Indian Spinach and Chicken Curry {Saag Chicken}


img_20170110_223857_483I’m a fan of delicious, nourishing and FAST meals so much so that I’ve written about them here and here and here. I admit, that’s what most of us need on those fright nights during the week when we’re juggling and hustling. But once every blue moon, especially on cold evenings when I’m missing my mom’s cooking, FAST doesn’t quite work. That’s when I need food that is comforting AND hearty. When I want the smell of spices to envelop me and fly me to my parents’ home in India. And this slow-cooked Indian chicken is just the recipe for those times.

Indian Spiced Spinach with Chicken {Saag Chicken}

Slow-cooked Indian chicken with onions and spices along with pureed spinach. This chicken recipe was exactly what I needed on this gloomy day. When you think of Indian curry it’s usually the tomato, ginger and garlic cornucopia that comes to mind. This dish is different in that it does not have the red hue of the typical Indian curry, but the first spoonful of delicate flavour will warm you right up. Saag Chicken | Indian Chicken Recipe | Slow food | Maple and Marigold

Real life kitchen tips

  • Start with whole spices. They will add tremendous flavour to the oil.
  • The red and green chilli peppers are ESSENTIAL. Add more if you can take the heat. If you would like to tone it down then take the chillies out before adding the chicken.
  • Marinate the chicken the previous day if possible. If you’re stuck for time the half an hour while you prep the recipe is enough.
  • I usually buy a large platter of organic boneless skinless chicken thighs. I cook some and freeze the rest in salt and coriander powder. Take out and thaw as needed.
  • Use ghee as suggested in the recipe. Slow cooking Indian spices in ghee adds a unique nutty flavour. It will still be delicious with oil – just different.
  • I use baby spinach it’s easier to wash and handle. If you’re buying spinach in bundles then wash and trim the thick stems.
  • Skip the cream if you prefer to make this dish lactose-free. I add it to mellow the flavour out so my youngest will eat it without complaining – she eats it though so that’s a BIG WIN!

Saag Chicken | Indian Chicken Recipe | Slow food | Maple and Marigold

Saag Chicken | Indian Chicken Recipe | Slow food | Maple and Marigold

Indian Spinach Chicken (Saag Chicken)

Print Recipe
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Chicken
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Author Puneeta


For the chicken marinade

  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt 1/2 tsp

For the Curry

  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 cup sliced Red onions
  • 1 red Chilli
  • 1 green Chilli
  • 1 tbsp chopped Ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped Garlic
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Ghee or oil
  • 6 boneless skinless Chicken thighs
  • 200 gms Spinach leaves trimmed and washed well
  • 1 tbsp cream optional


  • Marinate chicken in salt and coriander powder overnight. Set aside.
  • Steam spinach leaves in 1/2 cup of water for 5-8. I used my new Instant Pot on Steam setting (glass lid) for 6 mins.
  • Purée the leaves with one green chilli if you like. Skip if you want the dish mellow. Set aside.
  • In a hot pan add ghee and cumin seeds with the red and green chillies, and the bay leaves.
  • Sauté till the cumin seeds sputter.
  • Add in the onion. Toss and cook. Turn the heat to just below medium at this point.
  • Add ginger and garlic and toss and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add in the chicken pieces and toss in the onions and spices.
  • Cook till the chicken has some colour and the onions are lightly caramelized. It will take approx. 30 mins.
  • Add in the spinach puree, salt and lemon juice. Cook for another 5-8 mins.
  • Cover and let it rest.
  • Add 1 tbsp of cream

Serve with Tadka (tempering)

  • Heat 1 tbsp Ghee
  • Toss in whole red chillies
  • When they change to a darker red colour and the aroma is SPICY pour on top of the Saag Chicken.
  • Serve with roti or naan

Saag Chicken | Indian Chicken Recipe | Slow food | Maple and Marigold

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About Puneeta

Author, Educator, Speaker

Puneeta is a writer, food advocate and guide for those who seek earth-friendly, delicious solutions that work for real life.

Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma, Food Writer, Climate Advocate, New cookbook - Good Food, Healthy Planet - out April 2024
Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma
Photo by Diana Muresan
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