This Authentic Pakistani Instant Pot Chicken Curry (Aloo Murghi ka Salan or Aloo Chicken) recipe includes bone-in chicken and potatoes and requires less than 30 minutes of total prep time. It has simple ingredients, minimal chopping, and no complicated steps. Bonus: The potatoes and chicken cook at the same time!
Classic Pakistani Chicken Curry
If you’ve ever wanted to taste a simple chicken curry you’d find in a typical Pakistani home, this is it. It’s authentic in that most Pakistani and Indian households have some version of it.
There’s always the browning of the onions, the stir-frying of the chicken (called ‘bhoon-na‘), the addition of garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and green chili peppers (order varies from family to family). And of course, we have the usual suspect spices like turmeric, red chili powder, etc. Garnish with cilantro and garam masala.
What I’ve done here is taken this homestyle, beloved chicken curry and adapted it to the Instant Pot so it’s easier, simpler, and much more 2020.
How to make Pakistani Chicken Curry (Murghi ka Salan) in an Instant Pot
To make this chicken curry with potatoes in an Instant Pot, you brown the onions and stir-fry the chicken just like you would over the stovetop. But after that, it’s a dump-and-go situation.
The best part? There’s no sautéing at the end. You just manually release the pressure and garnish. I’ve added the perfect amount of liquid so that the end curry has just the right consistency. Of course, if you prefer more or less ‘curry’, just adjust the water quantity.
To save time and effort, this recipe uses your food processor to chop the onions, then tomatoes. I’ve found that the rough purée of tomatoes gives a wonderful texture. Of course, you could just manually chop the ingredients, but I love making this easy curry even easier. When I’m feeling lazy, I chop my green chili peppers (this makes them a tad spicier), cilantro, and even garlic/ginger in there.
Adding Potatoes to the Chicken Curry
I grew up eating this chicken curry with potatoes, and to me, the potatoes are as essential as the chicken. They make it more wholesome, textured, and somehow complete.
In the traditional method of cooking, when the chicken is just cooked through, you add the potatoes and cook until they’re completely tender.
In this recipe, the potatoes get cooked alongside the chicken, so we’re only pressure-cooking once! I know what you’re thinking – the potatoes will be way overdone. And you’re right, they are pretty well done. But that’s just how we like them. Plus, we are cutting them into large chunks, so they’ll hold up well (more on that below).
How to cut potatoes for this curry:
Of course, there is no exact science to cutting your potatoes. But since you are pressure cooking them alongside the chicken, they’ll need to be cut into large chunks so they stay intact. How you cut the potatoes depends on the size of the potatoes.
- If you’re using 3 small potatoes, you can just quarter them (cut lengthwise, then widthwise).
- For 2 medium potatoes or one large potato, quarter the potato lengthwise, then cut into large (about 2″) cubes.
If you prefer smaller cubes of potatoes, you can still use them by cooking the chicken first and then adding the potatoes. For bone-in chicken, you’d cook the chicken for 8 minutes, then add the potatoes and pressure cook another 2-4 minutes, depending on their size.
Using Boneless Chicken instead of Bone-in for Instant Pot Pakistani Chicken Curry
If you want to make this with boneless chicken (chicken thighs, breast, or tenders), you certainly can.
I suggest these changes if you’re using boneless chicken:
- Pressure Cook for 6 minutes on high pressure instead of 12 minutes.
- Reduce the liquid to 3/4 cup instead of 1.
- Feel free to cut the potatoes in smaller chunks if you prefer.
What should you serve with this Chicken Curry?
We grew up eating this chicken curry atop a bed of basmati rice with green peas. It was a simple, yet complete meal I’d always be delighted to see on the dinner table. Of course, you can also serve it with roti, naan, or any other bread.
If you’re looking for more Instant Pot recipes, be sure to check out my Instant Pot Recipes Roundup.
More Chicken Curry Recipes:
Instant Pot Pakistani Chicken Curry
- Instant Pot
- Food Processor (Optional)
- 1 medium onion roughly chopped to fit in food processor
- 1 medium or 2 small tomatoes (140-160 g) roughly chopped to fit in food processor
- ¼ cup
neutral oilsuch as avocado or grapeseed
- 1 lb bone-in, cut up, skinless chicken (See notes for boneless) cleaned and excess skin removed
- 3-4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1/3 inch ginger crushed
- 1 small green chili pepper stem removed and thinly sliced
- 1 ¼ tsp salt or to taste
- 2 small russet potatoes (320 g) peeled and cut into large chunks
- ¼ tsp whole coriander seeds optional
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 5-6 whole black peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- ½ tsp mild red chili powder or to taste
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp cumin powder
- ¼ tsp coriander powder
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves chopped
- ¼ tsp garam masala
- Place the onion in a food processor and use the pulse function to chop it finely. Remove and set aside. In the same food processor, add the tomatoes and chop into a rough purée.
- Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot. Once hot, add the oil and onions and sauté until the onions turn lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until the raw smell disappears, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with 2 tbsp of water. Add the chicken and fry it until it changes color, about 5 minutes, deglazing the pan if it starts to stick to the bottom. Add the whole spices, ground spices, salt, green chili pepper, and tomato. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add the potatoes along with 1 cup of water*. Mix well.
- Cancel Sauté to turn off the Instant Pot. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook setting and cook at high pressure for 12 minutes*. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Once safe to do so, open the lid and taste and adjust salt. Garnish with garam masala and cilantro. Stir gently as the potatoes will be very tender. Serve with rice, roti, or naan.