Are you bored of the same old chicken curry recipe? Let’s dig into this outrageously delicious Saag Wala Chicken or Palak Chicken tonight. With a fantastic melody of spinach, chicken, and aromatic spices, this creamy, flavorsome, and nutrient-rich dish is sure to become your next family favorite.
Busy weeknight dinners – just got better!
About Saag Wala Chicken or Palak Chicken
“Saag” is a Punjabi term used for all leafy green preparations made with either spinach leaves, fenugreek leaves, mustard leaves, or collard leaves.
And saag wala chicken or palak chicken/spinach chicken is an authentic Indian recipe made with fresh spinach leaves.
Completely irresistible and a real keeper!
This recipe goes by many different names – like palak murgh, palak chicken, saag murgh, or saag chicken. They all mean the same. Palak means spinach, and murgh means chicken.
Growing up, my mom used to make THE best palak (spinach) chicken. She preferred to cook all her dishes from scratch and would spend hours in the kitchen to cook a particular dish to perfection.
She always encouraged my sister and me to join her in the kitchen and educate us about a LOT of her cooking skills.
In addition to palak (spinach) chicken, her other amazing dishes were chicken keema, chicken kofta curry, chicken seekh kebab, chicken kakori kebab, Chicken curry, and many other vegs and non-veg delicacies; the list is endless!
And that is what I will be sharing with you today –
‘My mom’s heirloom Saagwala chicken, a.k.a Palak Chicken recipe.’ It’s like opening a treasure chest of all her little secrets and knowledge.
Why this Palak chicken recipe works
» A year-round recipe – The beauty of palak chicken is that it’s light and healthy enough to enjoy in the summer as well as in the winters. Plus, the nourishing characteristics of spinach will help you stave off the cold.
» Super easy to make – Don’t let the long list of ingredients stop you from enjoying this yummy palak chicken. Trust me, it’s super easy to make, and once you serve it on the dinner table, it will steal the show. Your family will be bound to go for seconds, maybe even third servings.
» Gluten-free and fresh- Made with wholesome ingredients, this saag wala chicken packs a delicious punch and you get to enjoy the maximum fresh flavor in every bite.
» Delicious and healthy – all the spices and aromatics work together and to create a d-licious Indian meal. The whole spices release their addictive aromas and impart intense flavors to our Saag wala chicken.
Ingredients for Saag Wala Chicken or Palak Chicken
This palak chicken recipe can be made with staples available in your pantry. Let’s look at the ingredient list –
» Blanched spinach – takes this chicken recipe to a whole new level. Plus, it’s a healthy way to incorporate leafy greens into your child’s diet without them knowing about it. When cooked well, blanched spinach tastes so delicious with chicken that even the picky eaters won’t resist this dish.
» Boneless Chicken Breast– rinsed ( in a bowl to avoid contamination) and cut into pieces.
» Raw Onion Paste
» Ginger-garlic- chili paste– Aromatics that adds tons of flavor. However, you can use the store-bought ginger-garlic paste.
» Whole spices – black cardamom and bay leaf for a more pronounced and earthy flavor.
» Staple spices like – cumin seeds, red chili powder, coriander powder, salt, and garam masala.
» Tomato puree – I have used pureed tomatoes for Saag chicken. Feel free to y=use diced tomatoes and cook them until tender and mushy.
» Kasoori Methi – sun-dried fenugreek leaves adds a delicious dimension to this dish.
» Cream – optional but delivers a rich and creamy touch.
How To make Saag Wala Chicken or Palak chicken?
This recipe is divided into 4 steps-
- Blanch Spinach
- Marinate Chicken and
- Cook the marinated chicken
- Assembling spinach and chicken
Step 1: Blanch Spinach
Begin the Saag wala chicken recipe by blanching spinach leaves.
1. Clean and trim spinach leaves. Wash them thoroughly under cold water to remove all the gritty things.
2. Boil water in a large pan, add rinsed spinach leaves to the pan and let them boil for 2-3 minutes.
3. After the desired time is over, use a slotting spoon to remove the spinach leaves from water and immediately drop them into a large bowl full of ice water.
Why blanch? Blanching is the best way to preserve the nutrients and flavor of the greens. Additionally, it removes some of the oxalates that spinach contains and preserves their beautiful green color when dropped in ice-cold water.
4. This will stop the cooking process. Let the spinach leaves rest in ice-cold water for a minute. Remove the cooled spinach leaves from water and tightly squeeze out all of the excess water from them.
5. Form a small ball and store it in a Ziploc bag. Freeze for future use.
6. But for this recipe, we will puree the blanched spinach in a blender until smooth. Set it aside and proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Marinate Chicken
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt (thick hung curd) with red chili powder, coriander powder, kasoori methi, garam masala, salt, and lemon juice. Whisk until combined.
2. Place the chicken cubes in a deep dish.
3. Pour the marinade over the chicken.
4. Rub the marinade all over the chicken cubes making sure it is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
Step 3: Cook the Marinated Chicken
5. After the resting time is over; heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan.
6. Add the marinated chicken to the pan.
7. Continue cooking on medium-high heat, frequently stirring until the chicken is cooked.
8. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Step 4: Assembling Palak Chicken
The final step is to assemble everything.
1. Heat mustard oil in a pan. Mustard oil has a robust flavor. Therefore, to get rid of that sharp flavor, cook mustard oil to its smoking point and take it off the flame. Let it cool.
2. When ready to make the masala – slightly warm the mustard oil and add whole spices and cumin seeds to the pan.
3. As it starts to crackle, add onion and ginger-garlic paste. Mix to combine. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the oil starts to separate.
4. Stir in the tomato puree. Mix to combine.
5. Stir in all the spices – coriander powder, chili powder, kasoori methi, garam masala, and salt.
6. Mix until combined. Cook the tomatoes for another 3-4 minutes or until the oil separates.
7. Pour in the blanched spinach puree. Stir to combine.
8. Add chicken pieces to the blanched spinach. Cook for another 3-4 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
9. Finally, add the cream. Give it a gentle stir and take it off the flame.
Recipe Tips and variations about Saagwala Chicken!
» Always allow ample time for marinating – at least 3 to 4 hours. If you have time on hand, you can even marinate up to 8 hours in the fridge. Marination will help the chicken to soak up all the wonderful flavors as it tenderizes.
» Mustard oil adds a depth of flavor to this dish but, feel free to use any other oil as a substitute.
» Chicken can be swapped with mutton, but the overall cooking time will vary as lamb takes longer to cook.
» I have prepared my fresh onion-ginger-garlic tomato base, but you can use a pre-made bhuna masala too to make this recipe.
» For extra creamy palak chicken, swap cream with cashew cream. Cashew cream will lend a rich, velvety texture to the chicken.
Should I rinse my chicken?
That is a very debated topic. So are you team rinse chicken or team no-rinse chicken?
I am team rinse chicken. I prefer to thoroughly clean the chicken before cooking it. To do that –
- Fill a large bowl with water, then add raw chicken pieces to it.
- Gently rub chicken in that water to remove the above slimy layer.
- Set aside on a clean plate.
- Before proceeding with the recipe, drain that water and clean the area thoroughly with warm soap and water to avoid contamination.
Storing Palak Chicken
This recipe makes delicious leftover lunches. To store, transfer the cooled saag chicken to a sealed container and refrigerate.
This chicken can last in the refrigerator for three to four days.
Can you freeze Palak Murgh?
Absolutely! Palak (spinach) chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to two to three months. The best part is, you can freeze palak chicken in individual-sized portions, too.
To freeze, transfer the cooled chicken to an airtight container and freeze.
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
This Saagwala chicken tastes just like the ones served at a popular restaurant. Do give this recipe a try, and I am sure this easy-to-make Spinach chicken will surely find a special place on the dinner table every time you make it.
Should you make this Palak Chicken, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below.
And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
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|This recipe post has been updated from the archives, first published on February 22nd, 2015|
Saag Wala Chicken or Palak Chicken
- 1 kg Fresh Spinach blanched
- 1 Lb Boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 ½ inch in thickness
- 2 tablespoons Yogurt
- ½ teaspoon Deggi Mirch or Red chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
- 1½ teaspoons Kasoori methi/ dried fenugreek leaves
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- – – Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1½ tablespoon Ghee to cook chicken
- 3 tablespoons Mustard Oil
- 3 pieces of Moti Elaichi (Black cardamom)
- 2 pieces of Bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 3 medium Onions pureed
- 1 tablespoon Garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon Ginger paste
- 2 small Green chilies crushed (optional)
- 3 medium Tomatoes pureed
- ½ teaspoon Deggi Mirch or Red chili Powder
- ¾ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- ¾ teaspoon Coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon Kasoori methi/ dried fenugreek leaves
- Salt to taste
- 1½ tablespoons Cream optional
- – – Butter
STEP 1: BLANCH SPINACH
- Clean and trim spinach leaves. Wash them thoroughly under cold water.
- Boil water in a pan. Add spinach rinsed spinach leaves to it and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.
- After the boiling time is over, use a slotting spoon to remove the spinach leaves from water and immediately plunge it into a large bowl full of ice water.
- This will stop the cooking process. Remove spinach from water and tightly squeeze out all of the excess water from the spinach leaves. Form a small ball and store it in a Ziploc bag. Freeze for future use.
- Transfer the blanched spinach to a blender and blend until smooth. Blanched spinach is ready. Set it aside.
STEP 2: MARINATE CHICKEN
- In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt (thick hung curd) with red chili powder, coriander powder, kasoori methi, garam masala, salt, and lemon juice. Whisk until combined.
- Place the chicken cubes in a deep dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken cubes.
- Rub the marinade all over the chicken cubes making sure it is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
STEP 3: COOK THE MARINATED CHICKEN
- After the resting time is over, heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the marinated chicken to the pan.
- Continue cooking on medium-high heat, frequently stirring until the chicken is cooked. Remove from heat, and set aside.
STEP 4: ASSEMBLING SPINACH AND CHICKEN TOGETHER
- Heat mustard oil in a pan. Mustard oil has a very strong flavor. Therefore, to get rid of that pungent flavor, cook mustard oil to its smoking point and take it off the flame. Let it cool.
- When ready to make the masala – slightly warm the mustard oil and add whole spices and cumin seeds to the pan.
- As the seeds start to crackle, add onion and ginger-garlic paste. Mix to combine. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the oil starts to separate.
- Stir in the tomato puree. Mix to combine.
- Stir in all the spices – coriander powder, chili powder, kasoori methi, garam masala, and salt. Mix until combined.
- Cook the tomatoes for another 3-4 minutes or until the oil separates.
- Pour in the blanched spinach puree. Stir to combine.
- Add chicken pieces to the blanched spinach. Cook for another 3-4 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Finally, add the cream. Give it a gentle stir and take it off the flame.
- Serve hot with warm rotis, naan or white rice.