Salmon Tikka Masala
Tikka masala combines two iconic Indian dishes: makhani and tandoori. It is essentially tandoori-spiced meat in a makhani sauce. And it turns out that making it in the Instant Pot is so much easier and just as tasty as making it on the stove. Salmon holds up to the layers of spice and retains its shape in the sauce. A splash of heavy cream rounds out this sharp and spicy curry.
Garam masala literally translates to “warm spice mix,” and it is the quintessential Indian spice blend. It gives warmth and depth to dishes and pairs perfectly with red or green chile for a hearty, aromatic flavor. Every region (and family) across India has its own version. My mom’s recipe calls for twenty-one whole roasted spices, some of which are hard to find, and it takes days to make. Here is a simplified version with a similar authentic flavor.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 15minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4servings 15minutes
Cook Time
  • 1tbsp lemon juicefreshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp Gingerfresh, grated
  • 1tbsp garlicminced
  • 1/2tsp tumericground
  • 1tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2lbs salmon filletskinless, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1tsp garam masala(recipe below)
  • 1tbsp vegetable oilneutral
  • 1 yellow onionfinely diced
  • 1tsp kosher salt
  • 1tsp Gingerfresh, grated
  • 1tsp garlicminced
  • 1 1/2cups canned tomato puree
  • 1tsp kashmiri red chilepowder or another mild red chile powder
  • 1/2tsp tumericground
  • 1/3cup Water
  • 3/4cup heavy cream
  • 1tbsp fenugreek leavesdried
  • steamed ricefor serving
  • naanfor serving
  • 4wedges lemons
  • 1/2tsp garam masala(recipe below)
Garam Masal
  • 2tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2tbsp cloves
  • 1tbsp cinnamon stickcrushed
  • 2-5 cardamom pods(about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1tbsp black cumin seeds (shah jeera)or cumin seeds
Garam Masala
  1. Select the normal Sauté setting on the Instant Pot. Lightly toast each spice, one at a time, by adding it to the pot and stirring continuously until aromatic, about 1 minute each. Make sure not to burn them. The goal is to remove any residual moisture so they are easy to grind.
  2. As the spices are toasted, transfer them to a plate and let cool completely. Grind the spices in a spice grinder to make a fine powder.
  3. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight for up to 6 months.
Salmon Tikka Masala
  1. To make the marinade: In a stainless-steel bowl that will fit in the Instant Pot, combine the lemon juice, ginger, garlic, chile powder, garam masala, turmeric, and salt and stir to mix.
  2. Add the salmon to the marinade and turn to evenly coat with the spices. Set aside.
  3. To make the curry: Select the high Sauté setting and heat the oil. Add the onion and salt and sauté until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Cover the pot with a glass lid (or other nonlocking lid that fits) to speed up the process. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, chile powder, turmeric, and garam masala. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Pour in the water and stir well with a wooden spoon, nudging loose any browned bits from the pot bottom.
  4. Place a tall steam rack in the pot, making sure all of its legs are resting firmly on the bottom. Place the bowl of salmon on the rack.
  5. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 4 minutes at high pressure.
  6. Perform a quick release by moving the Pressure Release to Venting. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Open the pot and, wearing heat-resistant mitts, remove the bowl of salmon to a trivet and remove the rack.
  7. Stir the heavy cream into the curry, then crush the fenugreek leaves with the palms of your hands to release the aromas and stir them in as well. Select the high Sauté setting and carefully add the salmon to the curry, turning it to evenly coat. Cook until the curry comes to a gentle boil and is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot.
  8. Spoon the curry onto plates and serve the rice, naan, and lemon wedges alongside.