Palak murgh

by Sunita on December 10, 2008

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 appealingĀ  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-

What’s needed-

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

5 cloves

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

How to-

  1. Puree together the tomatoes, onion, ginger and garlic, and keep aside.
  2. Puree the spinach along with the coriander leaves and keep aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the yogurt and stir for a few seconds.
  6. Add the chicken pieces and season with salt. Stir well to coat the chicken with the spicy mixture.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Add the garam masala powder and stir till the gravy thickens. Do not let it dry out, though.
  10. 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.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa December 10, 2008 at 12:12 pm

This chicken dish looks fantastic! Ever so flavorful and scrumptious! Now, I’m hungry…



Thanks…wish you were near :-)


2 Happy Cook December 10, 2008 at 12:25 pm

I love palak with dals, i have never made them with chicken. As hubby don’t like palak.
Tge chicken palak looks s yumm, i can imagine eating them with those roties.

Thanks…we adore spinach…so this went down a treat with all four of us :-)


3 Meena December 10, 2008 at 12:54 pm

I love Saag Chicken! Like you, I love adding spinach to a lot of the everyday dishes I make too; and adding it to chicken is a great way to get non-veggie lovers to enjoy it. I’ve never tried making a paste of the onions and tomatoes for the gravy, will surely give it a try the next time.

Yes, Meena, I do add it to a lot of dishes…do try the paste :-)


4 dhanggit December 10, 2008 at 12:56 pm

you saved my day! i’ll try this recipe tonight!! this looks absolutely delicious!

Thanks…do give it a try…hope you like it :-)


5 Soma December 10, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Lovely!! I have not made this for such a long time… I add kasuri methi to mine.

Thanks… and I like the addition of kasuri methi..will do so next time :-)


6 farida December 10, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Sunita, first of congrats on your new blog design. It looks so good, very user-friendly and I just loved those cherries in your header:) Second of, Palak Murgkh looks so good. I think I’ve tried something like this in a local Indian restaurant a while ago, but can’t recall if it was called the same.

Thank you Farida…I had to learn quite a lot :-)


7 Nirmala December 11, 2008 at 3:50 am

mmm..yummy. With those softy rotis they look divine!

Thanks Nirmala..we did enjoy the meal indeed :-)


8 grace December 11, 2008 at 2:08 pm

i like my chicken saucy, so this looks great–the onion rings are so decorous!

Thanks grace :-)


9 Lore December 11, 2008 at 3:54 pm

I love spinach a great deal too. And what can be better when paired with a tender chicken? Delicious!:-)

Thanks…we did love it indeed:-)


10 rachel December 12, 2008 at 2:36 pm

I am not to fond of palak on my chicken…but the pic does make a non-fan of palak crave for it :)

Yay! now that is definitely a success ;-)


11 Cynthia December 12, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Darling! I love the new blog! So very beautiful!

Thanks , dear Cynthia…still learning a lot :-)


12 Shabs May 15, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Hey .. I tried it yesterday … It came out really well !!! I just came back to look for another recipe to make tonite !!



13 greedyguts May 23, 2009 at 8:53 pm

whar brand of garam masala do you recommend?


14 Sunita May 25, 2009 at 1:23 pm

‘Kohinoor’ or ‘MDH’ :-)


15 n33ma November 10, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Hi Sunita,

I tried the Palak murg and it was amazing.Im not a big fan of chicken and spinach together but this was good.
Thanks for sharing a good recipe.


16 meeso November 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Wow, this looks mouthwatering, I will have to try it!


17 Heather November 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Hi, Thank you for publishing this recipe. I am of Chinese descent and australian nationality and I love Indian food ! Am learning more about it, especially spinach curries, through blogs :)


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