I love cooking curries – especially for Mrs Romance. Over the next few Wednesdays I’ll be telling you how I cook my favourite Indian dishes in our curry series. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
When Mrs Romance came to England to live with me, I loved taking her to my favourite Indian restaurant. I’d been going to this place since I was a little boy – I even went to school with the owner’s son, who now runs his own restaurant too.
One of the best things about having a place like this, where you trust the staff and the food quality so implicitly, is you can explore the menu knowing you’re not going to have a bad meal.
I’ve tried a hundred times to recreate dishes from this place but they’re never as good. I’ll still keep trying though! This chicken saagwala is one of my favourite dry curries from the Alishan’s menu (I think they call it a ‘chicken saag korai’).
I hope you enjoy it too.
Serves 4 – takes about 35mins
Here’s what you need:
- 500g chicken breast cut into large cubes
- 300g baby spinach
- 1 large brown onion – chopped
- 1 clove of garlic – finely chopped
- 1 knot of fresh ginger – finely julienned
- 2tsp cumin seeds
- 1tsp coriander seeds
- 1tsp curry powder – I used Keen’s
- 1tsp turmeric powder
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1tbsp oil/ghee – I used veg oil and a little butter
Here’s what you do:
- Heat a heavy pan then toast the coriander seeds and half the cumin seeds until aromatic, then grind them up in a pestle and mortar.
- Add the oil to the pan, then add the remaining cumin seeds, the ground cumin and coriander, the turmeric and the curry powder.
- If you want, you can make your own curry powder with ground chillies, garam masala, asafoetida, fenugreek… but it’s a lot of hassle. Keen’s and a whole host of others do just as good a job as does the Monika curry paste brand.
- Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pan and combine well.
- Add the spinach and wait for the leaves to start wilting, then add the chicken. Stir well and combine everything thoroughly.
- Don’t over-cook the chicken or it’ll go dry – and feel free to add a little water or tomato paste if you think the pan’s too dry. Remember though, there will be liquid from the spinach.
- Serve when the chicken pieces are cooked through.
You can refrigerate this dish, but when you reheat it, make sure you add a little water. The chicken has a habit of drying out a bit. You can also add more fresh spinach if you like.
I love the added colour and texture you get from the spinach in this dish. You can add all kinds of other flavours to this and the spinach and the chicken will just suck them all up.
You can add a tin of tomato, a generous cube of butter and a touch of cream and this would become a pretty good chicken aloo makhani instead. It’s a good canvas to explore other curries.
Do you have a curry staple? What do you usually order if you go to an Indian restaurant?