Chicken Saag

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This is the ultimate curry! I kid you not, this is a fantastic dish, absolutely packed with flavour. The crispy onions, which may seem like a complete pain in the arse to prepare, are the key ingredient I feel. They add a depth and nuttiness to the dish that is just unbelievable. It’s par for the course that this isn’t particularly healthy but I made it alongside a fat-free daal and had a smaller portion size. However, I did have two helpings which cancelled out all my good intentions. I’m so weak.

RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:
4 medium onions (peeled)
2 cups peanut oil
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
5 cm piece of ginger (chopped)
1 large tomato (peeled and chopped)
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons greek style yoghurt
1 large bunch English spinach
1 kg chicken thighs (cut into chunks)

DIRECTIONS:
Cut 2 of the onions in half, then into thin slices. Pour the oil into a large frying pan and heat over a medium temperature. When hot, add the sliced onions let them sizzle for 1-2 minutes then turn the temperature down to medium low. Sizzle gently stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes until they turn light brown. Turn the temperature down to low and let the onions sizzle for another 10-12 minutes. The onions will turn an orange/brown colour. Be careful not to let them burn as this will ruin the taste of your curry. Drain the onions (making sure to keep the oil!). Spread out the crispy onions on waiting paper towels. and pat off any excess oil. Leave to cool.

Chop the remaining onions and add them to a food processor with the garlic and ginger with 4 tablespoons of water and puree into a paste. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Chop the spinach into large pieces and arrange in a medium pan. Cover with 100ml water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Drain and cool slightly, then add to the food processor. Blend into a rough paste, and spoon into a bowl. Set aside.

In a large pan, heat 4 tablespoons of the reserved onion oil over a moderate heat. Add the cardamom and cinnamon and fry briefly. Add the onion paste and fry for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Add the cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper and fry for 1 minute. Now add the chicken and tomatoes and fry for 4 minutes. As you do this, gradually add the yoghurt tablespoon by tablespoon. Add the spinach and 1 teaspoon salt and stir well – cook for 2-3 minutes then crumble over the crispy onions and add 300ml hot water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium/low and gently simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

SERVING:
Serve with rice or breads and sprinkle with fresh coriander and fresh chopped tomatoes.

  • Ever since I was introduced to saag dishes a few months back, I’ve been looking for a good recipe and this one sounds great – I’ll use half chicken, half chana (chickpea) since I enjoy both of them. Trying this tonight, can’t wait!

    • admin

      i think this has to be one of my favourites on the site. I haven’t made it in a while so I may do this week sometime. It’s always nice to have some leftover in the freezer for those lazy days.

  • ding

    i think i’m going to try this with lamb. i fancy a bit of lamb.

  • admin

    It is pretty damn tasty isn’t it. I haven’t yet made it this year so you’ve inspired me…

    Thanks.

  • AshleyB

    Made this on the weekend. Was unbelievably tasty. I was not expecting it.

    I’m looking forward to making it again someday sooner than later.

  • whatyouhavingforyourtea

    A lifetime of thanks go out to the eagle eyed reader who sent me a message declaring I should credit Madhur Jaffrey for this recipe.

    So there you go. Thanks Madhur it’s delicious.

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