Combine all the ingredients under the marinade section in a mixing bowl.
Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and coat them one at a time so that each piece is evenly marinated.
Let the chicken sit in the marinade for about 15-20 minutes.
Timesaving tip: As the chicken marinates, start preparing the gravy. While the gravy pressure cooks, begin pan-frying the chicken pieces.
Pan-frying Chicken [30 minutes]
Add a tablespoon of oil in a pan kept over high heat on a stovetop.
When the oil heats up, carefully place the chicken in the pan. Don't overcrowd the pan. Note: If using mustard oil, let the oil smoke first.
Cook for a minute on each side and then reduce the heat to medium-high.
Let it cook on each side for about 6-8 minutes. Set it aside.
Add more oil if needed for the next batch and repeat the process of cooking each side for 6-8 minutes.
Making the gravy [ Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 25 minutes - includes pressure building time]
Heat oil in an Instant Pot using the Saute function set at 'Normal' mode.
Once the oil is hot, add all the spices - let them sizzle for about 10-15 seconds.
Add chopped onions, cashews, green chilies, chopped ginger, and garlic. Saute them for about 2-3 minutes.
Add tomatoes along with salt, and Kashmiri chili powder. Mix well.
The tomatoes will start to release water immediately.
Add 1/2 cup of water and mix well. Deglaze the pot - scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure there is nothing stuck.
Hit cancel and cover the lid. Pressure cook for 10 minutes.
Once the cooking cycle is complete, release the pressure immediately by moving the steam valve to the venting position.
Open the lid and give the sauce a quick stir. Remove the bay leaves carefully and discard it.
Use an immersion blender and puree the gravy to a smooth paste. If using a blender, allow the masala sauce to cool down for at least 10 minutes before pureeing it.
Add garam masala, honey and fenugreek leaves (Kasoori methi) to the gravy and give it a good stir.
Add the chicken tikka pieces and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Take off heat.
[Optional step] If you like it extra creamy, add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to this gravy. Mix well.
Serve hot with rice, rotis or naan.
Stovetop instructionsYou don't need a pressure cooker to make chicken tikka masala. You can it make it over stovetop too.
Follow the same sauteeing process as in Instant Pot.
Instead of pressure cooking, cover the saucepan with a lid and let the onion-tomato gravy cook for about 10-15 minutes.
The next steps are similar to Instant Pot cooking too - puree the sauce, add the seasonings followed by grilled chicken tikka pieces.
Skip heavy cream to cut down on the calories. I don't use it because cashews enough creaminess to this dish. To make a nut-free version, skip cashews and use either heavy cream or coconut cream instead.
Make sure to chop the chicken thighs into equal-sized pieces for even cooking.
Use any oil with a high smoke point for making chicken tikkas. I prefer mustard oil for the flavor it imparts to the dish.
Adding smoked paprika helps give that Tandoor-cooked taste to it. Feel free to skip it if you don’t have it.
For best results, marinate the chicken for at least 20-30 minutes.
Time-saving tip - Marinate the chicken first and then move on to prepping for the gravy. This will give the chicken to absorb the flavors from the marinade. While the gravy is being pressure cooked, pan fry the chicken so that it is ready when the gravy is done cooking.
Meal prep tip - You can make a big batch oftikka masala sauceand freeze it. Thaw the sauce overnight in the refrigerator to use. Heat the sauce for about 7-8 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add seasonings such as honey, garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves and mix it in. Lastly, add the grilled chicken tikka pieces to it.