Chicken Saagwala Recipe

    40 mins
Ratings (17)

Key ingredients in chicken saagwala, a light curry dish common in northern India, include a light sauce made flavorful with turmeric, cinnamon, garam masala, and fresh spinach with lightly browned pan-fried chicken. It is one of the healthier dishes on the menu at many Indian restaurants. Team it with hot Chapatis (Indian flatbread) or Parathas (pan-fried Indian flatbread) to finish and you've got a winning Indian dish that people of all ages will love. This is also a dish that is easily prepared ahead of time by making the curry sauce recipe ahead of time and then cooking up the full recipe with chicken and additional spices in small batches.

What You'll Need

  • 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) skinless chicken pieces (legs or breasts preferable)
  • 3 large bunches spinach
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 pods ​cardamom
  • 2 large onions chopped very fine
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala powder
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped fine
  • Salt to taste
  • A dollop of butter

How to Make It

  1. Wash the spinach well and chop. Put into a pot with half a cup of water and salt to taste and boil till cooked.
  2. Grind the spinach into a paste in a food processor. Keep aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan on a medium flame and fry the chicken pieces till well browned. Remove and keep aside.
  4. Again heat the same oil, then add the whole spices.
  5. As the spices turn slightly darker, add the onion, ginger and garlic pastes and fry till the onions are pale golden in color.
  1. Add all the other spices - coriander, cumin and garam masala - and fry for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and fry till the oil begins to separate from the masala.
  3. Add the chicken to this masala, mix well and add half a cup of water. Cook till the chicken is almost done.
  4. Add the spinach now and mix well. Cook until most of the water dries up. Remove from the fire and garnish with a dollop of fresh butter.
  5. Serve with hot Chapatis (Indian flatbread) or Parathas (pan-fried Indian flatbread).

Cooking Tips and Ingredient Substitutions

The key to maintaining that fresh and light flavor found in chicken saagwala is by using fresh baby leaf spinach. While some may use canned or frozen spinach to make this dish, it doesn't pair as well with the ginger and garlic as fresh spinach. Another way to dial up the flavors is with a squeeze of lemon added at the end.