While living in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world (Toronto) for fifteen years, I was often asked about my ethnic background. Nearly everyone I knew was first, second, or maybe third generation Canadian. (I was literally the only white girl in my high school graduating class.)
I’d answer, “Canadian,” and they’d say, “pffft, nobody is just Canadian. Where are your grandparents from?”
I then explained that I was honestly probably the whitest white girl they knew (in so many ways, my white-girl dancing not the least of them), and that my ancestors settled in the east coast of Canada in the eighteenth century, and that my heritage includes a smattering of European countries such as Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Germany, and so on. My best answer is that I’m 1/8th Irish, and a hodgepodge of randomness after that.
All of that to say: if you’re wondering why the whitest white girl you know is posting a mild chicken curry recipe, you can rest easy. I didn’t make it up myself.
I grew up adoring this chicken recipe that my mom made often, and she originally got it from a friend who grew up in India. (<– Finally a higher level of authenticity. Phew!) I’ve tweaked it a bit over the years and finally settled on this version.
It was different from our usual simple fare, and yet totally mild enough that we could handle it. (And yeah, we’re not breaking any stereotypes here, I know. Just roll with it.) Not much heat in this one (you could add it, of course), but it’s bursting with amazing flavour, and it remains one of my favourite dishes to this day. My hubs and kids all love it too.
For years I’ve typically baked this dish in the oven, which is fairly straightforward, but since I’m all about the instant pot these days, I decided to adapt it.
And guys – it works like magic. It may even be better in the instant pot because the chicken really takes in the rich flavours of the sauce without drying out at all.
Try it ASAP. It’s your new favourite. (Seriously.)
Instant Pot Mild Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
- 1 large onion diced
- 6 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1/4 c. coconut oil butter or avocado oil would work fine too
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- 1/2 t. turmeric
- 1/2 t. paprika
- 1/4 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. cloves
- 1/4 t. cumin
- 1/4 t. ginger
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 t. curry powder
- 1/2 t. chili powder
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup coconut milk I use the Aroy-D brand because it has no unwanted ingredients, like guar gum
- 12 boneless chicken thighs you can use any cut of chicken, really. Adjust time accordingly for bone-in.
- With the Instant Pot on the sauté setting, add oil and onions. Let them soften for around two minutes, then add garlic. (Note: I find that the sauté setting on my IP gets a bit hotter than when I sauté on the stovetop, so if you find that your onions are browning too quickly and not softening nicely, you can add half a cup of water. Bone broth works too.)
- Combine spices in a small bowl, then add to pot.
- Add tomatoes and coconut milk, and stir. (If you have a tomato-picky kid like I do, you could probably use strained tomatoes instead of diced. If you try it, let us know how you like it in the comments below.)
- Add chicken, and stir to coat the pieces with the sauce.
- Set to manual mode for 14 minutes.
- Let pressure release naturally (if you're crunched for time, you can do a quick release.)
- Serve with your favourite sides, and enjoy! (We like it on rice, with a couple of veggies on the side.)
2. This is a very flexible recipe, so tweak to your heart's content if that's your thing. For example: if you want it creamier, go ahead and dump in the whole can of coconut milk instead of just 3/4 cup. You could try strained tomatoes instead of diced if you have a kid who's picky about cooked tomato texture. You could tweak the spices slightly according to what you have on hand, and it'll probably still be delicious as long as you have most of them (especially the main ones). And of course, use whatever cuts of chicken you want.
3. To use frozen chicken pieces instead of thawed, add 4-5 minutes on the timer, and be sure to check for doneness using a meat thermometer.
4. OVEN INSTRUCTIONS: if you don't have an instant pot and want to use your oven: follow the above instructions as written, except when it says to saute in the Instant Pot, saute on the stovetop instead. Then, add all other ingredients except for chicken, stir to combine, and pour over chicken in a casserole dish. Bake in a 400F oven for as long as appropriate for your cut of chicken.