Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken

Cook Date: December 4, 2018

I’ve been including pressure cooker posts on my blog since April 2014 so I got an early seat on that bandwagon. That said, I think I’m the last person on the planet with a pressure cooker who has not made butter chicken – an Indian dish made famous by Urashi Pitre. In January 2018 The New Yorker crowned her the Butter-Chicken Lady.   If you are on FaceBook or other social media you can find literally hundreds of links to her recipe along with literally hundreds of raves. So, somehow the dish welled up in my consciousness and I knew I had to cook it. You can find the recipe on her web site here.

This dish is all about the spices. I knew the spices were the heart of this dish and the profile really piqued my interest. My cooking wheel house is American, western European, and Mexican cuisines. When I looked in my spice cabinet I had most of the spices but some were too old to pack any real flavor. Some of these spices are expensive and I thought twice about getting a bottle of garam masala just to use a couple of teaspoons and then have it sit in the back of the cabinet for the next 6 months. I know that whole spices – as opposed to ground – last longer. So maybe I could go that route. Then I read in the recipe that Urashi recommends making your own garam masala. So I headed over to Penzey’s spices to get some of the ingredients I needed. 

Ingredients for Garam Masala

The cardamom surprised me. It comes in pods – Urashi recommends using seeds from green or white pods. Yeah, the seeds come in pods so I had to pull the seeds out of the pods – which took a bit of time but wasn’t too difficult.

Cardamom pods for the seeds

I portioned out the garam masala ingredients.

Ingredients for Garam Masala

If I wasn’t taking pictures I wouldn’t separate all the ingredients into separate ramekins. I was working on my flash photography on this shoot so I took pictures from different angles.

Ingredients for Garam Masala

Into the spice blender they go.

Ingredients for Garam Masala

Voilá! We have garam masala. It smelled strictly delish.

Garam masala ready for including in butter chicken.

That was just step 1. I knew this would really jump start the dish but it isn’t required. Check the bulk spices section of your local grocer and see if you can buy the bit you need. 

The garam masala is just one part of the final dish – there are lots of other spices and ingredients in the final dish. The recipe calls for cilantro as well but Carla has the gene that makes it taste like soap so we exclude it if we can.

Butter chicken ingredients sans the chicken and cilantro – which we don’t use

Yeah, you see that correctly: butter AND cream. Urashi’s started her blog as part of a radical diet change a few years ago and this doesn’t seem to fit that profile. But am I complaining? No way!

I used every last ramekin I could to set up the mise en place. Like the garam masala most of the ingredients can me combined in the pot. The garam masala is divided into two 1-teaspoon portions and the butter and cream are held until the end.

Butter chicken mise en place

Everything except the butter, cream, and 1 teaspoon of garam masala is stirred together in the pressure cooker and put the chicken on top. Then we cook on high for 10 minutes with a 10 minute natural pressure release. Pull the chicken out and let it cool; then cut into bite sized pieces. Use an immersion blender to combine the sauce. After the sauce has cooled a bit, stir in  the cream and butter, then add back the chicken and rewarm. Serve over rice. 

Urashi and others suggest reserving half the sauce for using with with cooked chicken for left overs, We didn’t do that; while there was a lot of sauce it was great to mix with the rice and/or sop up with the naan we warmed up in a cast iron skillet. Dinner is served.

Dinner is served – Butter chicken

We liked it but be aware it is quite rich. I still have some garam masala I made so we’ll have it again this winter. Definitely great for company

Rating:  ★★★★

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