Palak chicken recipe: tender pieces of boneless chicken breast and spinach leaves simmered in an onion-tomato gravy made creamy with cashews. This is the best of North Indian chicken recipes and a foodie’s dream come true!
When it comes to easy and healthy chicken recipes, palak chicken is one of my favourites. A high protein meal, it combines the goodness of white meat and spinach plus it is very tasty.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is cashews. A handful of them, when pureed and added to the simmering gravy makes a world of difference to the texture and taste of palak chicken. The gravy becomes wonderfully creamy and thick, just the way it’s supposed to be.
Two hacks to make palak chicken easy to cook
1. Chop the spinach instead of boiling it – I have seen a lot of palak chicken recipes where the spinach is first boiled, then blanched and then pureed (phew!) to make it ready for the chicken gravy. I have done away with these tedious steps and found, to my joy, that it makes not a jot of difference to the final dish. All you need to do, in my version, is to wash and chop the spinach and dunk it in the cooking masala. Saves a ton of effort.
Tip: If you’re using baby spinach that comes in plastic containers, it is pre-washed and there is no need to chop it either. Available in most supermarkets.
2. Use chicken breast instead of bone-in chicken pieces – boneless chicken, as everyone knows, cooks faster. I regularly make spinach chicken with boneless chicken breast pieces. The meat is fork-tender in 8-10 minutes and turns out yum!
So, these are my two simple tips for keeping your cooking process easy and fuss-free. And if you have the onion-tomato masala and the ginger garlic paste ready (you can make these beforehand and store in your refrigerator), making this palak chicken recipe becomes a cinch!
Ingredients used in this chicken and spinach curry
- chicken breast – cut into small-medium pieces
- spinach – washed and chopped
- onions – sliced
- tomatoes – chopped or pureed
- ginger-garlic paste – store bought or homemade
- cashews – pureed
- whole spices – cardamom, cumin and cloves. Substitute with garam masala powder if you wish to.
- powdered spices – red chilli, turmeric and coriander. The turmeric is optional.
- cooking oil and salt
How to make spinach chicken
Step 1 – Make the masala
Add whole spices in hot oil, fry the onions, add the pastes, chopped tomatoes and powdered spices. Saute until the masala is thick and fragrant.
Step 2 – Add chicken
Add the chicken pieces, a little water and cook until the chicken is almost done.
Step 3 – Add spinach
Add the chopped spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted and mixed with the chicken.
Serve hot with Indian bread or rice.
Other Indian chicken recipes you might like
Palak Chicken (Spinach Chicken Curry)
Palak chicken is tender pieces of boneless chicken breast and spinach leaves simmered in an onion-tomato gravy made creamy with cashews. The best of North Indian chicken recipes and a foodie’s dream come true!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: Serves 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stove-top cooking
- Cuisine: Indian
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 level tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1 medium tomato
- 12 cashewnuts
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 black cardamom
- 5 cloves
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
- salt, to taste
Preparation (30 minutes)
- Make the ginger garlic paste. If using store-bought paste, skip this step. Otherwise, take equal quantities of ginger and garlic in a small blender, add a little water and grind to a thick paste. Use as required.
- Wash and chop the spinach.
- Cut the chicken breast into small pieces.
- Slice the onion and chop tomato.
- Make a paste of the cashews.
Cooking (30 minutes)
- Heat oil in a pan and add the whole spices. When they change colour, add onions and fry until they caramelize and turn reddish brown.
- Add the ginger-garlic paste, cashew paste and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomato, powdered spices and salt. Saute for 5 minutes on low to medium heat or until the masala is thick and shiny. Add water as required to keep the masala from burning.
- Add the chicken pieces and cook until almost tender. Add water as required.
- Add the chopped spinach leaves and cook. Serve palak chicken with Indian bread or rice.
- The gravy in palak chicken is supposed to be thick. Spinach releases a lot of water, so if you find the gravy getting watery after you’ve added it, just cook on high heat until most of the liquid gets absorbed.
- Spinach is quite salty on its own, so be careful while adding salt. You might not need to put in as much as you do in other dishes.
- You can adjust the red chilli powder too according to your taste. If one teaspoon is too much, reduce the quantity to half.
- If you don’t have the whole spices required for this recipe, you can substitute with powdered garam masala. It is available easily in Indian stores and the international aisles of most supermarkets.
- Calories: 228.9
- Sodium: 711.9
- Fat: 17.2
- Saturated Fat: 1.9
- Unsaturated Fat: 12.7
- Carbohydrates: 7.5
- Fiber: 1.7
- Protein: 13.6
- Cholesterol: 32.5
Keywords: spinach chicken, easy chicken dinners
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