Monday, February 22, 2010

Chicken Saag

Chicken Saag literally means "chicken spinach," and it's an ever popular Indian dish. And contrary to what the picture below might lead you to believe, it tastes absolutely fantastic. (Not that Caroline didn't do a great job with her photography; it's just that Indian food isn't the most...photogenic of the food genres out there). But you can't expect real beauty from pureed spinach.

Two bits of advice before you begin cooking: (1) you might notice our slightly-too-thin-sauce in the picture; we have adjusted the recipe so that yours will hopefully avoid such a mishap. But just be sure, wait til the very end to add more water to the sauce (we were a little over eager). (2) We recommend serving the chicken saag over or alongside of naan bread. But if you're crunched for time, rice will also suffice.

Chicken Saag
Recipe adapted from India's 500 Best Recipes
Pictures by Caroline

8 oz fresh spinach, washed, but not dried
1 1/2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
1/2 cup water, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
4 large chicken breasts, cut in half
  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, cook the spinach, covered, for about 5 minutes. Combine the cooked spinach, ginger, garlic, jalapeno peppers, and 1/4 cup water in a blender. Pulse until a thick puree. Set aside.
  2. Using the same large skillet, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the bay leaves and black peppercorns and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the onion and saute until onion is soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the tomatoes (including juice) and simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, salt, and chili powder. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Stir in the spinach puree. Add the yogurt and simmer 5 more minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and stir to coat with sauce. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add more water if a thinner sauce is desired. Serve over naan bread or basmati rice.

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