Thursday, 29 December 2011

Chicken Saag

Now that Christmas is over (thank goodness), I really wanted to eat a healthy meal, simply because of the over indulgence during the festive period. Thinking about what to eat I decided on a curry. I can almost hear you shouting curry isn't healthy with all that ghee, but this curry only has a little oil, and has fresh tomatoes, spinach, yoghurt, and chillies. All wonderfully healthy ingredients.

This is a tasty curry, thanks to the earthy taste of the spinach. The ginger and garlic help give it a great background flavour and the chilli gives it a little kick, which is mellowed by the yoghurt. Be careful not to cook the curry on too high a heat, otherwise the yoghurt will split.

I have said use skinned and boned chicken thighs, but you can leave the bone in if you prefer however you should cook for the curry for longer- about 25-30 minutes. Do check to ensure they are completely cooked. You can also cut the thigh into smaller pieces and so you can reduce the cooking time to about 15 minutes. Again check the chicken to ensure it's completely cooked through.

If you don't want the curry to be too spicy, scrape out the seeds from the green chilli.

  • 225g fresh spinach leaves, washed (remove any very large stems)
  • 2.5cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 fresh green chilli, roughly chopped
  • 200ml water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 45ml plain (natural) yoghurt
  • 8 chicken thighs, skinned and boned
  • (serves 4)

Cook the spinach, without water, for 5 minutes in a pan, or if it’s in a bag microwave it following the instructions. Put the spinach, ginger, garlic and chilli with 50ml of the water into a food processor and blend into a purée. Put to one side.

Heat the oil in a clean pan then add the bay leaves and peppercorns and fry for 2 minutes. Then add the onions and cook for 6-8 minutes, ensuring they don't brown or burn.

Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, salt and chilli powder. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes.

Add the spinach purée and the remaining water and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Turn down the heat and stir in the yoghurt a little at a time, stirring continuously until the yoghurt has completely mixed in.

Add the chicken, cover the pan and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and tender. Serve with rice, adding some yoghurt on top.

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