This Instant Pot chicken curry is an unbelievably tasty homestyle recipe with an earthy onion and coconut-based curry loaded with spicy warm flavors of fresh ginger, garlic, turmeric, and garam masala.
This chicken curry is a family recipe that I grew up eating many Sundays. Our family mostly ate vegetarian meals while Sundays were special for nonvegetarian meals. I might fall short of words trying to describe my mom’s chicken curry. This is not your usual restaurant curry. It is a perfectly spiced curry with earthy flavors from the spices, a comfort food, and a treasured recipe packed with mom’s love!
Instant Pot Chicken Curry Recipe: Expert Tips
- This recipe uses mom’s garam masala but I have made it using the simple 5-ingredient garam masala and it is equally good.
- The curry paste in this recipe has incredibly deep flavors, can be made-ahead, and used as a base in many other curries. The curry paste also freezes well, so make a double batch.
- Although this recipe can be made on the stovetop I would highly recommend using Instant Pot as the chicken will consistently cook to perfection. Never over or undercooked. The saute function also works perfectly for making the curry paste.
How To Make Mom’s Chicken Curry In The Instant Pot
This recipe has three steps. All of the details are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. First, I have even more tips and information with step-by-step photos so you can make it along with me.
Part 1: Pressure cook chicken in green spice paste
- Turn the Instant Pot to sauté mode and heat the oil. Add asafetida and turmeric powder. Carefully add the ginger-garlic-cilantro-mint paste to the oil. Be careful as the oil could splutter out. Sauté for a minute. Add chicken, onions, and salt. Mix well, coating the chicken with the spices (photos 1 and 2).
- Add 1 cup of water and mix well. Close the Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Set to Manual (Hi) for 8 minutes. Open the Instant Pot after 10 minutes of Natural Pressure Release (photos 3 and 4).
Part 2: Make the curry paste with onions, coconut & spices
- In a medium pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add diced onions and cook for 10 minutes, on medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the onions turn golden brown.
- Add coconut and cook for another 5 minutes on medium-low heat as the coconut browns very quickly. Turn the heat off and allow it to cool.
- Once the onions and coconut have cooled down, add them to the blender and make a smooth paste using 2 to 3 tablespoons of water or as needed.
- Next, add oil to the same pan that was used to roast the onions. Add the pasta and cook it until the oil starts to separate from the sides, stirring frequently.
- Then add remaining spices – turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, garam masala and mix well. Cook for another minute and turn the heat off.
Note: This Masala Paste can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 5 days or can be frozen for extended shelf life.
Part 3: Stir the curry paste in cooked chicken
- Gently fold in the Curry Paste to the cooked chicken. Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and bring the chicken curry to a full boil.
- Turn Instant Pot off. Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with parathas, steamed basmati rice and a glass of cooling mango lassi!
I would not have tried making this recipe in my Instant Pot if not for my mom. Check out the full video in the recipe card to see the process making mom’s tasty chicken curry!
Yes, it is perfectly safe to cook chicken in the Instant Pot. That is exactly how I made my chicken curry. The steam cooks it completely.
The best way to store leftover chicken curry is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 5 days. If you want it to last longer, I suggest freezing it. It will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Chicken should be cooked until it is 165 degrees F.
There are a few different ways to thicken the curry. The best way is to cook down the liquid in saute mood at the end. You could also add a thickener, but this is more difficult to do, so I suggest turning it to saute mode and cook the liquid down if you need to.
More Chicken Curry Recipes to Try:
- Chicken Karahi – EASY homestyle curry with flavorful ginger & spices
- Chicken Kheema – Served sloppy Joe style or over rice, use any ground meat of your choice in this versatile Keema recipe
- Butter Chicken – Healthier version with same authentic taste
- Chicken Tikka Masala – Better than restaurant and easy to make at home this chicken tikka masala is everyone’s favorite
- Chicken Kofta Curry – Homemade chicken kofta’s perfectly spiced with ginger, garlic, spices and then steamed in a spicy curry sauce
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Mom’s Chicken Curry
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 teaspoon asafetida
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 inch fresh ginger cut into 5-6 pieces
- 12 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint chopped
- 4 pounds whole bone-in skinless chicken pieces (3-4 inch pieces)
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 4 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for Curry Paste:
- 2 tablespoon oil divided
- 2 cups red onions diced
- 3/4 th cup dry unsweetened grated coconut
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoon red chili powder
- 1-2 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a medium pan add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add diced onions and cook for 10 minutes, on medium hight heat, stirring frequently until the onions turn golden brown. Add coconut and cook for another 5 minutes on medium low heat. Allow to cool down.
- Once cooled, add the mixture to a blender. Add half a cup of water and blend to make a smooth paste. Return the paste to the pan.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook this paste on medium high heat until the oil starts to separate from the sides. Add the remaining spices – turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt. Cook on low heat for a minute, stirring the curry paste frequently so it does not stick to the pan. Keep aside.
- In a small blender jar or food processor, make a fine paste of ginger, garlic, cilantro and mint by adding 2 tablespoon of water. Keep aside.
- Turn Instant Pot to Saute(more) mode and heat oil. Add asafetida and turmeric powder.
- Carefully add the ginger-garlic-cilantro-mint paste to the oil. Be careful as the oil could splutter out. Saute for a minute.
- Add chicken, onions and salt. Mix well, coating the chicken with the spices. Add 1 cup of water and mix well.
- Close the Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Set to Manual(Hi) for 8 minutes.
- Open the Instant Pot after 10 minutes of Natural Pressure Release. Add the Curry Paste and gently fold it in the cooked chicken.
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and bring the chicken curry to a full boil. Turn Instant Pot off. Garnish with more cilantro. Enjoy hot with chapati, naan and rice.
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