A chicken saag or saagwala curry one of my favourite Indian dishes and my recipe makes it really easy to make at home!
It is a recipe that is one of the ever-present dishes in the old-school British Indian curry house. Iron-rich spinach may take the top billing but the star is the boldly flavoured spicy gravy.
Indian Chicken and Spinach Curry
Despite the exotic name, this is nothing more than a chicken and spinach curry.
The sag or saagwala curry is one of those ubiquitous dishes that tends to appear on all British Indian restaurant menus.
Depending on where you are dining it sometimes appears in a rich and bold dark green sauce that I tend to think of as palak chicken.
Other times it appears as it is here, with loads of spinach wilted into a simple curry sauce.
I adore this dish, it was published many years ago and I occasionally re-photograph it mainly as an excuse to cook it again… but the recipe rarely changes, because you guys seem to love it as much as I do!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I cook this in advance?
I would advise against cooking this all the way through and then reheating it because spinach can become bitter when overcooked.
I would cook the recipe through to stage 6 and then pop it in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze it. Then reheat the curry and add the spinach, ginger and ghee to finish the dish when you reheat it.
Why do you add the ghee and ginger at the end of the curry?
Adding ghee and 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 and the ghee lends richness.
Can I use chicken breast?
Yes you could, it does not have quite as much flavour as chicken thigh and it can become dry if overcooked, but with gentle cooking, chicken breast can be delicious in this recipe.
How hot is this curry?
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. All of the heat comes from Kashmiri chilli powder. which is not particularly spicy.
What is the difference between saag, and saagwala curries?
Absolutely nothing, saag translates to ‘leaf greens’ in Hindi the “wala” at the end when translated roughly means “the one with the leaf greens”.
My first port of call for side dishes with any curry dish is usually flatbread and this chicken saag is no different.
My two go-to choices are usually a tandoori-style naan bread or some chapatis. If I am making them at home, my choice is defined by how much planning I have done, the latter only takes around half an hour.
Rice is also another obvious but glorious option, I’m often lazy with rice and opt for plain rice, but pilau rice is always a welcome change.
Potatoes are an overlooked option as a side for a curry, and no I am not talking about chips. I think that the wonderful flavours in this chicken saagwala are absolutely perfect alongside aloo methi or fenugreek potatoes.
I only mention brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 30cm or 12″ frying pan with a lid.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Mini blender.
- Weighing scales and or a combination of measuring jug, cups and spoons.
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!
- 275g (10 oz) Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 150g (1 Cup) Onion
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
- 1 Tbsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
- ½ Tsp Turmeric
- ½ Tsp Amchoor
- 1 Tsp Garam Masala
- 100g (⅓ Cup) Tomato Passata
- ½ Tsp Salt
- ½ Tsp Black Pepper
- 250g (8-10 Cups) Baby Spinach
- 15g (Half of a Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
- 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek
- 3 Tbsp Ghee
- Peel and roughly chop the onion, then throw it into a mini blender.
- Peel the garlic cloves and add them to the blender with 2-3 tablespoons of water then blend them to a smooth paste.
- Heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan over a high heat and add half of the ghee, add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes to drive off the water, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until golden brown.
- Add in the ground coriander, Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric, amchoor and garam masala and stir for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the tomato passata and 250ml (1 cup) of water and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Use this time to dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the chicken to the pan with salt and pepper, stir, add a lid, and cook for 20 minutes over a medium heat.
- Remove the lid and add the spinach, yes there is a lot, don't worry it will cook down, then return the lid and cook until the spinach has wilted, this will take 3-4 minutes.
- Peel and grate the ginger.
- When the spinach has wilted, remove the lid, add the remaining ghee and freshly grated ginger, and crush in the dried fenugreek leaves, then, stir and cook for 5 more minutes or until the curry thickens.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 595Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 225mgSodium: 1049mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 8gSugar: 7gProtein: 40g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.