Step 1: Saute Onion, Galic and Ginger
We start by sautéing onions, garlic, and ginger in butter in the base of a pressure cooker. If you have a stovetop model, do this over medium to medium-high heat. I'm currently testing out a countertop electric model from Breville, which has a "sear" setting. The goal here is lightly browned aromatics. As onions and garlic brown, their natural polysaccharides break down into sweeter simple sugars that subsequently brown and caramelize, creating rich, complex aromas that blend well with the ginger.
Step 2: Add Spices
Next up, add in your spices: cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, and black pepper. The dish we're making ends up with the familiar, comforting flavor of chicken tikka masala, a very mildly spiced product of British-Indian imperialism. We could go for broke and mix up a 20-ingredient curry powder, but quick and easy is key here (to be honest, even jarred curry powder would work just fine). What we don't want to skimp on is blooming the spices in fat, a process which not only intensifies their flavor, but also makes it more easily extractable.
Step 3: Add Tomatoes
In go crushed tomatoes. For this particular batch, I drained some whole peeled tomatoes and quickly crushed them with a hand blender, as I tend to only keep whole tomatoes in my pantry. I find it much more convenient to shop for a single type of tomato product and chop, strain, or purée it as my needs demand. Whole tomatoes tend to be of a higher quality and consistency than their more processed counterparts, but if you've got crushed tomatoes on hand or want to make an already easy recipe even easier, they work just fine.
Step 4: Add Spinach
A pound (that's about two big bunches) of spinach goes in next to wilt. It's easiest to do this by covering the pot and letting the spinach wilt in the steam for a couple minutes, stirring every so often.
Step 5: Add Chickpeas and Chicken and Cook
The pressure cooker, with its ability to rapidly cook meat and extract their concentrated juices into the surrounding sauce, is a flavor machine.
As in that recipe, I don't bother searing my chicken here, instead just nestling it into the saucy spinach mixture, to which I also add some canned chickpeas, along with some lemon juice and fresh cilantro.
Step 6: Uncap and Season
It takes all of fifteen minutes once it reaches high pressure for the chicken to cook through to complete tenderness. Once it's done, you're on the home stretch. If you want to make the plating a little prettier, you should remove the chicken from the pot at this stage so you can arrange the pieces a little more artfully later on.
With the chicken out, heat up the sauce and simmer it until it becomes thick, just a few minutes, adding some cream to enrich it. One final blast of lemon juice and seasoning with salt to taste is all it takes.