This recipe has a lot of steps and an intimidating list of ingredients, but chicken saagwala is one of my favorite Indian dishes so I was excited to give it a try. I bought most of the spices at Whole Foods in the bulk spice section for a total of $0.61. With a glass of wine, and good friends to keep me company in the kitchen, it was fun to cook a dish which was well outside my comfort zone.
I was really pleased with the end result, and will definitely make this again. The whole peppercorns were slightly pungent though, so I may substitute freshly ground black pepper next time.
2.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken pieces
1 10 oz. bag fresh spinach
3 T oil
1 t cardamom
2 large onions, sliced thinly
2 T minced garlic
1 T ginger powder
1 t cumin
1 T garam masala
2 medium tomatoes chopped fine, or 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
Wash the spinach well and chop. Put into a pot with 1/2 c. water and boil until cooked. Grind the spinach into a paste in a food processor and set aside.
Heat 2 T oil in a pan on a medium flame and fry the chicken pieces till well browned. Remove and set aside.
Heat 1 T oil, then add the whole peppercorn and cloves. As the spices turn slightly darker, add the cardamom, onion, ginger and garlic and fry until the onions are pale golden in color. Add the cumin and garam masala and fry for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken to this masala, mix well and add half a cup of water. Cook until the chicken is almost done. Add the spinach and mix well, and continue to cook until most of the water evaporates.
-Recipe adapted from About.com; Photo courtesy of Dave Goldberg