These Instant Pot curried chicken drumsticks are fall-apart tender and filled with flavor – a delicious take on this classic cut!
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A really good curry is something that takes over all of your senses. The aromatics spring from the ginger, garlic, onion, and green curry paste. The layers of flavors, from tart to earthy sweetness, spicy and salty, and essence of umami, create a party on your tastebuds. The visual contrast of colors from the fresh herbs, bell pepper, and carrots. You’ll think this meal has been simmering all day when the complexity of flavor all comes together in less than 30 minutes!
My mouth waters just thinking about these flavor-packed drumsticks. Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
- Rice – to start, you’ll need 1 cup of white rice to act as the main starch for this dish.
- Ghee – to saute your aromatics, you’ll use 1 tablespoon of ghee to give a rich, nutty flavor.
- Red Onion – 1 red onion that you’ll cut into slivers before adding to the instant pot starts the base for building all the flavors.
- Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon of sea salt helps to draw out excess moisture from the onions and helps them cook down faster, creating a deeper flavor profile (your onions may sweat a little during this process, hence the term, “sweating onions”).
- Garlic – next, you’ll add 3 medium cloves of minced or grated garlic and…
- Ginger – 1 inch of peeled and grated ginger to the pot. The smell from this trio is tantalizing!
- Green Curry Paste – 4 ounces of green curry paste brings heat to the dish. If you prefer less-spicy foods, be sure to decrease the amount!
- Chicken Broth – a ½ cup of chicken broth serves as the cooking liquid.
- Sesame Oil – 1 tablespoon of sesame oil helps enhance the nutty flavors in the dish.
- Coconut Milk – 1 can of coconut milk adds creaminess to the sauce and helps cut through the heat.
- Tamari or Soy Sauce – 2 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce combined with…
- Fish Sauce – a ½ teaspoon of fish sauce adds brininess and umami to the dish.
- Lime Juice – a ¼ cup of fresh lime juice brings bright citrus notes.
- Red Bell Pepper – for texture, you’ll use a thinly sliced red bell pepper.
- Carrots – 1 cup of julienned carrots adds additional texture and earthy sweetness.
- Fresh Herbs – to garnish the dish and bring really fresh flavor, you’ll use fresh mint, cilantro, and basil.
- Crushed Peanuts – a sprinkle of crushed peanuts makes for the perfect, final garnish and a little bit of crunch to the dish.
This dish is beautifully seasoned and a great combination on its own, but if you decide you want to change things up, here are some ideas:
- Try a different curry – red or yellow curry would be tasty substitutes to the green curry paste. Green curry paste is the spiciest of the curries (made from fresh, hot green chiles like serranos), which is why I recommend using less if you prefer less-spicy foods. Red curry paste can also be pretty hot, while yellow curry has a sweeter flavor profile along with some spice.
- Use chicken thighs – if you don’t have chicken drumsticks, try subbing for chicken thighs. You’ll still get a delicious, rich flavor from the dark meat.
How to Make Curry Drumsticks
- Cook the rice – start by cooking the rice according to the package instructions.
- Melt the ghee – set your Instant Pot to saute mode and add the ghee.
- Sweat the onions – once the ghee is melted, add the onions along with the sea salt and stir.
- Saute – once the onions have softened, add the garlic and ginger to the pot with the onions, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the curry paste – to the onion and garlic mixture and stir to combine, then add the chicken broth. Stir to combine.
- Add the chicken – to the pot, add your chicken legs.
- Cook – seal the Instant Pot lid and set to cook for 10 minutes on high pressure.
- Release the pressure – after 10 minutes are up, release the pressure on the pot, then stir in the coconut milk, tamari, fish sauce, sesame oil, and lime juice.
- Add the vegetables – add the carrots and bell pepper to the pot, then let them sit for about 5 minutes to let the vegetables soften.
- Serve and enjoy – serve the chicken over white rice, garnished with crushed peanuts, mint, basil, and cilantro.
How to Store and Reheat
To store your leftover curry chicken drumsticks, place them in a container and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, you can microwave or saute in a pan over medium heat.
How to Serve
Plain, white rice is delicious with this recipe to soak up all the sauce, but you could also serve with coconut rice if you want to jazz things up. Spring rolls would make for a really tasty appetizer. If you want to add some additional veggies to the dish, a simple steamed veggie would make a great accompaniment (like steamed broccoli or steamed cauliflower).
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use frozen chicken in an instant pot, just adjust your cooking time. From frozen, your drumsticks will take 20-25 minutes to cook.
The key to tender and juicy chicken is to be sure not to overcook your meat. I found that 10 minutes is the perfect amount of time for a solid cook and great texture.
Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165℉. When cooking from fresh, your drumsticks should be perfectly cooked, juicy, and tender at the 10-minute mark. You can always use a meat thermometer to check if you want to be sure.
Curry Chicken Drumsticks (Instant Pot)
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 red onion cut into thin slivers
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 1 inch piece of ginger peeled and grated
- 4 ounces green curry paste (use less if you prefer less-spicy foods)
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 pounds chicken legs
- 1, 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice about 2 limes
- 1 red bell pepper sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- Fresh mint for garnish
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Crushed peanuts for garnish
- Cook the rice according to package instructions.
- Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode and add the ghee.
- Once melted, add the onions along with the sea salt.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the pot with the onions, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the curry paste to the onion and garlic mixture and stir to combine, then add the chicken broth and stir to combine. Then place the chicken legs in the pot.
- Seal the Instant Pot lid and set to cook for 10 minutes on high pressure.
- After 10 minutes are up, release the pressure on the pot, then stir in the coconut milk, tamari, fish sauce, sesame oil, and lime juice.
- Add the carrots and bell pepper to the pot, then let sit for about 5 minutes to let the vegetables soften.
- Serve the chicken over white rice, garnished with crushed peanuts, mint, basil, and cilantro.