Chicken is such a convenient weeknight staple isn't it? It cooks quickly and with a little variation in technique and spices you can make so many flavorful Pakistani Chicken Recipes. I have spent many years, on the blog and in my daily life, thinking about how I can bring the flavors I love to increasingly busy weeknights and as healthily as possible.
This recipe for homemade Pakistani palak chicken(or chicken and spinach curry) is a winner because it is:-
- perfectly seasoned
- quick to make stovetop
- Uses convenient boneless chicken and frozen spinach (no pureeing needed!)
- can be served with roti or rice
- healthy because it's nutrient rich thanks to the spinach.
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.
What is Palak Chicken and how do I make it?
Palak Chicken is a chicken dish made by creating a simple chicken masala base, similar in approach to this Chicken Masala. The process is simple
- Saute onions to soften them - much better flavour and far less oil needed here than with onion paste
- Add your ginger, garlic, spices etc as per recipe directions
- Saute the chicken in that delicious base
- Add that good for you iron rich spinach and the tomato.
- Simmer till tender
- Sprinkle some fragrant kasuri methi, adjust consistency and dig in!
What is the best Spinach to buy for Palak Chicken?
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.
What about Chicken?
Here in this dish for weeknight convenience I use boneless chicken. My preference is the leaner cleaner chicken breast, but if you prefer thigh meat then feel free to sub that in!
That said bone in chicken is always the more flavorful choice because the bones of the chicken release their own 'juice' and enhance the flavor of a dish. If you are using bone in chicken then I suggest between 1.5-2 lbs and everything else stays the same.
What is Kasuri Methi and can I skip it?
Methi is the Urdu/Hindi word for fenugreek leaves. Kasuri Methi is dried fenugreek leaves and the aroma when added at the end of a dish is truly special. You can add fresh methi to this dish as well, but I usually have the fragrant dried version (kasuri methi) at home so that is what I use. If you skip it in this dish it will taste fine, but feel like it's missing something.
What do I make with Palak Chicken?
The answers to that depends entirely on whether you plan to serve it with roti or rice.
With roti/naan/paratha: A little Bhindi Masala, a little plain dahi and you are on your way to feel good meal!
Murgh Palak - Palak Chicken
- 1 lb boneless chicken cut into big cubes about 50% more for bone in
- ½ a large red onion
- 1 to mato
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 heaped teaspoon garlic
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- ¾-1 teaspoon salt start w ¾
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 ½ teaspoon cayenne / red chilli powder
- ¾ 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.