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chicken palak finished image in the blue dutch oven cooking pot on a wooden chopping board with cilantro garnished on top and bowl of lemon slices on the side.

Chicken Palak (Spinach chicken curry)


  • Author: Yamini
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

A simple and delicious recipe for chicken palak or saag chicken which is a delicious chicken curry made in combination with spinach.


Ingredients

Scale

For marination

  • 1 teaspoon salt ( I use pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt or Greek yogurt

For the curry

  • 2.25 lb bone-in chicken thighs cut into medium size pieces
  • 1.5 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste
  • 10 curry leaves ( optional )
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 big onion diced (about 2.5 cups diced onion pieces)
  • 1 medium tomato diced
  • 2 to 3 cups packed spinach 
  • Cilantro for garnish ( optional )

Ground spices for the curry

  • Salt to taste (I used 1 & 1/4 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder

Instructions

Preparation 

  • Add all the ingredients listed under 'For the marination' in the ingredients list to a big bowl and mix them well. Now add the medium size bone-in chicken pieces to this marinade and mix them well until you coat all the chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate the marinated chicken from 30 minutes up to 12 hours based on your convenience. More marination time will always give the chicken more time to absorb all the flavors well.
  •  Boil a pot of water (just enough to blanch spinach )over the stove-top until they come to a rolling boil. Now switch off the stove and add well-washed spinach leaves to this water and let them blanch for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, remove them from the water and let them cool a little bit before you puree them. If you are in a hurry, add a few ice cubes to the hot spinach leaves to puree them. Do not discard the water you used to blanch spinach as it has a lot of nutrients. Reserve a half cup of spinach water for this curry and save the rest of the water for later use in soups or curries.
  • Dice the onions and tomatoes into small pieces.

How to make Saag chicken on Stovetop

  • Heat a pan and add oil and ghee. If you want to skip ghee, add oil in place of ghee.
  • Once they are hot, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric powder and saute for few seconds.
  • Now add the diced onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mix well.
  • After 2 to 3 mins, add ginger garlic paste and mix well.
  • Saute the onions until they start slightly turning to a golden brown color.
  • Now add ground coriander powder, ground cumin powder, and red chilli powder and mix well. Saute for a minute making sure the spices do not burn.
  • Then add diced tomato pieces and mix well. Cook the tomatoes covered until they are well softened.
  • Now add the medium size pieces of bone-in chicken and stir well. Cook on medium-high uncovered for 3 to 4 mins stirring in between.
  • Now cover and cook for 5 mins on medium-high and then turn the flame to medium and cook covered until the chicken is well cooked.
  • Keep stirring in between to avoid burning. Chicken releases a lot of water while cooking covered. After 10 to 12 mins of adding chicken, if you think you like an even thinner consistency, add 1/2 cup of spinach blanched water that you saved initially.
  • Check the salt & spices when the chicken is almost cooked and add more if needed. I added 3/4 tsp of salt more at this stage. You can add as per your taste.
  • Now add 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg powder, 1/4 tsp of garam masala powder, and the spinach puree, and stir everything really well.
  • Cook UNCOVERED after adding spinach puree for 5 mins, stirring in between. Check the taste to see if you like to add any more spices or salt and switch off the flame and garnish with cilantro. 

How to make saag chicken in Instant pot

  • Follow the steps in the preparation section above first and then proceed with the following steps.
  • Turn on the saute mode on Instant pot and add oil and ghee once it displays 'HOT'. If you want to skip ghee, add oil in place of ghee.
  • Add cumin seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric powder and saute for few seconds.
  • Now add diced onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mix well.
  • After 2 to 3 mins, add ginger garlic paste and mix well.
  • Saute the onions until they start slightly turning to a golden brown color.
  • Now add ground coriander powder, ground cumin powder, and red chilli powder and mix well. Saute for a minute making sure the spices do not burn. Deglaze the pot using 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if needed. (which means scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula to make sure there is nothing sticking to the bottom of the pot.)
  • Then add diced tomato pieces and mix well. Cook the tomatoes covered until they are well softened. Cover only with a steel or glass lid that fits the Instant pot steel insert and not with the Instant pot lid.
  • Now add the medium size pieces of bone-in chicken and stir well. Saute for 2 to 3 mins UNCOVERED stirring in between.
  • Now turn off the saute mode on the Instant pot, add a 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup of spinach blanched water which was saved earlier, and mix well.
  • Close the Instant pot lid, turn the vent knob to SEAL position, turn on the manual mode on high pressure for 4 minutes.
  • When the Instant pot beeps and turns off, wait for 5 minutes for the steam to release naturally, and then do a quick release by turning the vent knob to VENT position.
  • Once all the steam releases, open the lid carefully staying away from the steam, and mix well once.
  • Now turn on the saute mode again, add 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg powder, 1/4 tsp of garam masala powder, and the spinach puree, and stir everything really well. Cook for 5 mins UNCOVERED. Adjust the consistency as per your taste.
  • Check the taste to see if you like to add any more spices or salt and switch off the Instant pot, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro. 

Notes

  • This chicken palak is medium spiced. So adjust the spice level according to your taste.
    • To increase the spice level, either increase the red chilli powder to 2 teaspoons( while making the curry, not in marination) or add 2 to 3 split green chillies along with onions.
    • To reduce the spice level, reduce the red chilli powder to 1/2 teaspoon and coriander powder to 1 teaspoon. You can also use Kashmiri red chilli powder instead of regular red chilli powder as that is milder comparatively.
  • To blanch spinach, use only just enough water to make it easy for you to use it later. This water will have all the nutrients, so save it and use it later in soups or curries.
  • After adding spinach puree, cook UNCOVERED only.
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove top & Instant pot
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: palak chicken recipe, chicken palak, Spinach chicken curry, chicken saag recipe, chicken saagwala