I spent a lot of time thinking about which dish I would use for my first post. There are so many recipes I love and would love to share. But in the end I decided on this chicken saag.
This is the dish that began my love affair with cooking and introduced me to a style of cuisine I had never really had much experience with before. These days I love creating dishes with all sorts of international influences, and have experimented with different spices and flavours and cooking styles.
This isn’t as polished a version of saag as you might find in your local indian restaurant. It’s a bit rough around the edges. I think that’s what I love about it. If you want a smoother spinach puree you can remove the stems that run all the way to the top of the leaf, however I tend to simply trim the stems off before blanching the spinach. I use English spinach, but I have seen recipes with other types of spinach and also mustard greens.
This recipe is great because it’s both healthy and delicious. We all know how great spinach is for us. It also tastes just as good the next day. I often make extra and take it to work for lunch. I have had plenty of compliments and curious enquiries from colleagues when I bring this for lunch.
2 Bunches of english spinach, trimmed and washed
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (I use peanut oil)
1 tablespoon of butter
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala
Salt to taste
2 dried bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 large onion, diced
2 long red chillies, seeds removed and chopped
410 gram can of chopped tomatoes
200g Greek or thickened plain yoghurt
900g of chicken breast fillet, trimmed and cut into small pieces
1. First boil a large saucepan of water. Once the water is boiling, blanch the spinach for 1-2 minutes then remove and drain. Make sure you don’t overlook the spinach. You want it to still be bright green. Once the spinach is drained, process it in a blender or food processor to form a paste and then set aside.
2. Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan on low heat. Add the cumin and bay leaves and stir for 1-2 minutes until they become fragrant. Then turn the heat up slightly and add the diced onion and cook until it has softened, around 5 minutes.
3. Add the ground coriander, garam masala and salt and stir for a minute, then add the garlic, chilli and ginger and stir for a further 2 minutes.
4. Add the canned tomatoes and stir for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Add the spinach and stir until combined. Remove the pan from the heat and add the yoghurt. Make sure it is completely combined then place the pan back on the heat.
5. Add the chicken, making sure it is well covered by the sauce. Add some water if it’s too thick. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil, then turn the heat back down to low and simmer for around half an hour or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with rice and enjoy!