Chicken And Spinach Saagwala Curry – Do you love a Saagwala curry from your local takeaway? The chicken is marinated with beautiful spices and a cooling yoghurt mix then topped with a creamy, spinach packed sauce. Packing a punch in the flavour department! The chicken is cooked high and fast, for tandoori style, charred but moist chicken. Perfect served with homemade roti.
A traditional North Indian curry, with a rich spinach gravy. Normally slow cooked and served with Lamb. We have replaced the long slow cooking of the lamb and used chicken instead. For extra delicious, tender results marinade the chicken in the beautiful spice and yoghurt mix for as long as possible, ideally over night. This recipe creates a thick gravy, we love the thick texture, topped with the crunch of almonds and smooth yoghurt.
Sagawala curry is such a popular takeaway dish, this recipe is easy to re-create at home and delicious! So whether you are cooking for a crowd or whipping up a weekend dinner for two, it won’t disappoint.
- Chicken – We recommend using chicken thigh as it retains it’s moisture during cooking but you can also use chicken breast.
- Spinach – this recipe uses frozen spinach, its available all year round and we like the texture with this dish. You can also use fresh or baby spinach, which can be blanched and blended to create a similar texture.
- For the marinade –
- Kashmiri chilli powder, you may have to visit your local Indian supermarket to source this. We love the sweet, rich flavour and colour of Kashmiri chilli and use it in many curry dishes. If you aren’t sure where your nearest Indian supermarket is, we highly recommend a quick google search and buying it bulk! This can be replaced with standard chilli powder but reduce the amount, we would recommend 1/2 tsp, but adjust to taste.
- Then we add coriander powder, dried fenugreek, garam masala, cumin powder and turmeric powder, all of which should be found in your local supermarket.
- For the liquid we use 1/2 a lemon juice, oil, full fat natural yoghurt, remember to use unsweetened. Finished of course, with a good season of salt.
- The Saagwala sauce –
- For it’s richness and flavour this recipe uses 4 tbsp’s of ghee, if you haven’t tried it, we highly recommend giving it a go. Or you can replace it with canola oil.
- The base of the sauce is made using some classic curry ingredients, onions, garlic, tomatoes, green chilli’s, fresh ginger and bay leaves.
- More spices for flavour! Coriander, cumin, Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and salt.
- Finished with both cream and a little full fat natural yoghurt for a beautiful creamy texture.
- Optional toppings for additional textures, almonds and more yoghurt!
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Marinating the chicken.
To create an amazing North Indian marinade, mix the marinade ingredients together well. Make sure all those spices are well mixed through the liquid. Add the chicken and coat well. Then cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but for best results leave overnight.
For this recipe, we cook the chicken on a high heat, in the oven for 25 minutes. Doing it this way recreates a similar effect to a tandoor oven. The meat will remain really moist but the high temperature cooking will create tasty charred edges to the chicken! Yum!
Alternative serving suggestions – this marinated chicken is delicious as it is and can be served with salad or wrapped in a flatbread. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge, making a great lunch option!
Creating a saagwala sauce.
Saagwala curry sauce, is a simple curry to make from scratch building layers of flavour as you go. This process starts by slowing cooking blended base ingredients; garlic, ginger, onions and chopped chilli. Once these are slightly brown (around 10 – 15 mins), add the spices toasting them to release all the amazing flavour. Then add the pureed tomatoes and thawed spinach and stir.
Your kitchen will now smell amazing with all those flavours! Time to add the creamy texture, with the addition of the cream and yoghurt to the sauce, allowing it to cook for a further 10 minutes.
This recipe leaves the saagwala gravy thick and chucky, we love the texture topped with the crunch of almonds and smooth yoghurt. But if you want a smoother Saagwala gravy, once it is ready, let it cool slightly and place it into a blender. Blitz to your desired texture.
Slice your cooked chicken and stir through the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if required. Serve with basmati rice and homemade roti bread, this chicken and spinach saagwala curry makes the perfect ‘fake away’ at home!
A great weekend dish, for getting lost in the kitchen and spoiling your friends and family.
Frequently asked questions.
Saagwala curry is fairly mild, due to the cooling affect of the cream and yoghurt sauce. You can also adjust the spice levels to your taste, by using milder chilli’s or reducing the amount used.
Left over’s can be frozen or placed covered in the fridge overnight. Chilling the sauce overnight then reheating the next day, will intensive the flavour, making it even more delicious!
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Our goal is to share simple, tasty dishes created by Chef Shane and partner, Sara. Using Shane’s understanding of flavours and knowledge of food, to teach and inspire you to create delicious food everyday and gain a new level of confidence in the kitchen. Sara understands what it’s like preparing weekly dinners for a busy family of five and likes to create dishes that are easy, full of flavour and that the whole family will enjoy.
Originally posted 30th November 2021, updated 14th May 2022.
Chicken And Spinach Saagwala Curry
- 800 g Boneless chicken thigh skin removed (See note 1)
- 200 g Frozen chopped spinach thawed (See note 2)
- 2 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (See note 3)
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 2 tsp Fenugreek dried
- 2 1/2 tsp Garam masala
- 1/2 Lemon juice only
- 1 tbsp Canola oil
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1TSP Salt
- 1/2 cup Full fat natural yoghurt
- 4 tbsp Ghee Or canola oil
- 2 medium Onions peeled
- 5 cloves Garlic
- 2 Tomatoes
- 2 Green chilli deseeded chopped
- 1 thumb size Fresh ginger peeled
- 2 tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 1/2 tsp Garam masala
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 tsp Salt
- 300 ml Cream
- 2 tbsp Full fat natural yoghurt
- Sliced almonds
- Natural yoghurt
To Marinate the Chicken:
- In a bowl mix together all the chicken marinade ingredients, make sure they are mixed well.
- Add your chicken thighs and coat them really well in the marinade.
- Cover and leave to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, but for best results marinade over night.
Prepare the Saagwala sauce ingredients:
- Pre heat the oven to 250 deg C
- Using a mini blender, blend together the garlic and ginger until well minced. Remove from the chopper and place into a dish.
- Blend the onions until minced, don't turn into a puree. Remove from the chopper and place into a dish.
- Now blend the tomatoes into a puree, remove and place into a dish.
- Place all your spices together into a dish.
Cook the chicken:
- Using a large baking tray, line it with grease proof paper and place your marinated chicken onto the tray. Place into the oven for 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and a little charred.
- While your chicken is cooking its time to make the sauce. Heat a large pan to a medium heat.
- Add the ghee and allow to melt and heat, add the minced garlic, ginger, onions and chopped chilli. Add a pinch of salt and cook until the onions turn slightly brown. About 10 – 15 minutes.
- Now add your spices and let them toast in with the onions and release their flavour, about 2 minutes.
- Add the pureed tomato and cook this into the onions. Add the thawed chopped spinach and mix through the sauce.
- Add the cream and yoghurt and stir through, cook the sauce for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool off a little, cut each thigh piece into 5 pieces then add to your Saagwala sauce and stir through.
- Check the seasoning and adjust if needed.
- Serve with roti bread or naan and steamed basmati rice.