Recipe: Freezer-to-Pressure-Cooker Chicken Curry

Recipe: Freezer-to-Pressure-Cooker Chicken Curry

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Christine Gallary
Sep 26, 2016
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

The pressure cooker makes long-cooked dishes like curries possible on a weeknight. If you also want to keep the slicing and dicing to a minimum, partner with your freezer so chicken curry can be on your table in just about 30 minutes whenever that craving hits.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Freezer Prep Tips for Chicken Curry

This recipe essentially starts with making your own meal kit and freezing it. Instead of throwing everything into one bag, though, which will freeze into a solid mass that won't cook evenly, use a baking sheet to freeze everything flat first so the pieces don't stick together. Then, frozen chicken chunks go into one bag, and onions, ginger, and garlic go into another.

Having these bags in your freezer means you can decide you want chicken curry on the way home and get it cooking the minute you walk into the kitchen and turn on the pressure cooker. Plus, since the chicken's already been cut up, there's no handling of raw chicken anymore!

The Last-Minute Game Plan

When you're ready to cook, the onion mixture goes into the pot first, followed by the chicken later. All that's left to do is measure out the spices and cut up the potatoes. You can even measure out the spices into a separate bag and put it in the freezer with the chicken and onions if you're feeling ambitious.

As great as it would be to cut and freeze the potatoes in advance, raw potatoes don't survive the freezing process very well. Cutting them only takes a few quick minutes and can be easily done while the onions are sautéing.

After the pressure cooker works its magic, there's some final tinkering to be done to really make this curry special. The first is a tiny dash of vinegar to bring all the flavors together and really make them sing. The second, which is optional, is to add a creamy element like heavy cream (or coconut milk if you want a non-dairy option). Just a little bit makes the sauce velvety and ready to be ladled over a steaming bowl of rice.

Freezer to Pressure Cooker Chicken Curry

Serves 4 to 6

2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable, olive, or coconut oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon curry powder, preferably Madras
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/3 cup water
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk (optional)
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Steamed rice, for serving

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chicken in a single layer on the parchment. Cover the chicken with a second sheet of parchment. Place the onions on the second sheet of parchment in an even layer, then place the garlic and ginger in a mound on top of the onions. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours.

Transfer the frozen onions, ginger, and garlic to a quart-sized freezer zip-top bag. Transfer the frozen chicken to a gallon-sized freezer zip-top bag. Press out the excess air, seal the bags, label, and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.

If using an electric pressure cooker, heat it to its brown or sauté setting (whichever is hotter). If using a stovetop pressure cooker, place the uncovered pot over medium heat. Add the oil, then the contents of the onion packet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 8 minutes (they will let out a lot of liquid).

Add the curry powder, 2 teaspoons salt, turmeric, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add the water and half of the frozen chicken and stir to coat in the sauce. Add the remaining chicken and stir to coat in the sauce. Add the potatoes and stir to combine.

Cover the pressure cooker and lock the lid. Bring up to HIGH pressure. Cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally (this will take another 8 to 15 minutes).

Add the cream or coconut milk, if using, and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, and stir to combine. Taste and season with more vinegar, salt, and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve over rice.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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