In my previous post, I mentioned that due to the coronavirus pandemic, we try to minimize going out, even for grocery shopping. I’ve been stocking my fridge with sturdy vegetables and my freezer with all types of meat and seafood. So the meals I prepare these days tend to include more of these sturdy vegetable and less leafy greens or the ones that tend to spoil easily. Today I’m making an Instant Pot version of Japanese bone-in chicken curry using onion, potatoes, carrots, and bone-in chicken thighs.
I am a big fan of Japanese curry. Compared to Indian and Thai curry, it has a thicker texture and tastes sweeter and less spicy. But what really makes this dish appealing to me is its convenience. The whole meal takes about 30-40 minutes from start to finish. You pour the curry on top of rice and there you have it, a delicious meal ready to be devoured. These days, I’m confined at home with my little ones in a house full of unpacked boxes, so you bet I would go for the meals that require less cooking time.
A little about Japanese curry: Japanese curry comes in many different brands. The kind I get typically comes in a flat rectangular box. Each box usually consists of two packs of curry roux which is made of a combination of flour, oil, butter, curry powder, sugar, salt, and other spices. With a stovetop method, you would first sauté your choice of vegetables and/or meat, then simmer them for a little while to cook through. At the very end you would add the curry roux and mix well.
Before the days of Instant Pot, I normally use boneless chicken breasts/thighs or peeled headless shrimp as the main proteins for my Japanese curry meal, because they are easy to handle and require very little cooking time. But with an Instant Pot, it opens up so many more options. I can use beef stew meat, short ribs, or bone-in chicken thighs, and still finish cooking the meal in about the same amount of cooking time as the stovetop method. I’ve also since discovered that with an Instant Pot, I prefer bone-in meat to boneless meat. The resulting bone-in meat cooked from the Instant Pot is more tender and juicy than boneless meat. But that’s just my personal preference. The below recipe will still taste great if you use boneless meat.
You can personalize your curry sauce by adding optional ingredients before the Instant Pot starts pressure cooking. I’ve tried adding ginger, garlic, apple, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and ketchup. Experiment and let me know what works for you!
The Instant Pot I have, the 6 quart Duo 7-in 1 Electric Pressure Cooker, is a pretty standard and popular one. It’s a great cooking tool. It saves me a lot of active time, so I can prepare other dishes, play with my kids, or finish some chores at the same time. The meals that comes out of the Instant Pot also tastes fantastic and is often tastier than the stovetop version. I will be adding more of my favorite Instant Pot recipes from time to time.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 min
Serving: 4-6 people
Tool: 6 Quart Instant Pot
- Half package of Golden Curry Sauce Mix (6 servings; 3.9 oz; 110g) 1
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs2 (about 2-2.5 pound total)
- 2 medium yellow or red potatoes3 (peeled)
- 2 medium carrots (peeled) (save the carrot greens for other recipes)
- 1 large onion
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ~2 cups of water
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Chop the onion, potatoes, and carrots into large chunks, as depicted. 4
- Press the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot and add the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
- When the pot is hot or when the display window shows “Hot,” add the bone-in chicken thighs in one layer and sauté each side for 2-3 minutes. Afterwards, the skin should be golden, but not browned. Transfer the chicken thighs into a plate. (Do not worry about the brown pieces, aka fond, that stick to the bottom of the pot after sautéing the chicken thighs. That will dissolve and add wonderful flavor into the curry sauce later)
- While the Instant Pot is still in the “Sauté” mode, add the chopped onion pieces. Then add back the chicken thighs on top of the onions in one layer and pour in the 2 cups of water (the water should be enough to cover most of the chicken thighs).
- Add the chopped carrots, and potatoes on top of chicken thighs. Break the curry mix and add it on top of potatoes. (Do Not Stir) Press the “Cancel” button to stop the sautéing process5.
- Close and lock the lid. Make sure the steam valve points towards “sealing”, and not “venting.” Press the “Poultry” button. The cooking time window should display 15 minutes.
- When the Instant Pot is done cooking, it will switch to “Keep Warm” mode automatically. You can either use a utensil to manually switch the valve to the “Venting” position to let out the steam. (WARNING: Never use your hand to turn the valve as the steam will be hot. ALWAYS follow all safety instructions that come with your particular Instant Pot.) Optionally, if you are not pressed for time, wait 15-20 minutes until the Instant Pot naturally releases pressure. No matter the method, be sure to wait until the little floater next to the valve drops down before opening the lid.
- Gently stir the pot to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
- Scoop some chicken thighs, vegetables, and curry sauce on top of steaming hot rice and enjoy!
- Here I used the Golden Curry Sauce Mix, but any Japanese curry roux will work well. As for spiciness, I chose the medium hot level (green label), which even my 3.5 year old son can tolerate well.
- Again, as a personal preference, I like the bone-in skin-on chicken thighs better. But I’ve used the boneless and skinless chicken thighs as well, which turns out to be also very tasty.
- The potatoes used for this dish should not be the starchy kind. Therefore, do not use Russet or Idaho potatoes for this dish. Both waxy and all-purpose type potatoes work for this dish.
- With the Instant Pot, the resulting vegetables are quite soft. So I try to cut my vegetables into larger size to avoid making them mushy.
- For some versions of the Instant Pot, the “Cancel” bottom and “Keep Warm” bottom are together.