances of the BURN message.To avoid that, you need to make sure that the residual burnt bits are dislodged from the inner pan properly.Do to that, you need to add a liquid and using a silicon or wooden spoon, scrape the bottom.
Other issue with Sautéing the Chicken in the Instant Pot is that its slow and doesn't result in the same kind of char you get on a pan, on stove top. You can do this step on stove top if you wish.It would be super fast and much more efficient.
This is the part that makes the curry.Saute the onions, garlic and ginger till tra
Hacks and Tips to make Chicken Tikka Masala
Here are a few hacks,tips and tricks when you want to make chicken tikka masala.
Reuse - You could also order take out Tandoori chicken, freeze the left over and make chicken tikka masala later when you need a quick pick me up.
Saute in Cast Iron Pan- For the best kind of browning on the chicken,use a cast iron pan.This is the best alternative to actual tandoor.
Vegetarian Version of Tikka Masala- The same technique and gravy can be used for vegetarian version too.Think Mushroom or Paneer Tikka Masala.
Stove top Version- Follow the recipe on stove top in a similar manner.Instead of pressure cooking, simmer the chicken in the gravy for 20 minutes,covered.
Dairy Free Chicken Tikka Masala
A dairy free version can be made very easily with a few swaps.Coconut cream and coconut milk are not the right substitutes here.
Substitute for Butter- Ghee is a good substitute because its lactose free.For a vegan version, use oil.
Substitute for Yogurt- Skip this ingredient all together and marinade the chicken in the spices and lime juice.Proceed as directed in the recipe.
Substitute for Dairy Cream- Substitute with cashew cream here.To make it at home, soak ½ cup cashews in hot boiling water.When it comes to room temperature, drain water and blend to make a smooth cashew cream.
Keto Chicken Tikka Masala
A keto version would be to simply replace the chickpea flour with arrowroot flour or almond flour.You can even skip the flour if the yogurt is thick enough.
Increase the amount of butter and heavy cream to get a more filling, high fat curry.
How to serve Chicken Tikka Masala
Usually, Chicken Tikka masala is served with hot, just off the grill Naans.It usually has a quick onion and cucumber salad plus a dry vegetable stir fry like cauliflower or potatoes and the most famous, Dal Makhani or Kali Dal.
You can also serve over white Rice or Jeera Rice
Here are some more Indian Instant Pot Curries
Also find how to make a Menu around chicken tikka masala and what to serve with chicken tikka masala
- Cast iron pan or a non stick pan.
- 2 tablespoon Oil Mustard or Sesame Oil or any other everyday oil.
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 1 teaspoon Oil
- ½ Cup Onion white or yellow
- ½ Cup Diced Tomatoes canned or fresh
- 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri Chilli Paprika.
- 1 tablespoon Ginger Garlic
- 1 Cup Tomato Passata** or puree or 1.5 Cups paste of fresh Tomatoes(not tomato Paste)
- ¼ Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 teaspoon Dried Fenugreek/Kasoori Methi)
- Mix the turmeric, salt, chilli, ginger and garlic paste, lime juice, chickpea flour, garam masala and yogurt together.
- Add the chicken thighs, mix to coat evenly and marinade in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to 24 hours.You can also freeze the marinated chicken at this step.
Instant Pot Method
- Select the SAUTE mode.Once its hot and smoky, add oil.Let the oil become hot for 10 seconds.
- Add the marinated chicken thighs, one piece at a time.Wring the excess marinade while adding it.
- Do not move or disturb for 4-5 minutes.Flip and cook the other for side 1 minute.
- Repeat the process till all the chicken is charred.This step can be done in a skillet on stove top too.
- Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon oil.
- Add Onions and saute.Add ginger Garlic.Cook till translucent for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato puree.Deglaze the instant pot with a silicon or wooden spatula.See the video for more information ,also read the notes*.
- Add Ground chilli and Coriander powder.
- Add ½ cup of water along with the charred chicken.
- Close the pressure cooker and pressure cook for 3 minutes.
- Open switch to saute.Add heavy Cream and fenugreek leaves and bring the gravy to boil.
- Serve hot with naans and rice.
Stove top Method
- Heat a flat pan or a pot with flat bottom or skillet.Add 2 tablespoon of oil.Let the skillet become hot and smoky.
- Place the marinated chicken one by one on the skillet.Wring the chicken to free the excess marinade.
- Add the half the marinated chicken thighs.Do not disturb for 3-5 minutes.Flip and char the other side too.Repeat for the rest of the chicken.Set the chicken aside.
- To the same pan, Add butter and onions.Saute lightly till the onion is translucent.
- Add tomatoes and saute till they soften.
- To this, add tomato puree and all the spices- Coriander powder and ground chilli powder and salt.
- Add the charred Chicken and mix it up.Also add ½ cup of water.Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Add Cream and dried Fenugreek leaves.Give is a mix and bring it to boil.
- Serve hot with naans or Rice.