Simple & appetizing, Instant Pot Kashmiri Chicken – Yakhni – Yogurt Curry, with yogurt and fragrant spices – a fast flavorful nourishing meal, that can be made in an Instant Pot!
What is Yakhni – Instant Pot Kashmiri Chicken – Yakhni – Yogurt Curry?
Yakhni is a yogurt-based curry and is a signature Kashmiri dish. Some of the popular yakhni dishes in Kashmiri cuisine include goat/lamb yakhni, chicken yakhni, lotus root (nadru or kamal kakdi) yakhni, mushroom yakhni, and several others. Yakhni is extremely delicious and does not contain red chili powder (cayenne pepper) or ground turmeric. Even more, NO ONIONS or TOMATOES. It is so easy to fix since there is no chopping required.
Yakhni is made by adding whole spices such as dried bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, black and green cardamom pods. The ground spices used in yakhni include ground fennel, ground ginger, asafoetida, and garam masala. Cumin seeds are also used.
Yogurt is key in making yakhni. The yogurt needs to be at room temperature and whipped well. I typically like to add 1.5 teaspoons of rice flour to the yogurt while whipping it. This makes the yakhni consistency thick.
What ingredients do I need to make Instant Pot Kashmiri Chicken – Yakhni – Yogurt Curry?
An instant pot of-course!
Spices: Ground fennel, ground ginger, asafoetida, garam masala, cumin seeds, dried bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, dried fenugreek leaves, black and green cardamom pods.
The fenugreek leaves are optional but I think it adds a great flavor. Kashmiri’s also use dried mint instead. You can choose to throw in either or none. It is optional.
Yogurt: The yogurt needs to be at room temperature and whipped well with a spoon for about a minute. It needs to be taken out of the refrigerator in a bowl at least an hour before cooking. This step is key to prevent curdling of the yogurt. The yogurt does not need to be pressure cooked. Instead, it will be added gradually to the pressure-cooked chicken curry. I add rice flour to the yogurt and mix it well. The yogurt/rice flour mix needs to be added slowly with a large ladle or spoon and MIXED each time it is added to the pressure-cooked chicken curry. The added yogurt/rice flour mix needs to be mixed with the gravy for at least a minute each time it is added to the gravy. The mixing is key to prevent the yogurt from curdling. Full fat plain yogurt works best for this recipe.
Chicken: Here I’ve used bone-in chicken thighs. You can use boneless chicken breasts or thighs as well. I had bone-in chicken thighs at home so I used those. The chicken needs to be sautéed initially for a few minutes before pressure cooking it.
How are we going to make Chicken yakhni in the instant pot?
Keep the yogurt (at room temperature) for an hour before you start cooking. When it reaches room temperature, whip it with a spoon for about a minute. This step is key. The yogurt needs to be well mixed. Then add the rice flour and whip it well again.
Select sauté on the instant pot. Add oil to the pot. When the oil is hot, add cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black cardamom pods, green cardamom pods, and asafoetida. Stir
In about 30 seconds, add the chopped chicken. Sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes to eliminate the pink color. Keep stirring.
Then add water, ground fennel, ground ginger, salt, and stir well.
Once all the ingredients are in, seal the pot and set the instant pot on high pressure for 6 minutes.
When cooking is complete quick release the pressure. Select sauté and add the yogurt and rice flour mix one large spoon at a time. Keep mixing the gravy. As soon as you add the spoon of yogurt and rice flour mix the gravy well for about 1 minute. Keep repeating until you finish adding all the yogurt and mixing for a minute every time you add the yogurt. The mixing step is key to prevent curdling of the yogurt. Let is sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until the gravy thickens. Keep stirring occasionally.
Top it off with garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves.
Meanwhile in a pan on medium heat, add oil and cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter turn off the heat add the cumin seeds and oil mix to the chicken yakhni. When the yakhni thickens in about 3 to 5 minutes press cancel and transfer it in a serving bowl.
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Instant Pot Kashmiri Chicken – Yakhni – Yogurt Curry
- 1 cup plain full fat yogurt at room temperature whipped with a spoon (keep it out of the refrigerator for one hour before you start cooking)
- 1.5 tsp rice flour (chawal ka atta)
- 4 tbsp oil of choice (divided)
- 2 whole cloves (laung)
- 2 dried bay leaf (tej patta)
- 1 cinnamon stick 2 inch piece (dalchini)
- 2 whole black cardamom pods (kali elaichi)
- 1 whole green cardamom pods (hari elaichi)
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida (heeng)
- 1.5 pounds chicken thighs chopped into 2 to 3 inch pieces (bone-in or boneless)
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tsp ground fennel (saunf powder)
- 1.5 tsp ground ginger (sonth)
- 1 and 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi optional)
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- Keep the yogurt in a bowl out of the refrigerator for an hour until it reaches room temperature. When at room temperature, whisk it well with a spoon. Then add the rice flour.
- Whisk the yogurt and rice flour with a spoon for about a minute or two until it is well blended. Keep it aside.
- Chop the chicken roughly into 2 to 3 inch pieces.
- Select sauté on the instant pot and adjust to normal.
- Add 3 tbsp oil to the pot.
- In about 30 seconds, add the cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom pods, green cardamom pods, and asafoetida. Stir
- In about 30 seconds, add the chopped chicken.
- Sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes to eliminate the pink color. Keep stirring
- Add water, ground fennel, ground ginger, salt, and mix well.
- Scrape off the sides and bottom to make sure nothing is stuck on the sides or bottom. Press cancel.
- Secure the lid on the pot and close the pressure-release valve.
- Select manual and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use quick release to depressurize. Open the lid. Select sauté.
- Add the whisked yogurt mixed with rice flour slowly (one spoon at a time) to the pot mixing it continuously. This step is key. Add one large spoon of yogurt/rice flour mix and mix it in the gravy for about a minute. Then another spoon and stir again for up-to a minute. Keep doing this until you run out of the yogurt/rice flour mix. The continual mixing will prevent curdling of the yogurt.
- When you are done adding all the yogurt mix, add garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves. Stir and let it sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes until the gravy thickens. Yakhni has a lot of gravy but the yogurt will thicken it. Keep stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a pan turn on medium-heat and add one tablespoon oil. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Turn of the heat and add the oil and cumin seed mix to the gravy in the pot.
- Press cancel after 3 to 5 minutes of sauteing. If you want more gravy stop at the 3 minute mark, if you want less stop at the 5 minute mark.
- TWhen cooking is complete, use quick release to depressurize. Discard the bay leaves.
- This recipe has been tried on a 6-quart instant pot. The proportions may vary depending on the size of the instant pot you choose to use.
- Most of the spices/ingredients are available in the Indian grocery store or on Amazon.