Confession? I never really liked Indian food until I went to India in 2011. Well, it’s not that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t love it. If a group of us were sitting around wondering what to get for takeaway for dinner, I’d just fall silent and hope they’d choose Thai or Turkish. If Indian was chosen, I’d eat it and enjoy it but if I was home alone and ordering food in, I would never choose Indian.
I was naturally quite worried about travelling to India. The thought of eating curries for every meal for two weeks didn’t thrill me but once I got there I decided to just try everything and really go for it. In the second part of my trip, I discovered Southern Indian food which is quite different from Northern Indian food. Northern Indian food is what Western Indian food is based on – lots of curries and breads and stronger flavours. Southern Indian food is all about lentils, stews and dahls and (to my incredibly untrained palette) seems to have a more delicate yet complex range of flavours. Did that sentence make me sound like a food blogger? I do hope so.
Interestingly at the end of my trip, I was totally over my slight aversion to Indian food and now I love it. I liken it to immersion therapy, like you know when you shove your hand in a tank of spiders to get over your fear of spiders? We travelled to very remote areas of India where you literally ate curry for every meal (including breakfast), so I didn’t get a break from those strong flavours the whole time I was there. We found a restaurant that served french fries one day and ordered them by the plateful and when they came out they were sprinkled in curry powder. We couldn’t escape it but it lead to me really enjoying both eating and cooking Indian food. Which thrills Mr Smaggle because he’s is a fiend for it and now he doesn’t have to convince me to have it anymore. He loves traditional curries so I try to make him one at least once a week. I also meal plan on Sundays so we have a few meals sitting around for heating up easily if we’re having a busy week.
This week, I made (my extremely lazy and not very Indian style) pressure cooker butter chicken (Indian curries are next level when they’re done in a pressure cooker) with caulirice and oven baked greens. You can have yours with regular rice, lentils, dahl… whatever takes your fancy!
This pressure cooker butter chicken recipe is super quick and easy. Perfect for when you have people over for dinner. I made this for Mr Smaggle and two of his mates one night and they at 6 serves between the three of them, that’s how good it is. I also chuck a few microwave papadums in on the side because it makes the meal a bit fancy you know?
What you need – serves 6
1 kg chicken thigh fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil for cooking
2 tablespoons tikka masala paste
1/2 cup water
2 x 420gm jars or packets of butter chicken flavoured simmer sauce (I used the Sharwood’s one from Aldi that comes with a spice packet in the lid but any store bought simmer sauces will be fine, just make sure you have enough for 1 kilo of chicken according to the instructions on the packet)
150 mls pouring cream
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of corn flour or xantham gum to thicken
1 large head of cauliflower
2 x large heads of broccoli
What you do
1. Turn pressure cooker on to ‘saute’ setting and heat oil in bottom of pan. Heat tikka masala paste in pan until fragrant.
2. Dice chicken thighs into 2cm pieces. Stir-fry for 5 mins on ‘saute’ setting, making sure to coat chicken pieces thoroughly in the tikka masala paste. (Optional: If your simmer sauce comes with a dry spice rub, add this now.)
3. Add butter chicken simmer sauce and half a cup of water. Select ‘low pressure’ setting, seal the pressure cooker closed and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Chop cauliflower into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until cauliflower resembles breadcrumbs. If you’re eating it straight away, drizzle a little water over cauliflower and pop it in the microwave for 2 mins. If you’re meal prepping, just put the cauliflower raw into your containers – it’s will cook when you heat up the butter chicken to eat it!
5. Chop broccoli or broccolini into small pieces, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven at 170 degrees Celsius for around 20 minutes or until it looks nice and crispy.
6. By this time the butter chicken should be ready to go – you can either use the quick release to get rid of the steam or let it happen naturally if you have the time.
7. Remove lid from the pressure cooker, select the ‘simmer’ setting. Add pouring cream and stir to combine. Add one teaspoon of either corn starch or xantham and gum and stir until it thickens.
8. Serve with caulirice (or regular rice!) and your side of greens.
I usually make this for dinner on a Sunday night – we eat two serves fresh and then I pack up four serves for lunches or easy dinners during the week. We just bung em’ in the microwave and dinner’s on the table in like 5 mins. And there’s zero clean up. Honestly, meal planning is life. Get on it.
I bought a pressure cooker earlier this year and I use it about 5 times a week so I’ll be publishing more pressure cooker content on Smaggle. Here’s a chicken soup recipe I did that’s out of this world and way more fancy than this pressure cooker butter chicken recipe… in case you’re after something a little less basic.