Saag Murgh | Spinach Chicken 🐔
This luscious spiced infused creamed spinach dish originated in Northern 🇮🇳 Saag Paneer (Indian Whole Milk Cheese), Saag Gosht (Spinach Lamb) are other variations of the dish.
If you choose to eat chicken or lamb you should cut up boneless skinless chicken thighs or a boneless leg of lamb into 2”. (Vegetarians please substitute chunks of paneer 😉)
Marinate these chunks in a bowl with turmeric, cardamom, cumin, coriander powder, garlic and ginger paste. Add thick Greek yogurt, salt and the juice of an entire lemon. This will tenderize the chicken or lamb. Let it sit and get happy in the fridge for at least two hours.
Meanwhile, blanch the baby spinach in hot water and then place it into an ice bath to chill out.
Using only premium Indian spices (you can order them online at SKORDO- an award-winning small Maine family business – roast them gently on a pan on medium heat, then grind in small batches and set aside.
Next sauté the roughly chopped the onions in ghee with the ground spices and then add the tomato paste for the perfect acid balance to the warm spices. Now add the spinach.
Simmer this spice-infused spinach mixture gently until you are almost giddy with happiness. The kitchen should smell divine. You may now use your blender and purée this spinach. Add in the cream (because it’s the right thing to do!!!)
Do not skip the cream!!!
If wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to stop here and bathe in this luscious creamed spinach.
Now with two knobs of ghee melted into a Dutch oven on medium heat, sauté the marinated chicken or lamb or paneer for 4 minutes.
Add in the purée spinach (saag) and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cover for twenty minutes.
Now chill a bottle of Gewurztraminer – it pairs perfectly with spicy Indian food.
Set the table, heat up some Stone-fired garlic naan and brush generously with melted ghee and sprinkle with cilantro.
This is when I’m reminded I’m an impatient human being with no self-control.
I tear off a chunk of Naan and dunk it right into the pot of luscious, rich and creamy saag Murgh!
- Saag Chicken
- Indian spiced-infused cream of spinach and marinated chicken
- Yields 6-8 servings
- PART 1: To marinate the chicken
- 2.5 pounds of boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1.5 cups thick Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons of coriander powder
- 2 teaspoons of cardamom powder
- 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
- 2 tablespoons ginger paste
- 2 tablespoons garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- PART 2: To makes the Spinach puree (SAAG)
- 20 ounces of fresh baby spinach
- 8 tablespoons ghee
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 black cardamoms, use only seeds
- 3 serrano chilis,
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri (mild) chili powder
- 2 tablespoons garam masala powder
- 1 tube of tomato paste (no spices added, salt-free)
- ¼ cup of heavy cream
- Handful of dried crushed fenugreek leaves or fenugreek seeds
- Salt to taste
- Directions for Part 1:
- Marinate: Mix the yogurt, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander powder, garlic and ginger pastes, salt and lemon juice together in a large glass bowl. Add the chicken pieces and coat with the marinade. Cover with plastic, refrigerate and let the chicken marinate overnight or at least 2 hours. Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator and let it reach room temperature for a full hour. This is an important step, do not skip it.
- Direction for Part 2:
- Toast & Grind Spices: In a frying pan, on medium heat, toast the bay leaves, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom seeds, black cardamom seeds (no husks). Set aside the whole spice mixture and allow it to cool down. Now grind these whole spices together in a spice grinder until fine.
- Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, add the ghee on medium heat. Add the roughly chopped onions and sautee for 5 minutes until golden brown.
- Now add the green chilis, the spice powder mix, garam masala, Kashmiri chili powder and stir for a minute.
- Add the tomato paste stir well and allow it to cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes until the mixture separates from the oil in the pot.
- Now add the spinach mixture and stir well.
- Take your handheld blender and puree this mixture. Set it aside.
- In a fresh pot, add the ghee on medium heat. Add the marinated chicken and stir well. Cover the pot and cook until the chicken changes color, about 10 minutes. Now add the pureed spiced-infused spinach mixture. Stir well and cover to cook for another 10 minutes on low heat. Add salt to taste. Give it another good stir. Now gently add the heavy cream (the creamier the better) and let it all simmer for another 5 minutes on low.