Instant Pot Curry Chicken || Coconut Curry Chicken (Paleo, Whole30)

 This chicken curry is aromatic, mildly spiced and flavorful! The recipe comes together quite quickly in the Instant Pot. It is Paleo and Whole30 and you can make it AIP compliant by excluding the non-AIP spices.

If you’re looking for an easy and flavorful option for a weeknight dinner, look no further than this curry! It’s made with flavorful herbs and spices, dairy-free coconut milk, and can be fairly simple to make. My family eats it with white rice while I like to eat it with my grain free cassava rotis! For a Whole30 compliant meal, you can have it with cauliflower rice!

What are the ingredients in this Curry Chicken?

Chicken Thighs: I like to use free range chicken and I prefer using thighs vs breasts as they have more flavor. However, you can also use breasts in this recipe.

Whole spices: Whole Cinnamon, Whole Cloves, Bay leaves, Whole Black peppercorns are used in this recipe. I just add them as my family are used to taking them out while eating. However, if finding whole spices in your curry bothers you, you can tie up all the whole spices in a muslin bag and place it in the instant pot on top of the rest of the curry ingredients.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: I like to use coconut oil for this recipe as the unrefined coconut oil gives it an additional flavor. If you do not like the strong flavor of unrefined coconut oil, you can either use refined coconut oil or use extra virgin olive oil.

Red Onions: I prefer using red onions or shallots for curry recipes as they have a lot of pungency and flavor. However, if you do not have red onions or shallots you can definitely use yellow onions as well.

Fresh ginger and Fresh garlic: Fresh ginger and fresh garlic give this curry a ton of flavor. So definitely use them fresh for the best results. If you are in a pinch you can use ground ginger and garlic powder as substitutes.

Green (serrano) chillies: Chillies add a subtle kick to the curry however if you are nightshade intolerant or doing AIP elimination phase, you can avoid these completely.

Turmeric powder: Turmeric gives this curry a lot of flavor as well as color and so get the best quality turmeric – I prefer using any organic Turmeric brand.

Kashmiri red chili powder or Cayenne powder: The chili powder gives a mild heat to the curry however if you are nightshade intolerant or doing AIP elimination phase, you can avoid these completely. I personally find that I am tolerant to Kashmiri red chilies more than regular red chillies. I like this brand of Kashmiri chili powder

Coriander powder: Coriander powder gives an earthiness to the curry. It helps round out the flavors I feel. And a little goes a long way. If you are doing AIP Elimination, you will need to avoid this as coriander is a seed based spice.

Garam Masala: Garam Masala is a blend of different spices. It does include nightshade spices like cayenne too. If you are nightshade intolerant or doing AIP elimination phase, you should avoid this. I like this brand of Garam Masala. For a quick AIP Garam Masala, I have given a recipe in the Notes section of the recipe.

Fresh Curry leaves: Fresh curry leaves is a herb and it has nothing to do with curry spice or nightshades! It has a very subtle flavor and adding them to curries is not only medicinal but also makes them flavorful! If you cannot find fresh curry leaves, you can try these dried curry leaves!

Coconut Milk: I prefer to use organic, canned version and I like this brand Native Forest Simple, which has no additives. You can also use homemade coconut milk.

Fresh Cilantro leaves for garnish: You can add fresh cilantro leaves while serving. But this is totally optional.

Can you add any other vegetables to this curry dish?

Yes you can add some starchy vegetables like potato or white sweet potato, taro root or green plantain or green banana to this dish. I do not recommend adding any non starchy vegetable as those will get completely mushy in the Instant Pot.

How to serve this Curry Chicken?

This Curry Chicken goes very well with white rice. Or you can serve them with grain free cassava rotis or grain free almond tortillas. For a Whole30 compliant meal, you can serve it with cauliflower rice or cauliflower pilaf.

You can watch a video tutorial for this recipe by clicking below:

Instant Pot Curry Chicken || Coconut Curry Chicken (Paleo, Whole30)
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A delicious chicken curry with whole aromatic spices and fresh herbs and coconut milk that you can make in the Instant pot!
For marinating the chicken:
  • 1.5 lbs of fresh chicken thighs, cut into about 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder or cayenne powder(omit for AIP)
  • 3 tbsp coriander powder (omit for AIP)
  • 1 tsp garam masala (omit for AIP and nightshade free, see notes for an AIP and nightshade free garam masala)
  • About 2 tsp olive oil or melted coconut oil
For the Curry:
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Two 1 inch long cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 8-10 black pepper corns (Omit for AIP)
  • 1 large red onion (or 3 medium shallots) thinly sliced
  • One 1 inch by 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 green (serrano) chillies, slit length-wise (Omit for AIP and nightshade free)
  • Fresh curry leaves 2 sprigs or 1 tbsp dried curry leaves (optional)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ to ¾ cup coconut milk
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
  1. Place the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl and add all the ground spices and salt and the olive oil (or melted coconut oil). Mix the meat well with the spices. Keep aside for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Heat the Instant Pot on Saute mode. Add the coconut oil and the whole spices. State for 30 seconds and then add the onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Saute for 2-3 minutes until the onions soften up a bit, stirring constantly. Next add the marinated chicken into the pot and again mix to coat the chicken with all the onion mixture. Add the curry leaves and the water. Cover and Pressure cook for 10 minutes. (Make sure the valve is in sealing position)
  3. After the pressure cook time is done, wait for 5 minutes and let the chicken sit under pressure so it stays moist. Then release the pressure and add the coconut milk. Do not stir too much as the chicken will be very tender at this point.
  4. Garnish with fresh cilantro (if using) and serve warm with homemade cassava rotis or cauliflower rice or white rice.
For an instant nightshade free garam masala, mix ½ tsp ground cinnamon and ¼ tsp ground cloves and use this mix.

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