Feb 11, 2011

Palak Chicken, Chicken in Spinach Curry.

Chicken or lamb in a spinach curry is one of the favourite Indian take away orders in Copenhagen. A guy from Finland brought a killer palak lamb to a pot-luck dinner hosted by common friends. It shamed me into making my own palak chicken instead of eating take away. Unlike restaurant meals and like most home cooked Indian meals, this  takes it easy with oil and spices allowing the taste of veggies to come through. Sorry the picture is a messy, 'Dammit I forgot to take a picture' hurried phone picture followed by a 'Oh no! The picture is all cinnamon, no curry'. But we had already started eating and it was too late to take another picture. It happens to you too, right?

  • Approx 1 kg, 8 skinned chicken drumsticks and thighs ( I prefer bone in, but you can use boneless)
  • 4 cloves garlic. Minced.
  • 2 inch ginger. Minced.
  • 2 large onions. Chopped.
  • 3 large tomatoes. Chopped into squares.
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 500g fresh or frozen spinach. (Blanched and finely chopped or given a quick run in the blender)
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 inch stick cinnamon/ Daalchini
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • Half tsp turmeric powder/ Haldi
  • 1 tsp cumin powder/ Jeera
  • 1 tsp coriander powder/ Dhania
  • Half tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • Half tsp white sugar
  • Salt to taste
*I was lazy and didn't chop my spinach very fine. You get a MUCH better texture if you chop it or run it through the blender, so don't be lazy!
  1. Bring oil to heat in a pan; throw in a cumin seed to check if oil is ready. Cumin seed sizzles if ready. Add bay leaf, cinnamon and sugar.
  2. Add chopped onions as soon as sugar starts to caramelise. Stir rapidly for 5 mins making sure the onion doesn't burn.  Add the ginger, garlic and fry for 5 more minutes. A dark brown shade and little oil bubbles separating from the paste is what you are aiming at. Add all dry spices, except garam masala. Stir, stir, fry fry. Add little water, stir and scrape off if the masala gets stuck to the bottom of your pan.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and tomato purée. Throw in chicken pieces when the tomatoes begin to disintegrate. Give it a good stir, mix well and add half a cup of water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Take off cover to check every now and then and stir.
  4. Add spinach when chicken is cooked (flesh should easily separate from bone) Add garam masala, salt and simmer for few minutes. 
  5. Feeds 4 people. Eat with Basmati rice of an Indian flat bread of your choice.

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