Thai Curry in a Hurry-Thanks to Instant Pot

Thai Curry in a Hurry-Thanks to Instant Pot

Have I convinced you to try an Instant Pot yet?  If not, here is the recipe that may just tip the scales in favor of that new kitchen gadget. I love curries and last week I came home after a long day at work, pulled out my Instant Pot, sliced some chicken, chopped some veggies, threw it all in the pot and 30 minutes later we were sitting down ready to dig into our Massaman Curry Chicken.  A complete meal, a party in a bowl and my mouth-cauliflower, peppers, potatoes, eggplant and chunks of chicken surrounded by a rich autumn orange hued curry sauce that is creamy, spicy and sweet. Despite being somewhat of a purist (no box cake mixes or frozen pre-formed pie crusts in this house, nope) the key to this meal, besides the Instant Pot, is a pre-made curry paste.  I vow to one day make my own curry paste but for now I’m wimping out, life’s little compromises.  My favorite curries are by Mae Ploy and Aroy-D, both of which can be found in your neighborhood Asian market or on Amazon.  There are quite a few different ones you can pick from so I thought I would give you the quick and dirty on curries.

Green-Spiciest of the Thai curries, fresh green chilis, kaffir lime leaves, basil, shallots, ginger, garlic and coconut milk for sweetness.

Red-Red chilis, lemongrass, shallots, ginger and fish paste and coconut milk. Not quite as spicy as green curry and a work horse for curries. Goes well with chicken, seafood, beef and a variety of vegetables.

Yellow-Mildest of the curries.  It is a combination of kaffir lime leaves, turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds and coconut cream. Great with vegetables

Mussaman-Finds its roots in Indian curries and is made using red chilies, galangal, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, turmeric, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander,  cloves, and cinnamon.  Coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves are then added to create the sauce.  Peanuts and potatoes finish off this delicious curry.  I used Massaman curry for the dish in this post.

Panang-Found its way to central Thailand by way of Laos  It is milder and subtle, spicier than Thai curries.  It is made from dried chilies, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, lemongrass, cilantro, cumin, garlic, ginger, shallots.  Peanuts are often used in this curry.

I am sure there are rules for what vegetables or meats you should use with each type of curry, but, my motto is experiment, try different vegetables and meats with any of the curries and create your own favorites.  Curry On!

I searched the Instant Pot universe for a recipe and found one on Paint the Kitchen Red, a wonderful site devoted to Instant Pot recipes.  I tweaked the recipe a bit by adding different vegetables and cooking them with the chicken instead of sautéing them at the end as the recipe called for.  I like my vegetables in stews and curries on the soft side so I threw in carrots, potatoes, cauliflower and bell pepper (ie. whatever I had in my fridge) into the Instant Pot along with the chicken and Massaman curry paste. So good and so easy.

Thai Curry in a Hurry-Thanks to Instant Pot


  • 3 Tbsp Thai red curry paste or Massaman curry paste (preferably Maesri or Mae Ploy brand)
  • 1 14-oz can regular-fat coconut milk
  • 1 lb boneless chicken thighs, sliced into good bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • Vegetables
  • The vegetables will cook along with the chicken so don't make the pieces too small
  • 1 cup red and/or green bell pepper, cubed
  • 1-2 carrots, cut into 4-5 pieces (only 1 if using potato)
  • 1/2 cup onion, cubed
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into cubes
  • 1 russet potato, cut into chunks
  • Really any vegetable of your choice-squash, cauliflower
  • Seasonings
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce, more to taste
  • 2 tsp brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves, slightly bruised (I have a calamansi tree so I used the zest)
  • 12 Thai basil leaves or regular basil leaves in a pinch
  • Cilantro


  • Press ‘Saute’ and stir fry onions and curry paste for 1-2 minutes, add 1/2 can of coconut milk until mixture is bubbly, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Press 'Keep Warm/Cancel'.
  • Stir in chicken, remaining coconut milk and chicken broth and add your fresh vegetables
  • Close Instant Pot and make sure steam release handle is in the ‘Sealing’ position.
  • Cook on 'Manual' mode for 4 minutes.
  • Do a Quick Release of pressure and open the Instant Pot.
  • Add in fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and Kaffir lime leaves.
  • Press saute' and stir curry, bring to a bubble and cook for additional 2-3 minutes
  • Taste and adjust with more fish sauce, brown sugar or lime juice.
  • Stir in the Thai basil leaves.
  • Serve over rice, garnish with cilantro
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Thanks for reading, comments welcomed!

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