Michael’s Instapot Chicken Tikka Masala

Last year, I started teaching a night class for a few weeks before each ACT. And I loved getting to interact with kids from all different schools and meet some great personalities along the way. My little “side hustle” became one of the best parts of the week.

Today, for the second time, I connected with one of my favorite pairs of kids via Zoom. They didn’t make fun of my celebratory dance when my technology worked perfectly. (In case you’re wondering, I successfully worked math problems on my shared iPad screen and I felt like Sal Khan for a minute there! It was seriously SO cool).

Deciding to expand my second job involved a lot of marital discussions. I’m usually the one at home getting supper ready and checking off on homework in the evenings. But we both knew working a few nights a week could provide a lot more opportunities for my family than we can make happen on two teacher salaries.

At first, my kids ate a lot of take out on nights when I worked. And honestly, I was usually as happy to see that Little Caesar’s box as anyone. No dishes, right??

But the BEST was when Michael mastered one of his favorite Indian take-out dishes. This is almost certainly NOT the most authentic recipe out there, but we love it. It seems like a lot of ingredients, but most of them are spices (and if you can’t find the garam masala, let me know… he ordered it in bulk and I can leave extra on my porch!). It comes together fairly quickly and my kids and I all love it when he pulls out the Instapot for this one!


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
  • 1 can tomato sauce (get measurement)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • For serving: rice, chopped cilantro, naan


  • In a large pan on the stovetop or an Instant Pot turned on to the Saute setting, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook over medium to high heat until translucent (8-10 minutes). Add the spices and stir until fragrant.
  • Add the chicken and stir well to coat with spices. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the tomato sauce. If you are using the Instant pot, cover and cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes and vent OR (if you’re doing this on the stovetop, cover and simmer 45 minutes.
  • Uncover and stir in the coconut milk. Turn the Instant Pot back to saute (or turn the heat back to medium if you are doing this on the stove top) for 10-15 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off and let cool for 5-7 minutes. To avoid curdling the yogurt, remove a small portion of the sauce to a separate bowl. Stir the yogurt into this small portion, then add the warm mixture to the big bowl.
  • Serve over rice with naan.
the master chef!


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