Finally! All your burning Twosleevers butter chicken questions answered here! Everything from trouble shooting, substitutions, meal prep, questions about my audacity in creating such a simple Indian dish–everything you always wanted to know and more, answered in one handy-dandy FAQ.
No other dish I have made in my Instant Pot has led to as many questions as my Instant Pot Now and Later Keto Indian Butter Chicken. And that makes me very happy. I thought I’d put in all the questions I get into a handy dandy FAQ to make this easy. Please let me know if you have other questions/answers you’d like to see added.
Well, let’s start with what they have in common.
Neither of them is probably truly Indian dishes. But they’re both delicious so who cares? Here’s my view of the differences between Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala:
*Butter chicken doesn’t have onion in it. Tikka masala does have it
*Butter chicken is largely tomatoes, butter, and cream. Tikka Masala is onions, tomatoes, and in my recipe, a carrot for body. But it has a thick sauce that is vegetable-based.
*Tikka means a piece of meat. So the best way to make Chicken Tikka Masala is to make the Tikka Bites either separately or as part of the recipe.
There are probably as many differences in opinion on this topic as there are people, but this is a good start.
Well so is Chicken Biryani. So is Lamb Rogan Josh. So is Carne Adovada. So are a lot of other dishes–if made following traditional methods. But not when I make them.
I’m a trained scientist (Ph.d. in Experimental Psychology). I understand the basics of food chemistry. I spent a lot of time and a lot of trials to reproduce authentic tastes with minimal efforts.
You’re welcome. So try it before you knock it.
There are a few ways to spice up this dish if it’s too bland for you.
a) Increase cayenne pepper
b) Increase garam masala
c) Check your garam masala to see if the ingredients in it correspond to what’s in my garam masala recipe. This is the number one culprit for bland Butter chicken after following this recipe.
d) Make Chicken Tikka Bites instead of plain chicken and add those to the sauce.
This happens if you add the butter and cream before the sauce has had a chance to cool down, causing the sauce to be to thin. Next time, wait a little before adding them.
For the love of Butter chicken, do not add corn starch. Just put the sauce in the freezer for a few minutes or the fridge for a while, and it will thicken up just fine.
I would highly recommend you make your own. If you buy the whole spices I recommend in my garam masala recipe you can use those for other spice mixes on this site.
Whole spices keep well for a year or more. Ground spices lose their intensity after about 6 months, so if you buy whole ones, you can make different mixes and have them taste fresh.
If you prefer not to make it, I would recommend either The Spice House garam masala, Penzey’s garam masala, or small batches from places like Trader Joe, Sprouts, Central Market, etc.
You can also try this Rani Garam Masala.
Do NOT use Private Collection, which is nothing but Paprika, and very red
Indian Grocery stores carry brands such as Shaan, Badshah, and MTR that work well.
People have successfully quadrupled the recipe with no problems.
If you double it, please double all the ingredients, not just the chicken.
You do not need to increase the time under pressure. The pot will take longer to come to pressure, but once it is under pressure, the cooking time is the same
Yes, you can substitute bone-in chicken thighs. Add 1 minute to cook times
If you’re using chicken breast, be sure to cube it into smaller pieces so it will cook at the same time as the recipe calls for.
Yes, you can use frozen chicken. The pot will take longer to come to pressure. Increase cook time under pressure by 1 minute just to be sure.
This won’t work if your chicken is frozen into one big lump. You will likely have to cook it once, open the pot, and re-cook it.
The best thing to do if you want to cook frozen chicken in your Instant Pot, is to freeze it flat in individual pieces.
I wouldn’t do that although I know people do it. I think it makes a blander sauce.
I also have heard of people drinking the sauce on its own, so there’s never any leftover anyway (you know who you are!)
a)Yes to tomato purée.
b) Yes to crushed tomatoes
c) Proceed with caution on tomato sauce, as it might burn. Add 1/4 cup of water if in doubt.
d) Proceed with caution on fresh tomatoes, as they might burn. Add 1/4 cup of water if in doubt.
Either omit or use parsley. This dish doesn’t rely on cilantro for all it’s flavor so it will be fine.
a) Tofu: Add 1/4 c water to the sauce while pressure cooking. Add tofu after the sauce is cooked.
b) Soy curls: See the vegetarian version of Butter Chicken here.
c) Paneer: Add 1/4 c water to the sauce while pressure cooking. Add paneer after the sauce is cooked.
d) Shrimp: Add 1/4 c water to the sauce while pressure cooking. Add shrimp after the sauce is cooked and let it heat through and cook.
e) Vegetables: Add 1/4 c water to the sauce while pressure cooking. Add steamed veggies after the sauce is cooked. Do not add veggies like potatoes that soak up water as you cook this. If you cook vegetables for 10 minutes until pressure you will likely have baby food, so heed my advice and add them later.
f) Chickpeas: Use canned chickpeas.
People have successfully substituted the following:
•Earth balance or other vegan butter
•Half and half
•Milk (thin sauce, I do not recommend)
Well, both of those help a lot with the flavor. I suggest you try it once with the proportions suggested.
Next time, try cutting those by whatever amounts make you comfortable, and see how you like it.
a) Immersion blenders are wonderful, safe things to use when dealing with hot liquids so I highly recommend them. This is the one I have but this one is also good.
b) Technically you could blend the sauce in a blender, but hot liquids + blender = high disaster potential so be careful.
c) You can make this with crushed tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes, but you may have a little scorching.
d) You can use a wire whisk to blend in the tomatoes after they’re cooked.
e) You can leave the whole, but your sauce won’t be as thick.
Yes. Place a steamer rack on top of the sauce. In a heat-safe pot, add 1 cup rinsed and drained basmati, 1 cup water, salt and ghee. Cover the pot with a silicone lid or foil./ Place on top of steamer rack and cook chicken and rice as directed.
You can watch a video here to see how I do it with mashed cauliflower as well.
Very well to both questions, but I would not recommend re-pressure cooking it as the sauce may separate.
Just use stove-top or easier still, your microwave to defrost it.
This is SUPER FAMILY FRIENDLY and kids seem to love it.
a) Reduce Ginger
b) Reduce Cayenne pepper to 1/4 teaspoon. Most people only reduce cayenne and it seems to work.
c) Reduce Garam Masala
If you’ve never had Indian food before, this is the perfect place to start. Indian Butter chicken is flavorful and spiced, but not spicy.
If you hate curry, you’re probably responding to ready-made curry powder. This doesn’t use curry powder.
If you are unusually sensitive to cinnamon taste, this may taste very cinnamony to you if your garam masala has too much. If you’re allergic to cinnamon, omit that from the garam masala and use 1 teaspoon of allspice berries instead.
Invite a friend that you know loves Indian food, and try it so the food won’t be wasted and your friend will be happy 🙂
If all else fails, lie to your family and say this is an Italian (substitute cuisine of preference here) dish and see if they notice.