Friday, 17 April 2015

Pakistani style Spinach and chicken curry - Palak Chicken

Palak gosht was cooked a lot in my mother’s household during the winter season. I never liked what meat did to the spinach. While living in London, once I had Palak chicken at one of the Pakistani restaurants and loved it. Later I tried my own version at home and have not looked back ever since. My brother O who was studying at University of Warwick during that time, became the guinea pig for my cooking experiments.

My palak chicken not just got a high approval rating from him but I also got a request to make some palak chicken for him to take along to Warwick. For the year he was there, I used to make a stack of food for him and freeze it which he would take along to eat for next 2 weeks. A quarter in to the year, I started getting phone calls from his Pakistani and Indian class mates with specific requests for food, followed by thank you phone calls.

I wasn't thrilled to find out that O’s flatmates were eating all of his home cooked food. My firsthand experience taught me that the one thing that you miss the most while living away from home is the home cooked food. I quietly doubled the food he took to Warwick. Things sisters do for little brothers!!! Last night O called me from his office and asked me if I could make some palak chicken for him. I am always happy to fulfill such farmaish. We had it with boiled rice.
Here is the recipe.

Chicken – ½ kilo (6-8 pieces)
Fresh Spinach – 1 kilo (You can use frozen if fresh is not available)
Tomatoes – 4 Medium sized (make a puree with 2 green chilies)
Fresh Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp (heaped)
Mustard Seeds – 1 tbsp
Dried Whole Chilies - 4-5
Roasted Cumin seeds – 1 Tbsp (crushed)
Roasted Coriander seeds – 1 Tbsp (crushed)
Crushed Red Chilies -1 tsp (Adjust to taste)
Salt – 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
Oil : 6 Tbsp

  1. Wash the spinach and steam it in a large pan. Once steamed, puree it with the hand blender. Put aside.
  2. Heat the oil and add ginger garlic paste to it. Cook till its changes color.
  3. Add mustard seeds to it. Let it cook for a minute till you can smell them. Add the dried red chilies and cook for 10 secs. Add a dash of water to stop it from burning.
  4. Add cumin and coriander seeds. Cook for 30 sec.
  5. Add chicken and cook for 5 -7 mins till it completely changes color.
  6. Add tomatoes, salt and crushed chilies and cook till the water dries.
  7. Now add pureed spinach. Cook till the water dries and the oil comes out on the side.
I love serving this with boiled basmati rice. This also pairs well with homemade chappati – flat bread.