Moment of truth time folks: Pakistani food is hard, sorry Pakistani food can be hard. Not because of the techniques, but because of the time. So much damn time. Now of course there are great short cuts, but for an anxious hovering over her food kinda cook like me it can feel exhausting. That is what makes this hearty Murgh Palak so so perfect, there is no slow cooking of onions, no waiting for flavours to develop. Once the chicken is done you’re done. No garnishing required either. Just pick up your roti, or ladle the Murgh Palak over your rice and eat.
It also does not hurt that I love spinach (palak) which is why I am so generous with it, but please feel free to use the lesser amount for a more traditional version. A note on spinach – for those of you who can, pop into your nearest Pakistani or Indian stores and buy the frozen spinach you find there. It has a richer and earthier flavour than the spinach you buy in most grocery stores. I like to grab a few bags when I can and keep them handy. You can add fresh methi (fenugreek leaves) to this dish as well, but I usually have the fragrant dried version (kasuri methi) at home so that is what I use. Also please learn from my many mistakes (lol) and adjust seasoning before serving – spinach dishes tend to get saltier tasting as they sit!
Murgh Palak (Spinach and Chicken)
- 1 lb boneless chicken cut into big cubes about 50% more for bone in
- 1/2 a large red onion
- 1 to mato
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 heaped teaspoon garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 3/4-1 teaspoon salt start w 3/4
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne / red chilli powder
- 3/4 teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 340 g bags of thawed frozen spinach or 500g of spinach
- Heaped tbsp of Kasuri Methi dried fenugreek - optional
Finely dice the onion and tomato
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pot and add the diced onion, fry on medium high heat till the edges start to take on a golden brown
Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a minute
Now in with the dry spices, cook for another minute
Add the chicken and stir to coat with spices, keep 'stir frying' until none of the chicken pieces look pink.
Mix in the diced tomato, spinach and a cup of hot water, bring to a boil then simmer for 20-25 minutes until tender.
Add the kasuri methi (if using), adjust seasoning (remember to exercise caution) and the consistency.
Recipe NotesI usually skip garnishes, but if you're in the mood for something zestier add some finely chopped chillies and a squeeze of lemon juice!