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Chicken Saag or Saagwala Curry

A chicken saag or saagwala curry one of my favourite Indian dishes and my recipe makes it really easy to make at home!

A tall image of a chicken saag curry in a 'brass' curry bowl on a wooden backdrop

Easy Chicken and Spinach Curry.

Despite the exotic name this is nothing more than a chicken and spinach curry. It is also a fine example of just how much spinach cooks down.

When cooking this curry make sure you use a pan that is way too big for a curry for two.

If you do not you will inevitably pile in the spinach and then discover your pan is not large enough… Then you will have to swap pans and your wife will moan about washing up!

I’m not kidding, initially, the amount of spinach in this recipe looks ridiculous however it cooks down to form a perfectly portioned size dish.

Close up image of chicken thighs and wilted spinach in a chicken saag curry in a brass curry bowl

How Spicy is a Chicken Saag?

Like all curry recipes, how spicy they are depends on you, the cook. You can adjust the spice levels to your own taste.

Having said that, in a restaurant, this dish would fall firmly in the ‘medium’ curry range.

It would probably fall between a Chicken Jalfrezi or Chicken Pathia on the hotter side and a Chicken Pasanda on the milder side.

All of the heat in this recipe comes from Kashmiri chili powder. It also uses far fewer spices than many of my curry recipes.

Close up image of the handle of a brass curry bowl with an out of focus curry in the background

What is the Difference Between a Saag, Saagwala and Sag?

Quite simply the answer to this question is nothing.

They are the same names for the same curry, although as with all recipes there are subtle differences between cooks.

What is Saag? Saag translates to ‘leaf greens’ in Hindi and can be made with any greens.

For instance, my saag aloo recipe uses Swiss Chard as the leafy element.

In this way, it is perfectly possible to subtly change the flavour of your saagwala by changing the leafy green element.

Just to add more confusion this recipe is often called chicken palak. That is more strictly defined as spinach rather than greens.

This recipe contains a couple of unusual additions at the end of the cooking process.

I urge you not to skip or add these ingredients earlier in the process.

Adding ghee and the ginger for the final 5 minutes of this chicken sag completely changes the texture and the flavour of this recipe.

The ginger adds a wonderful and vibrant flavour to what is a very ‘earthy’ curry.

The ghee lends a richness to a recipe that could otherwise be a little ‘light’. 

This is a relatively new idea I picked up from floating around a Pakistani cooking forum. Yes folks, that’s the sort of place that I hang out online, living large hey?

Chicken Saag Curry Recipe
Yield: 2 Servings

Chicken Saag Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A Chicken Saag is also known as a Chicken Saagwala or even chicken Sag, it is essentially a chicken and spinach curry. It is medium spiced and really easy to cook at home!

Ingredients

  • 350 g Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 150 g Onion
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 100 g Tomato Passata
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Armchoor
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek
  • 250 g Spinach
  • 25g Ginger
  • 50 g Ghee

Instructions

  1. Blend the onion and garlic with just enough water to form a paste.
  2. Add this onion to a pan over a high heat with half of the ghee and cook off the water, this should take 5-10 minutes.
  3. Now reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Add in the spices and stir for 60 seconds.
  5. Chuck in the tomato passata, salt and 250ml of water and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat.
  6. Use this time to dice the chicken into bite sized pieces and roughly chop the spinach.
  7. Add the spinach and chicken to the pan along with salt and pepper to taste, don't worry if it looks like a lot of spinach, it will cook down.
  8. Add a lid and cook for 25 minutes over a medium heat.
  9. Grate the ginger.
  10. After 25 minutes remove the lid and add the remaining ghee and ginger stir and cook for 5 more minutes or until the curry thickens.

Notes

Serve with naan bread and maybe a little rice if you are feeling greedy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 636Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 278mgSodium: 450mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 8gSugar: 6gProtein: 50g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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Gill Gibson

Saturday 17th of August 2019

Hello. Could I just check, is it dried fenugreek leaves that I should be using? Is it possible to substitute with ground fenugreek and if so, how much would you use? I’m guessing the leaves and the ground seeds might taste quite different. Thank you. Gill

Brian Jones

Sunday 18th of August 2019

Hey Gill, yes you can use fenugreek powder and seeds, I use it in a few of my "creamier" curry recipes. It has a similar flavour but it is much more "punchy" and aggressive in flavour than the leaves, particularly on the bitterness front. If you can get seeds then toast them before crushing helps knock that back a little, if using straight-up powder then I would say start at around a 1/4 tsp and check the flavour. I suspect you will settle somewhere a little over 1/2 a tsp :)

Enjoy

Adrian

Wednesday 26th of June 2019

Absolutely fabulous ! One of the best curry’s I’ve made it makes a takeaway taste rubbish

Brian Jones

Friday 28th of June 2019

Cheers Adrian, I'm very glad you enjoyed it!

Snuzey

Sunday 5th of May 2019

We’ve used many of your recipes which we love. Tried this one last night and it was very bitter. Have researched fenugreek and coriander, both which read to have bitter undertones, your recipe states quite large quantities of these two spices in relation to the others. Just checking that they are correct and if so, maybe we personally need to reduce the amounts. Definitely going to give it another go but would welcome your input. Great website, we love it.

Brian Jones

Monday 6th of May 2019

Hey Snuzey, glad you like my recipe :) The 'bitter' flavour profile of the recipe is largely a result of the spinach, I like it this way, however the best way to change it up is to cook the spinach quickly rather than slowly. Throw in the spinach at stage 10 with the ginger and ghee and just let it wilt for 5 minutes and that should scale back that iron-rich flavour that I suspect you are not enjoying so much :)

Jeff

Saturday 6th of April 2019

Am I reading the recipe correctly? The onion/garlic is dry fried? No oil? And the grated ginger is added last and not cooked through?

Can I tarka/temper the ghee and ginger together, and then add it to the curry? :)

Brian Jones

Sunday 7th of April 2019

Hey Jeff, I've updated the recipe to make the instructions clearer... On the subject of the ginger, yes add it at the end and just cook it for 5 more minutes or so to keep the flavour vibrant and fresh. You could temper it in ghee if you wanted :)

Beth Neels

Friday 15th of February 2019

This is such a gorgeous dish! And I love all of the spices you have used in here! Can't wait to try it!

Brian Jones

Saturday 16th of February 2019

Thanks Beth