Instant Pot Indian Cooking: Chicken Tikka Masala and Aloo Gobi

If there’s one thing that my wife and I enjoy, it’s Indian cuisine, and Instant Pot Indian cooking is da bomb! While we enjoy other dishes, two of our all time favorites are chicken tikka masala and aloo gobi. I’ve tried a number of different recipes for each (cooked with or without my trusty Instant Pot), but the results were disappointing…until now!

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve tried quite a few chicken tikka masala recipes, most of them for the Instant Pot, but most of them fell flat: some smelled great but tasted like cardboard, others smelled and tasted okay but had runny, watery sauce. Bleah. So, when I came across the chicken tikka masala recipe from SavoryTooth.com, I had to give it a try.

This is an easy recipe to make, and the combination of Greek yogurt marinade for the chicken and the cup of cream added at the end give the sauce a wonderful creamy finish. The spice mixture was almost spot-on for our palates, although I didn’t add quite as much chili powder to curb the heat a tad.

Recipe Modifications: 1) I used boneless skinless chicken thighs rather than breasts as I normally do with chicken recipes, because they’re less expensive and breast meat often tends to come out dry. 2) If you like this dish with a bit less heat, I’d only add 1/2 tsp of pepper to the chicken marinade and cut back the cayenne pepper to about 1/8 tsp. Otherwise, the spice balance is just about spot on. In my humble opinion, of course!

Instant Pot Aloo Gobi

I’ve also been searching for an easy aloo gobi recipe, for the Instant Pot or otherwise, and think I’ve found just the one for me in this aloo gobi rendition from MinistryOfCurry.com. This is really close to some of the restaurant styles we’ve had, although it doesn’t have a lot of oil (or ghee) like some do – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing health-wise! Just like the aloo gobi, this recipe is really easy to make.

Recipe Modifications: 1) I would recommend trying just 1 minute under pressure with this recipe, and probably 2 at most. Since there’s not a lot of liquid added to the pot to start with, it takes a while for the heat to reduce enough liquid from the potatoes and cauliflower to allow the Instant Pot to come up to pressure, and our cauliflower even at 2 minutes was nearly disintegrating. 2) I used half a can of diced tomatoes instead of the two plum tomatoes because I happened to have that already open in the fridge, and you could certainly get by using a whole can if you enjoy more tomatoes in your aloo gobi. 3) I LOVE garam masala, and added the extra for a total of 2 tsp. 4) I didn’t have any Kashmiri chili powder on hand (something I’ve since rectified!), and so cut back the chili powder to 1/2 Tbsp. That gave it just about the right amount of kick without burning my hair off.

A Word About Spices

If you enjoy Indian food or are inspired by your Instant Pot to try some, you will wind up using a LOT of certain spices that will cost you an arm and a leg if you get those little dinky bottles at the grocery store for $3 and up a pop. If you want to save yourself a ton of money over time, I’d strongly recommend stocking up on larger quantities. These are the ones I added to my pantry, and I haven’t been disappointed:

Basmati Rice

Who would eat chicken tikka masala without some Basmati rice to go with it? Okay, if you’re that ONE person out there who does, I’m gonna smack you…but seriously, Basmati is the perfect complement to chicken tikka masala and many other Indian dishes. While the Instant Pot can make rice just fine and you can sometimes cook rice using a pot-in-pot method, depending on the cook time of the other dish you’re making with it, I have to confess that I almost always make rice in the microwave with my Progressive Rice and Pasta Cooker. The rice cooking instructions that come with it work really, really well, but MAKE SURE to rinse the rice first using a strainer like this one. It’s a bit of a pain, but it’s worth it.

Of course, naan is also a staple to eat with Indian food, but that’s something we have to – sadly! – skip over because my wife has to eat gluten free and I have yet to find a decent GF naan recipe (if you have any suggestions, please let me know!).

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