What a year it has been!! Last 6 months I have been moving and traveling all over thanks to work and work and more work and off course work.. I have been all over the place and after across 3 continents numerous cities, countless hours on very long tiring flights, I have finally made my way back to Roseville, back home and back to P. Oh how I have missed my space, my pots and pans and my kitchen.
It is good to be back. As fall slowly makes way for winter, I could not help but share one of my favourites, Saag Murg or Chicken cooked with spinach. When it comes to spinach, I have to admit palak paneer tops the chart, but this spin off is also one kick ass of a recipe. The thing I miss here in the US is plucking fresh spinach off the garden, getting all muddy, cleaning them, soaking them washing them, draining them, then off course sorting the good leaves from the bad ones ; as a child when we lived in Tripura, my mum had a beautiful kitchen garden growing all sorts of veges and I remember playing with the gardener and he would tell me all kinds of stories how the cauliflowers and the cabbages play with each other and how naughty the okra has been and I would listen to him with all the wonder in the world. Those were the days. Here it is all about chopped and washed and ready to cook spinach, therefore nothing much left to the imagination.
Anyway, this particular recipe is mine, after going through numerous recipes and trying out many and working on countless rubs, I came up with this . Though here I must mention Tanvi of Sinfully Spicy has a great recipe too. I used that as a base and then worked on my own spice rub. Her recipe can be found here
- Spinach -1 and a half cups pureed about 400 gms or near enough 1 lb
- Chicken- boneless (preferably thigh pieces) – 1 lb chopped to bight size pieces
For the Marinade/rub
- Kashmiri red chillies- 3-5
- Cumin seeds-1 tsp
- coriander seeds-1tsp
- Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tsp
- Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
- Black cardamom-1
- Green cardamom-2-3
- cinnamon- 1 inch stick
- black pepper whole-5-6
- mace-1/2 blade
- star aniseed- 1
- mustard oil- 1tbs
For the Sauce:
- Mustard oil-3-5 tbs
- One large onion chopped ( about a cup)
- garlic crushed/paste – 1 tbs
- Ginger crushed- 1tsp
- tomato – large freshly grated
- Spice rub for marinade- 1.s teaspoon
- salt- as per taste
- greek yogurt thinned with water…( 3-4 tbs) I do not use cream.
Clean the chicken and chop them to bit size pieces. Now take 1/2 the spices under rub/marinade except for the oil and salt and dry roast them. Then cool the spices and using a coffee grinder or a motar pestle grind them into a fine powder. Then rub the chicken with the powder, oil and salt and leave it for about 2-3 hours and in this weather room temperature is fine.
Next heat a grill pan or a tawa , brush it with oil and carefully place the chicken pieces on the tawa and cook them on the grill for about 7-8 min when they are about 80% done.
Meanwhile, bring about 3-4 cup of water to boil and add the spinach, leave it for 3 mins or so for the leaves to blanch. Then reserve some liquid in a separate bowl and drain the spinach, let it cool. Then in a blender/processor puree the spinach.
Now get a heavy bottom pan, i use a dutch oven or a kadai/wok and heat the mustard oil. it is very important that the oil should be smoking. Now add the bay leaf and after about 30 seconds add the onions. Saute the onions till it turns translucent (3-4 mins) and then add the ginger garlic paste. cook till the raw smell disappears. Now add the chicken pieces and let it cook on medium heat for another 5 to 6 mins . By now the meat should be fully cooked. Next add the tomatoes and cook for another 3-4 mins till the raw spell of the tomatoes disappear, next add the remaining spice rub, salt and the spinach puree and cook till the raw smell of the spinach disappears and it imparts a dark green colour. Simmer for a couple of mins more. You will see the spinach releasing bubbles. Turn down the heat and then you can add the cream/ yogurt .
- Best paired with Naan
- You can use chicken on the bones, but preferably dark meat; as in thighs and leg pieces, cooking time will vary and you need to make slits on the meat when using the spice rub.