Instant pot cauliflower tikka masala is a quick and easy Indian dish that yields a creamy and developed sauce, perfect for serving with naan, rice or pasta. This vegan tikka masala sauce is strong flavored, with hints of ginger and curry, making it a comforting meal for any occasion. And with everything being done in less than 30 minutes, it is the perfect dinner for the family on the go!
What Is Tikka Masala?
Tikka masala is a spiced curry that is typically served with pieces of marinated chicken in it. The creamy orange colored sauce is flavored with spices originating in India, including Garam Masala, curry, turmeric and ginger. The complex combination of spices and aromatics provides the signature flavor of the tomato and cream based sauce.
In this instant pot South Indian vegetarian recipe, we thicken the sauce by blending the tomato sauce, spices and cream with cauliflower. The cauliflower adds a slight sweetness to the dish and helps to make it a healthy instant pot dinner!
How To Make Instant Pot Vegan Tikka Masala:
This recipe pretty much can’t get any easier. A quick sauté of the aromatics, then dump the rest of the ingredients in the instant pot and pressure cook! When its done, pour in the coconut milk and blend everything into a sauce.
Lets Break It Down:
Start by turning on the sauté option on your instant pot, and turning it to low. Add some olive oil or coconut oil to the pot, and let it get hot. Add to the pot your chopped garlic and ginger, and sauté for about 60 seconds, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Now add the tomato paste and spices to the pot and cook another 60 seconds, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the tomato sauce, add the cauliflower, and stir. Place the lid back on, in the locked position, and make sure the steam knob is preventing steam from escaping. Press the ‘pressure cook’ button on, and set the time to 12 minutes on high.
Once the pressure cooker is done cooking, allow it to sit for another 10 minutes before releasing the valve. At this point, remove a few of the cauliflower to a separate bowl (you can skip this step if you don’t want whole cauliflowers in your dish, or if you are serving with tofu). Pour in the coconut milk, and using a hand blender, blend everything in the pot until a smooth sauce forms.
Serve this instant pot Indian recipe with rice, naan, pasta or quinoa!
What To Serve This Vegetarian Tikka Masala With:
As you can see from my photos, I served this Indian dinner with rice AND naan. If I had to pick one, the naan really elevated the meal to the next level. It was SO good! I have also poured left overs over pasta, which is also delicious. I think cutting up some tofu and tossing it in the sauce would be a nice added texture to the dish, along with a protein boost.
If you need an instant pot pressure cooker, this is the one that I use!
Frequently Asked Questions:
|How long does this take, start to finish?||The prep shouldn’t take you long at all, you just have to rough chop the garlic and ginger, get your spices and open a few cans/jars. The sautéing takes about 2 minutes. The actual pressure cooking time will depend on how quickly your pressure cooker comes up to pressure. For me, this took 10 minutes. So add 10 minutes to the 12 it takes to cook, and your looking at around 30 minutes for the entire process! Not bad!|
|What if I want to add tofu?||So I think tofu would be great with this dish, HOWEVER, you will need to add it at the end. The reason for this is, if you add it to the pot to cook with the sauce, you will have to manually remove each piece of tofu before blending the sauce, which would be quite the pain in the bum.|
|Tikka Masala usually has onion, why doesn’t yours?||The reason I omit onion in this recipe is because the cauliflower flavor is so strong that I found the onion to be obsolete when it came to the flavor of the dish. But if you want to add onion for the flavor or health benefits, just make that the first ingredient you sauté before adding the garlic and ginger.|
|Can I use frozen cauliflower?||You absolutely can! That is what I did, and it worked great! Fresh cauliflower is also totally acceptable. Not everyone has access to fresh ingredients, so I wanted to make it a frozen cauliflower recipe as well!|
|What should I do if I get the ‘Burning’ sign on my instant pot?||Okay, so this happened to me one time and it is SO frustrating! It is a nice feature to be able to sauté in the instant pot to make it a one pot dinner, however, why have that option if it is going to tell me it is burning every time I try to pressure cook after?! (sorry, that was a rant). To prevent this from happening, make sure to not let anything burn onto the bottom of the pot. If there is anything at all sticking to the bottom, add a few tbsp of water to the pot and scrape it off using a wooden spoon. If for some reason it still tells you it is burning when you try to pressure cook, press ‘cancel‘, and let the pot sit for longer than you normally would. While the pressure is coming down, it will continue to cook, and hopefully by the time you open the lid, the cauliflower will have cooked through. That is what I did, and it was totally fine!|
|Can I add chicken?||You betcha! To make this a chicken tikka masala instant pot recipe, just toss the chicken in at the same time that you add the cauliflower, and increase the pressure cooking time to 20 minutes on high. Then, before you blend the cauliflower with the sauce, remove the chicken. You definitely don’t want blended chicken in the sauce!|
Instant Pot Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- instant pot
- 1 12oz bag of frozen cauliflower or the equivelent in fresh cauliflower
- 1/2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp chili powder okay to omit if you don't like spicy food
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped (not too small, to prevent burning)
- 2 tbsp ginger, rough chopped (not too small, to prevent burning)
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 14oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 15oz can of coconut milk (I used un-sweetened)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
- Begin by setting the instant pot to the 'sauté' option on low. Allow it to heat up, then add the coconut oil. Toss in your rough chopped garlic and ginger, and sauté for 60 seconds, stirring occasionally.
- Now add the tomato paste and spices, and cook for another 60 seconds, sirring frequently to prevent burning. (if any buring occurs, add a tbsp of water to the pot and scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the pot)
- Add to the pot the cauliflower and the tomato sauce. Stir to coat. Place the lid on the instant pot and lock it in place. Press the 'pressure cook' button, and set the timer to 12 minutes on HIGH pressure. Make sure the pressure valve is positioned to prevent air from escaping.
- When the pressure cooker is done cooking, allow it to sit for a few minute more (about 10 minutes) before releasing the pressure knob. Open the lid, and scoop out a few of the cauliflower (or just blend them all, its up to you!).
- Pour in the can of coconut milk, and using a hand blender, blend the ingredients together until a creamy sauce forms. Toss the cauliflower back to the pot, stir, and serve!