Learn to make Chicken Saag, a restaurant favorite Chicken Spinach Curry, at home with this easy recipe. Curry is creamy, loaded with spinach and bursting with flavor of spices. A cozy winter meal!!
Chicken Saag, chicken and creamed spinach curry laced with flavor of fragrant spices, and ginger. Chicken cooks with the saag (spinach curry) that makes saag even more flavorful. To make it more substantial, I add paneer or tofu along with the chicken. It is also like enjoying two curries in one. You will love the flavors.
Do you often order Chicken Saag from menu of your favorite restaurant? Or Do you never find this dish on the menu of your close-by restaurant? Either way, now don't wait for delivery because this recipe makes the best Chicken Saag ever! Full of flavor, it is picky eater's favorite way to eat spinach (including my husband's ;) ).
What Do You Need To Make Chicken Saag
There is nothing special needed to make this curry. Other than obvious spinach and chicken (plus tofu if you like), rest everything is very pantry-friendly. No special preps here, it's all in the style of cooking!
Here is a complete list of ingredients to make Chicken Saag:
- Palak (Spinach)
- Garam Masala
- Chili Powder
- Chicken Stock (optional)
- Heavy Cream (if desire creamy curry. I often skimp or skip this when serving for everyday dinner)
- Oil and Salt
Preparing Spinach Saag (Curry)
Spinach Saag needs little bit of extra work. To save time of cleaning spinach I use prewashed baby spinach. Frozen spinach works as well.
To prepare spinach saag, I puree wilted spinach with ginger and tomatoes and then cook it with aromatics.
If you cook in a large skillet, everything can be completed in same skillet, step by step. That's what I do when cooking Saag on weekdays. After cooking the spinach, wipe the skillet clean.
Season the chicken with salt and cumin.
Sear it in the skillet in some oil until golden brown on the both sides. This helps lock the juices in the chicken. The resulting chicken cooks moist and tender.
Making Chicken Saag
Two important steps in making Chicken Saag; !) Make the palak puree; 2) and sear the chicken. After these two, the rest of recipe comes together very fast.
- Cook the chicken and set aside in a plate.
- Sauté the aromatics - onion, garlic and spices.
- Add pureed spinach and ginger mix. And cook until oil separated.
- Add cream, stock (if using) and chicken back into the skillet. Cook until chicken is cooked through.
That's it. This Chicken Saag recipe is my tried and time tested recipe. You will love the flavors.
In some parts of India, Saag for Chicken Saag is also prepared with mustard leaves. If you can find mustard leaves, replace spinach with mustard leaves. Rest of the recipe remains the same.
In traditional Indian saag recipes, instead of heavy creamy, corn flour is used to thicken the saag curry. It gluten free and also dairy free substitute to cream. It wont make curry creamy like cream but adds a velvety texture.
When using heavy cream, you can go heavy or easy on cream based on taste preference. The chicken saag is so flavorful, either way works.
What to Serve with Chicken Saag?
I highly recommend serving Chicken Saag with Naan bread. A few recipes of homemade Naan suggested below. A side salad and raita is always refreshing. (recipe coming soon)
Try this recipe and make Paneer at home. It tastes fresh and better than store-bought.
Friends, try something different for family dinner this weekend. This Chicken Saag recipe needs pantry staple ingredients, its loaded with flavor of spices and makes a great family dinner option. Don't forget to serve naan on the side. (recipe below if trying homemade)
Chicken Saagreviews) (2
- 1. Cook Fresh Spinach Or Use Frozen Spinach: For fresh spinach, heat a large heavy bottom sauté pan or Dutch oven on medium heat. Add spinach in pot with 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and let spinach wilt. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat for remaining fresh spinach. Drain excess water. Set aside to cool down slightly. If using frozen spinach, see note 1.
- 2. Puree Spinach: In a food processor jar, add spinach, chopped tomatoes, serrano and ginger. Run processor to make coarse puree.
- 3. Sear Chicken: In a large heavy bottom skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Pat dry chicken thighs. Season both sides with salt and cumin powder. Add chicken in single layer and cook undisturbed until chicken pieces develop golden brown crust. Flip and sear the other side. Remove seared chicken in a plate and set aside. See note 3 and 4.
- 4. Sauté Aromatics : In same skillet on medium heat (no need to wipe or wash skillet), add half of the remaining cooking oil. Add onion. Sauté until onions are soft and slightly brown at edges. (2-3 minutes). Add garlic and spices - turmeric, chili, and garam masala. Cook until fragrant (30 seconds)
- 5. Cook Spinach: Add spinach pureed in Step 2 with 1/2 tsp of salt. Cover and simmer on medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes or until spinach is darker in color, most water evaporates and oil starts to separate. Stir a few times in between. Add remaining oil after first 5 minutes of cooking.
- 6. Finish Cooking Chicken for Chicken Saag: Stir in heavy cream and water. Return seared chicken to the skillet. Arrange on the top of spinach and cream mix. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes on medium heat or until spinach is thick and creamy and chicken is cooked through.
- 7. Garnish, Check Seasoning and Enjoy!: Remove from heat. Taste and adjust salt or add more heavy cream if you like extra creamy. Garnish with sliced ginger. Serve with side of Indian bread.
- If using frozen spinach. Let it thaw and squeeze as much as water as possible, then proceed to Step -2.
- To make fresh ground cumin powder, heat a dry skillet. Add cumin seeds and toast for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Let cool down and then add to mortar pestle and grind.
- If you prefer bite size, diced chicken into bite size pieces. Sauté in half of the suggested oil. Small diced chicken will also cook faster. Don't over cook.
- If using paneer/tofu, fry tofu or paneer before frying chicken in the same skillet. Remove in a plate. Add into the spinach when adding chicken.
- In some parts of India, Saag for Chicken Saag is also prepared with mustard leaves. If you can find mustard leaves, replace spinach with mustard leaves. Rest of the recipe remains the same.
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