This Easy Instant Pot Chickpea & Chicken Masala is so easy to prepare in the Instant Pot that you can even make it on a busy weeknight. This dish is perfect for a flavorful and hearty meal to stave off winter’s chill and warm tummies. 

45 view baby plate

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A Delicious and Easy Chicken and Chickpea Curry

The terms masala and curry are often used interchangeably regarding Indian cuisine. Curry refers to sauce or gravy, while masala is loosely translated to spice. This recipe is an easy version of an Instant Pot curry made with garam masala seasoning and curry powder, which you should be able to locate in your local spice aisle. These seasonings are combined with coconut milk to create the fragrant and creamy sauce that makes the dish.

I have been serving chicken masala to my baby girl since she was 7 months old, and it is a hit every time! It is so flavorful and not spicy! I have been asked several times, can babies eat this meal? Yes, they can and I will tell you more…the more you offer different flavors, greater the chance that they will become less picky and more adventurous eaters in the future!

Reasons to Love this Chickpea & Chicken Masala Recipe

  • Simple Ingredients: All the ingredients for this recipe can be found in your local market, yet the final dish yields a flavorful sauce evocative of your favorite Indian restaurant. 
  • Suitable for babies: You can omit the salt in the preparation and cook according to the instructions, remove portions for the baby, and then season with salt for the rest of the family. This is a great recipe to batch cook. My baby girl loves this recipe, and so does my older son!
  • Packed with Protein: Both chicken and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are high in protein, making this dish a powerhouse for restoring energy and nutrition after a long day at work or school.
  • Easily Convert to Vegetarian: This recipe easily converts to a vegetarian meal for those eating a plant-based diet by simply leaving out the chicken. 
  • Quick & Easy to Prepare: Using the Instant Pot, this recipe uses just one pot creating minimal mess with quick cooking time and making clean-up a breeze. 
  • Freezes Well: This chicken and chickpea curry freezes beautifully in an airtight container for up to 3 months. I use these baby food jars that are the perfect size for one baby meal. 
chicken masala baby plate 3

Ingredients to Make this Easy Instant Pot Chickpea & Chicken Masala

  • Chicken: Use boneless chicken breasts or chicken thighs cut into cubes.
  • Chickpeas: I use dried chickpeas in this recipe. You need to soak them overnight in water.
  • Olive oil & butter: For sauteing chicken, garlic, and onions. 
  • Lemon juice: A little acid is good and makes the flavors pop. 
  • Canned diced tomatoes: You may also use fresh tomatoes in season. Use unsalted if offering to babies <12m old.
  • Coconut milk:  I used full-fat canned coconut milk for this recipe. It provides excellent flavor and creamy texture. The best coconut milk only contains water and coconut; this is important when serving babies. Here is our favorite!
  • Paprika: Grab this in your spice aisle at the grocery store.  
  • Masala: A key ingredient. Find at most upscale grocery stores or order online. 
  • Curry powder: Another key ingredient. Generally found in the spice aisle. 
  • Onions & Garlic: For added flavor. You can use garlic powder if you do not have garlic cloves (see recipe notes for adjusted quantities).
  • Spinach: Adds a fresher component. Add at the end to just wilt. 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste: Skip for babies under 12 months old. You can prepare the dish, separate the baby’s portion, and continue with seasoning for the rest of the family.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Prepping:

  • Soak the dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in water overnight (if using canned, see recipe notes).
  • Mix the spices (masala, curry and paprika).
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes, add the lemon juice and ½ of the mixed spices. Toss to coat. 
  • Mince the garlic finely. 
  • Dice the onion. You may use a food processor or chopper to speed up this process. 

Cooking:

  • Set the instant pot (electric pressure cooker) to sauté function.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter.
  • Once the oil mixture is very hot, add chicken in batches and cook (it takes about three batches). Do not overcrowd the pan.
  • Remove the chicken to a clean plate and set aside. 
  • Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter.
  • Sauté the garlic and onions.
  • Add the remaining ½ of the spice mix.
  • Cook until fragrant and the onions translucent.
  • Add back chicken and all the remaining ingredients and stir, removing any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Close the lid, press the cancel button, and change to high-pressure cooking.
  • Set to “poultry” mode and cook for about 15 minutes.
  • Wait for a natural pressure release (preferred method) or do a quick release.
  • Add the spinach, stir, and let it wilt for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the portion for the baby (if less than 12m old), then season with salt to taste for the rest of the family.

Recipe Notes

  • It is important to heat the oil and butter before adding the chicken in small batches. This will ensure you get a nice golden crust on the chicken pieces. If you overcrowd the pan, the chicken cooks and releases much water.
  • If not cooking for babies under 12m, add the salt to the spices before seasoning the chicken.
  • If using cooked canned chickpeas, you will rinse and add them in the last step with the spinach.
Chicken & Chickpea masala ezpz plate

Tools Needed

 Serving Suggestions

  • Serve over fluffy basmati, jasmine rice, or brown rice.
  • Serve over quinoa blend. 
  • Serve over cauliflower rice.
  • Serve with naan bread or roti.
  • Serve with sweet potatoes.

Note: You can mash the chickpeas and shred the chicken if necessary for younger babies.

Substitutions

  • You may substitute full-fat coconut milk for light coconut milk; however, the sauce may be looser and not as creamy. 
  • To convert this to a vegan chickpea curry dish, leave out chicken and replace butter with additional olive oil for sauteing. You may add more chickpeas.

How to Store Chickpea and Chicken Masala

Refrigerator: You can store leftover chickpea coconut curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It will taste even better the next day!

Freezer: Freeze in freezer-safe containers or zip-lock bags for up to 3 months.

Reheat: Reheat chickpea and chicken masala in a microwave or stovetop until warm and serve. If it’s frozen, defrost first and then reheat.

chicken masala adult plate

Frequently Asked Questions

What is chicken masala made from?

Chicken masala is a simple Indian dish with chicken, spices, herbs, onions, and tomatoes. Serve this with rice or any flatbreads like naan, roti, or paratha.

What is an Indian dish made from chickpeas?

Chana masala is a North Indian curried dish with white chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, spices and herbs. ‘Chana’ is a Hindi word for ‘Chickpeas’ and ‘Masala’ here refers to a ‘spiced gravy’. So, Chana Masala is nothing, but chickpeas simmered in a spicy onion tomato masala.

Is Chicken Masala spicy?

No, it is not spicy. It is suitable to babies, kids, and the entire family.

If you make this recipe, I would love your comments below!

Chicken Masala Pinterest

🥣Recipe

Chicken masala zoomed

Easy Instant Pot Chickpea & Chicken Masala

This Easy Instant Pot Chickpea & Chicken Masala is so easy to prepare in the Instant Pot that you can even make it on a busy weeknight.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner, lunch, Lunchbox
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chana masala, chicken tikka masala, garam masala, indian food, Instant pot chicken curry, instant pot curry
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chickpea Soaking Time: 1 day
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 591kcal
Author: Carol Pecora

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 1 kg chicken 4 chicken breasts
  • 3 cups chickpeas soaked
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 400 ml diced tomatoes 1 can
  • 400 ml coconut milk 1 can
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1.5 tbsp masala
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 onion medium
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 cups spinach optional
  • 1 tsp salt if serving to babies <12m old, leave this as the last step after separating baby's portion.

Instructions

Prepping:

  • Soak the dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in water overnight (if using canned, see recipe notes).
  •  Mix the spices (masala, curry and paprika).
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes, add the lemon juice and ½ of the mixed spices. Toss to coat. 
  • Mince the garlic finely. 
  • Dice the onion. You may use a food processor or chopper to speed up this process. 

Cooking:

  • Set the instant pot (electric pressure cooker) to sauté function.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter.
  • Once the oil mixture is very hot, add chicken in batches and cook (it takes about three batches). Do not overcrowd the pan.
  • Remove the chicken to a clean plate and set aside. 
  • Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter.
  • Sauté the garlic and onions.
  • Add the remaining ½ of the spice mix, and cook until fragrant and the onions translucent.
  • Add back chicken and all the remaining ingredients and stir, removing any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Close the lid, press the cancel button, and change to high-pressure cooking.
  • Set to “poultry” mode and cook for about 15 minutes.
  • Wait for a natural pressure release (preferred method) or do a quick release.
  • Add the spinach, stir, and let it wilt for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the portion for the baby (if less than 12m old), then season with salt to taste for the rest of the family.

Notes

  • It is important to heat the oil and butter before adding the chicken in small batches. This will ensure you get a nice golden crust on the chicken pieces. If you overcrowd the pan, the chicken cooks and releases much water.
  • If not cooking for babies under 12m, add the salt to the spices before seasoning the chicken.
  • If using cooked canned chickpeas, you will rinse and add them in the last step with the spinach.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Instant Pot Chickpea & Chicken Masala
Amount per Serving
Calories
591
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
32
g
49
%
Saturated Fat
 
19
g
119
%
Trans Fat
 
0.2
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
7
g
Cholesterol
 
117
mg
39
%
Sodium
 
257
mg
11
%
Potassium
 
1295
mg
37
%
Carbohydrates
 
34
g
11
%
Fiber
 
10
g
42
%
Sugar
 
9
g
10
%
Protein
 
46
g
92
%
Vitamin A
 
1546
IU
31
%
Vitamin C
 
21
mg
25
%
Calcium
 
108
mg
11
%
Iron
 
6
mg
33
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @goldenbearmama on Instagram!

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