Friday, June 7, 2013

Palak Murgh (Spinach Chicken Curry)

Similar to the well known vegetarian dish, palak paneer (spinach with paneer, Indian cheese).  Since certain members of our family do not like paneer, this was made with chicken.

For chicken
1.5 lbs chicken breast, cut in 3/4" cubes
1/4 cup yogurt
1 heaping tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1 tablespoon oil

Combine and marinate in refrigerator up to 12 hours.  Then, heat oven to 450.  Place the chicken pieces in an oven safe, oiled dish and cook for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and tender.  Set aside.

For curry
1 - 16 oz package frozen whole leaf spinach, thawed*
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1" piece cinnamon stick
3 cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 finely chopped onion
1/2 to 1 sliced serrano chile
1 roma tomato, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk

Take frozen spinach and blend just until pureed.  Set aside.

In a pot heat oil then add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Fry for about 30 seconds then add onion and serrano chile and stir-fry until browned.  (About 10 minutes)  Add tomato and saute until soft and pulpy.  (Another 7-10 minutes.) Add the ginger garlic paste, coriander, cumin and garam masala and salt.  Stir fry for a couple minutes then add pureed spinach.  Add a little water if necessary, to get desired consistency (it should remain a little thick) and cook for 5-7 minutes uncovered.  Stir in cooked chicken pieces, salt, adjust seasonings as necessary stir in cream.  Simmer for 5 minutes then serve.

Delicious with naan, chapati, paratha or white rice.

*If using fresh spinach, buy a bag of baby spinach leaves which are prewashed, and then blanch them prior to pureeing.  To blanch: keep a large bowl of ice water near the stove.  Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the spinach leaves and simmer for a minute.  Immediately remove the spinach leaves and dunk them in the ice water bath.  Drain the spinach then proceed with recipe.

Recipe Serves 4.

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