JOIN! 12 Weeks for $1

Instant Pot

Spicy Braised Chicken with Coconut Milk, Turmeric and Cashews

4 Servings

FAST: 1 hour
Slow: 4½ to 5½ hours 35 minutes active

Made This Recipe? Write a Review.
Thank you for submitting your review! A member of our team is confirming the review meets our site's Community Guidelines. It will be posted on the site shortly.

This curry-like chicken braise is our adaptation of a recipe in “Buttermilk Graffiti” by Friend of Milk Street chef Edward Lee, who featured the dish in a chapter on Houston’s Nigerian-American community. The combination of coconut milk and cashews gives the sauce a delicious richness. Whole habanero chilies add a balancing backdrop of spiciness but not searing heat. If you want to turn up the dial, cut one, or both, of the chilies in half, keeping the seeds, but make sure to remove the halves before serving. Steamed rice is the perfect accompaniment to soak up all the creamy sauce.




Don't drain the tomatoes; their juices are needed for proper cooking and so that the finished sauce has the correct consistency. Also, make sure to press Cancel after the tomato paste and spices have cooked for about 30 seconds. This minimizes the amount of evaporation that occurs when the liquids are added.

FAST: 1 hour
Slow: 4½ to 5½ hours

35 minutes active


  • 3

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced


Pardon the interruption

You need to be a Milk Street Digital Member to see the full recipe


and get access to all of our recipes and articles online, as well as in print.

How we use your email.

Your email address is required to identify your subscription. We will use it for customer service as well as other communications from Milk Street. We will not share, or rent your email address.

Janine W.
August 23, 2022
I was very hesitant to make this recipe since it seems like so many users got the burn message. I followed the recipe as prescribed with an extra splash of water before I started the instant pot just to be on the safe side. I never got the burn message and was greeted with a delicious smelling one pot meal when it was finished. The whole family loved it and will definitely make it again and again and again.
Andrew S.
September 19, 2023
Easy and tasty
I followed the recipe as written but made it in a stovetop pressure cooker. Wouldn't hurt to add a little more of the coconut milk and cashews. A very easy and easy dish and like most braises, even better the next day.
Claire M.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Daniel S.

Had trouble with burn message on this one, wonder if it was the coconut milk. Recipes from Fast and Slow book have otherwise been excellent. Finished stovetop, was still delicious

Rebecca R.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Mononita N.

I had the same food burn issue with the Instant Pot despite multiple attempts to clean or add more liquid.

David C.

How long to let pressure reduce naturally? Normally, your recipes state a time.

David C.

I also had the burn issue. I released pressure, stirred things up and restarted, without further problem.

David E.

A favorite recipe--and always ALWAYS a burn. As above, cancel, open pot, stir, maybe add a touch of water, and cross fingers. So, given how many of us have posted about this, any fixes? (PS--I started using this recipe from the Fast & Slow book and I'm glad it reappeared in the magazine so I can read about other cooks' experiences.)

Lynn C.

Hi David -

Although we didn't have any issues in any of our testing (and re-testing), the recipe team had a couple of suggestions on what could help: 1.) Make sure to stir the onions frequently while they are cooking. If the onions are not stirred enough while sautéing, the fond will build up and could cause a burn warning; 2.) As the recipe tip suggests, make sure to hit cancel once the tomato paste has browned (if you find that your Pot is *really* hot I would hit cancel even before 30 seconds are up); and 3.) Stir the mixture when the tomatoes and coconut milk are added to stir up any browned bits that may have stuck to the bottom during cooking the paste and spices. We hope that, by following these suggestions, this recipe will be successful for everyone!

The Milk Street Team

Jennifer J.

I trusted that if I followed the recipe perfectly and took the Milk Street suggestions above into account, I would be fine. Nope. I started the pressure cook with no fond. I kept the onions on low saute to prevent a hot warning. I pressed cancel early to keep things a bit cool. I stirred the make sure nothing was stuck to the bottom. I ended up with a burn error. Opened. Stirred. Added some water. Tried again. This time it waited until it pressurized to give me the burn warning. I just transferred it to the stovetop in a dutch oven. The bottom of the instant pot is a black charred layer. Here’s hoping I can salvage this. Either way, it’s not the quick meal I was hoping for.