Punjabi Chicken and Spinach

With the rain thundering down I am desperate for warming food, but conscious of the need for hit of green, Happily there are huge bags of spinach in the grocers so I grabbed a couple.  After a quick browse I found a punjabi recipe for Chicken With Spinach by  Anjum Anand . I was almost certainly drawn by the fact it had 11 garlic cloves and that I had all the ingredients in stock.

I removed the skin from the chicken and jointed it into legs and breasts (I find doing this very stress relieving)  turning the remaining carcass into stock. Even while cooking  I was worried  it wouldn’t work , why weren’t the chillis chopped , it didn’t seem like enough tomatoes, was the dish going to end up too dry, was there enough spice, would it taste to spinachy. However it definitely altered my kind of “Toast the spices then bung everything in attitude to curry”, giving me a good appreciation for building levels of flavour.

Here seems I good time to confess I complained bitterly during  Anjum Anand’s TV series about the  episodic repetition  of the mantra “Indian Food can be healthy, tasty and easy”. But truer words are rarely spoken this was delicious , healthy and easy ( though I have amended the timings from the original ) . There was a real depth of flavour from bottom notes of chilli and garamasala , sweet cinnamon and fragrant lemony spinach.  Next I will be trying the Green Coconut Fish Curry

Punjabi Chicken with Spinach

500g spinach leaves, washed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cardamon  pods
2 bay leaves
5cm piece cinnamon
3 green chillies, pricked with a knife
1 large onion, chopped
2cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
11 garlic cloves, peeled,
100g of tinned tomatoes
800g chicken, jointed, skin removed
2 tsp ground coriander
1½ tsp garam masala
4 tbsp plain yoghurt, stirred
freshly ground black pepper

1. In a food processor, blend the spinach to a purée.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cardamom pods, bay leaves and cinnamon and fry for 20-30 seconds.
3. Add the green chillies and onion and continue to fry for 10 minutes, or until caramelised.
4. Meanwhile, blend the ginger, garlic and tomatoes to a smooth paste in the food processor.
5. When the onions have caramelised, add the tomato-ginger-garlic paste, chicken pieces and remaining spices to the pan and stir well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and simmer 25 minutes stirring regularly.
6. Add the yoghurt, stir well and continue to simmer the mixture until the sauce has thickened and almost dried out. (5 minutes)
7. Stir in the spinach purée and continue to simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then serve with rice.

Sag PaneerBrinjal Pickle by you.


  1. Tried this tonight and was very pleased with the outcome. I added a little water with the tomato mixture because I like a very wet curry. It didn’t seem to do any harm. I used frozen spinach which had been lurking in the freezer for months and this worked well.

    I would definitely make this again. It’s also great to find a recipe that encourages you to chicken pieces cooked on the bone, which makes such a difference to the final outcome.

  2. Curry is one of my favourite foods and this dish has become my number one choice out of Anand’s book. And I’ve made every one of the chicken curries in the book! I’ve probably made this curry about 10 times with both fresh and frozen spinach. Both and delicious. I also add a little water as I like a wet curry.

  3. Made this last night. I have the recipe book, but I visited your blog, to see if a real person recommended it (and also because the previous recipe I did from the book had a glaring typo that would’ve ruined the dish, if I hadn’t found a revised one online). I really liked it, although I used whole, large tomatoes (as per the book) and I feel this produced too much liquid for the garlic paste. Spent a lot of time reducing. Also, you might want to specify that the cardamoms should be brown, as I think most people default to green. Thanks for posting, it was a big help.

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