Thursday, February 13, 2014

Indian Creamed Spinach with Chicken (Saag)

As long as I can remember, I have loved trying foods from different places.  I can't remember when I first tried Indian food, but I do remember trying creamed spinach.  Since that day I have been searching for a recipe to make at home that is as delicious as I have eaten in a restaurant.  (Next, I will have to master naan bread, but that is a recipe for another day.)  I stumbled upon a recipe that included tomatoes.  I have no idea what they would add to the dish, but I found that I love the complex flavor that they added to the recipe.  It was a pretty good recipe, but it wasn't as good as I remembered eating in a restaurant.  I continued the search until I found this recipe in Anjum's New Indian.  My recipe is adapted from this cookbook.  I recommend this book if you are interested in making Indian food.  This recipe freezes well and reheats well, too.

Creamed Spinach
Serves 6

12 oz. spinach
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
4 green chiles, pricked
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
12 garlic cloves, peeled
3 large tomatoes, cut into quarters to remove core
1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoon plain, unsweetened yogurt

Use a blender or food processor, make a puree of the spinach.  Add a few tablespoons of water to help to make the puree.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil.  Add the spices (cinnamon, bay leaves and cardamom pods) and cook for 15-20 seconds or until fragrant.  Add the green chiles and onion and cook until they are browned.



Using the blender to make a paste of the ginger, garlic and tomatoes.  Add this to the cooked onion.  Add the remaining spices (coriander, garam masala and salt to taste).  Cook for about 10 minutes to thicken the sauce.  Stir occasionally.  Add the chicken and continue to cook over medium heat until the masala releases oil into the pan, about 10 more minutes.  Add the yogurt and cook until the sauce has evaporated a little.  Taste to ensure that the masala sauce has cooked through.



Stir in the spinach puree and cook for another 15-20 minutes over medium heat until the chicken has been cooked through.  Cover the pan and stir occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasonings.   Serve with rice or naan bread.

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