This Tandoori Chicken Curry is impressively easy thanks to the beloved Instant Pot and impressively flavorful thanks to the beloved tandoori spices. This is a fool-proof 30 minute meal just in time for back to school season. It is paleo-friendly, gluten-free and can be made keto as well.
What Is Tandoori Chicken?
The term tandoori is traditionally used to describe food cooked in a tandoor oven. A tandoor oven is essentially a very large clay pot with a centralized exhaust hole. These types of ovens are used throughout the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and even parts of Central Asia and China.
Although we obviously won't be using a tandoori oven in this recipe (hence the Instant Pot in the title), we will use a tandoori spice blend. Tandoori masala is usually a blend of ginger, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, garlic, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and cloves.
Traditional tandoori chicken is marinated in yogurt and tandoori spices and then roasted in the Tandoor oven.
This recipe uses coconut milk to make this Tandoori Chicken Curry paleo friendly and an Instant Pot to make this recipe user friendly. But, it still has the awesome flavors of those tandoori spices and can be made with very little effort.
What To Expect
You can expect tender, juicy chicken thigh meat seasoned with the warmth of tandoori spices. Even with the balance of the creamy coconut milk this recipe is rather spicy.
The chicken will fall apart when cooked and the spices, juices from the chicken and coconut milk will create a rich curry sauce that the chicken can marinate in.
How To Serve This Curry
You will remove the chicken from the Instant Pot when it is done. Add the tapioca starch to the coconut milk and whisk to thicken. Shred the chicken and then return to the crock. This will take minimal effort because the chicken thighs are very tender.
Allow the chicken to soak in the sauce for 5-10 minutes before serving. This will give it an opportunity to soak up some flavor and will let the sauce thicken a little as the coconut milk cools.
Piling on this pulled chicken and rich and spicy sauce on to a bed of rice or cauliflower rice makes for an easy and obvious combo. Adding veggies to fried rice is never a bad idea and then topping with the chicken and the sauce. You could also make a simple veggie stir fry with bell peppers, onions, broccoli or any of your favorite stir fry vegetables.
If you do gluten, garlic naan would be a phenomenal pairing. For all my paleo friends, here is a well loved paleo naan recipe. Not quite the real thing, but still a good option!
This recipe does not involve any prep. You literally just add the ingredients to the Instant Pot, stir and wait for it to cook. This is what you will need:
- Measuring spoons
- Slotted spoon
- Two forks
- Instant Pot
Can I Make This In The Slow Cooker?
Absolutely! Simply all ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook for 4 hours on high or for 6 hours on low.
How Do I Make This Recipe Less Spicy?
If you are sensitive to heat, you might be wondering if you will need to tone down this recipe a bit. Tandoori masala is, in fact, a blend of spices and might be a little hot for some people.
To take off most of the heat, you can reduce the cayenne pepper. Although several spices in this spice blend contribute slightly to the heat level, removing the cayenne pepper will make the most significant difference for someone with a low spice tolerance.
Can I Freeze It?
Yes! This is one of my freezer meal stashes for when baby come this October. To freeze, simply allow chicken curry to cool entirely in the fridge then transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month for best quality. When ready to enjoy just thaw and reheat.
Can I Use Frozen Chicken Thighs?
I have made this recipe using frozen chicken thighs and did not need to increase the cook time at all. With that being said, the chicken thighs were only mostly frozen and not pulled directly from the freezer.
If using chicken that is frozen solid, you may need to cook a few minutes longer when allowing the natural release of steam. Always check the internal temperature before eating.
- Paleo Curry Chicken Salad
- Curry Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- Tikka Masala Chicken Meatballs
- Instant Pot Carrot Ginger Soup
Feel free to leave a comment and a rating below. Feedback is always appreciated! 😊
Instant Pot Tandoori Chicken Curry
- Instant Pot
- Slotted spoon
- 2 lb Chicken thighs
- 1 can Coconut milk
- 2 tsp Garlic powder
- 2 tsp Coriander
- 2 tsp Cumin
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Cayenne pepper Reduce to make less spicy
- ½ tsp Ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp Ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp Ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp Pink Himalayan salt
- 2 tbsp Honey Omit for Whole30 or sub for a tsp of pure stevia for keto
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 tsp Tapioca starch
- Combine the coconut milk, salt, spices, honey and tomato paste in the crock of the Instant Pot. Whisk together. Add the chicken thighs.
- Close the lid and seal. Set to the "meat" setting or high. Cook for 10 minutes pressurized and 5 minutes natural release.
- Remove the chicken from the crock using a slotted spoon. Set aside.
- Add the tapioca starch and whisk to allow the curry sauce to thicken. Add the meat back in.
- With two forks, shred the chicken in the crock. Allow the chicken to marinate in the sauce for 10 minutes with the heat off.
- Stir and serve with rice or cauliflower rice.