Paleng ( as we would say in Assamese) or palak (in Hindi) or spinach (in English, of course) is one leafy vegetable which we are extremely fond of, and it does make it’s way to our shopping trolley quite often. We love it’s taste, but what is even more appealing is it’s versatility, not to speak of the great health benefits. Whether it finds it’s way in curries, stir fries, dals, fritters, pestos, salads, flatbreads and so on, it always manages to lend it’s own special touch. Back home, the most common way would be to have it as a light stir fry with potatoes, in salads, or in a fish curry-paleng maasor jool (spinach fish curry) is an all time Assamese favourite.
However, the recipe that I would like to share with you today is one , which is more commonly found in the northern parts of India- palak murgh ( spinach chicken )
Like many others, there are probably zillions of ways of preparing it…the following is the way which works for our family, and which we did enjoy quite a lot. So, here goes-
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 medium sized onions, chopped
8-9 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
6 c of firmly packed spinach leaves
a small bunch of coriander leaves
4 tblsp of sunflower or vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
2 whole red chillies, split into half
2 green chillies, the stalks removed and slit halfway upwards from the bottom
1 inch stick of cinnamon
3 pods of cardamom, split
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cumin powder
12-13 pieces of chicken, skinned ( I used mixed pieces from a whole chicken)
6 tblsp of plain yogurt
salt to taste
1 tblsp garam masala powder
- Puree together the tomatoes, onion, ginger and garlic, and keep aside.
- Puree the spinach along with the coriander leaves and keep aside.
- Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, red chillies, cinammon, cardamom and cloves. Stir till the seeds begin to splutter and the spices begin to leave their aroma.
- Add the tomato mixture along with the green chillies, turmeric and cumin powders. Keep stirring over medium heat till most of the moisture evaporates and the mixture is lumpy.
- Add the yogurt and stir for a few seconds.
- Add the chicken pieces and season with salt. Stir well to coat the chicken with the spicy mixture.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook till the chicken pieces are cooked 3/4ths of the way. Keep stirring in between. Increase the heat to high and reduce the moisture a little.
- Add the spinach puree. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook till the chicken pieces are completely done. Keep stirring in between.
- Add the garam masala powder and stir till the gravy thickens. Do not let it dry out, though.
- Serve hot with plain rice or any Indian flatbread.
We had ours with some rotis and a fresh salad. If you like your curries to be hot, do feel free to add some chilli powder at the time when you’re adding the other powdered spices.
We absolutely loved this dish. This is the first time I made it, but I’m sure to make it again.