Chicken Changezi is a rich and creamy but mild chicken curry that is perfect with some fluffy naan bread. The sauce has milk, cream, and cashews, so save it for those times when you don't mind indulging a bit!
What's Up With the Name?
Chicken Changezi? Hmm. Why would a chicken curry be named after a fierce thirteenth century Mongolian warrior and ruler? The ruler in question being Changez Khan or Genghis Khan, as he is also known. I dug around a bit and found this interesting tidbit. Legend has it that the dish was prepared by one of the king's chefs in milk and cream in an attempt to tone down the spices. The king was duly impressed and the dish acquired special status in the royal kitchen.
I can't vouch for the veracity of this tale, but personally, I love chicken changezi for its quirky name, bright color, and subtle flavors. In its present avatar, it can be found in the many small restaurants dotting the bylanes of Old Delhi, where you can see the crumbling remains of the glorious Mughal period to this day. This is a world unto itself, distinct from the new city and a paradise for food lovers, especially Mughlai food. Do visit if you are in the area for the culinary experience of a lifetime!
I know, it looks a lot like butter chicken but there is no butter in it, for one. It tastes different too, so no fear there. Also, I have adapted and simplified the recipe for the instant pot since my aim on this blog is to bring you tasty and authentic food in an easy to make form. Nobody has the time to cook elaborate, multi-step meals any more, and if we can make our lives in the kitchen a tad bit easier then why not?
Have a look at the ingredients in the pic below. The exact amounts are mentioned in the recipe card further down in the post.
- Ghee can be substituted with oil if you don't have ghee.
- Dried fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi (affiliate link) adds a lot of flavor so try not to skip this. It is available in sealed packs in most Indian or Pakistani stores as well as the international aisles of supermarkets like Walmart or Superstore.
- Ditto for the chat masala and garam masala (affiliate links). Easily available in most places. if you can't find them locally, however, you do have the option to order them online.
How to Make Chicken Changezi
- Turn your instant pot to sauté and heat one tablespoon ghee in the steel insert. Add the sliced onions and cashews. Fry until the onions turn light pink. Take them out along with the cashews and when cool, grind to a fine paste. Keep aside.
- Add the remaining ghee to the instant pot and and add the ginger and garlic paste, tomato puree, the onion-cashew paste prepared in the earlier step and milk. Also tip in some salt and the powdered spices: red chilli, coriander, garam masala, and chat masala. Fry this masala on sauté until the ghee comes on top.
Tip: The masala might splatter all over your countertop, so add half a cup water and cover the pot with a glass lid. In about 8-10 minutes, you will see the ghee leaving the masala. I use this tempered glass lid made to fit the instant pot (affiliate link).
- Add the chicken and half a cup water and pressure cook for four minutes. Wait for the steam to release naturally (NPR). When the pin drops, open the pot and add cream. Garnish with kasuri methi and serve hot with butter naan.
It's really that simple. The original recipe calls for marinating the chicken in spices and roasting it separately before adding it to the sauce, but I prefer not to do this because it's just one too many steps. The simple method I have outlined above works well and the results are delicious! So, go on and use that instant pot of yours to the full. It makes life easy in the kitchen for sure.
Here's what the chicken will look like once you open the pot:
And when you add the cream and kasuri methi:
More Instant Pot Chicken Curries You Might Like
- Dal Gosht - A hearty and filling stew made with goat meat and lentils.
- Chicken Patiala - Another luscious, restaurant-style chicken curry with fresh fenugreek, green peppers and red onions.
- Chicken Madras - This one's a hot and vibrant number deeply flavored with Indian spices.
- Palak Chicken - Tender pieces of boneless chicken breast and spinach leaves simmered in an onion-tomato gravy is what palak chicken's all about.
- 6-quart Instant Pot Duo
- 3 tablespoon ghee
- 1 medium red onion sliced
- 10-15 cashews
- 4 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 1.5 cup tomato puree
- 1.5 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon chat masala
- 1.5 teaspoon garam masala
- salt to taste
- 1.5 lbs chicken pieces bone-in
- 1.5 cup cream
- 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi
- On saute, add 1 tablespoon ghee to the steel insert of your instant pot and when it melts, add the onions and cashews. Fry until pinkish, then take out and when cool, grind to a fine paste.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoon ghee to the instant pot and add the ginger garlic paste, tomato puree, the onion-cashew paste prepared in step 1, milk, all the powdered spices and salt. Add half a cup water, mix well and cover with a glass lid. Let this masala cook for 8-10 minutes or until the ghee floats at the top. If you see the masala getting dry, simply add a few splashes of water.
- Cancel sauté and add the chicken pieces. Add half a cup water and secure the lid. Make sure the steam release handle is on 'sealing' and press the pressure cooking button (high). Set the timer to 4 minutes only.
- When the timer beeps, wait for the pressure to release naturally. Open the pot and add the cream and kasuri methi. Serve hot with naan bread.
- If you are not fond of ghee, substitute with the cooking oil of your choice.
- Kasuri methi, garam masala, and chat masala are available in the international aisles of most supermarkets these days.
- Likewise, ginger and garlic pastes are sold in glass bottles in most stores. However, you can prepare your own very easily. Just put equal quantities of peeled ginger and garlic in a blender along with a few tablespoons of water and whiz to get a smooth paste. Use as required by the recipe and store the rest in a sealed glass bottle in the fridge.
Best Side Dishes for Chicken Changezi
- Bombay Potatoes - Crispy baby potatoes with soft insides.
- Cumin Rice - Basmati rice flavored with cumin and other whole spices.
- Maash Dal - Split and skinned black gram lentils with a warm, nutty taste.
- Dahi Baingan - Lightly fried eggplant, onions, garlic, and cilantro in cold yogurt.
These are just a few possibilities. Find a lot more ideas for what to serve with chicken curry in this post: 20+ Best Side Dishes for Chicken Curry.