Palak Chicken is a weeknight friendly, healthy and hearty dish that is deeply comforting. This version is well balanced with some flavour additions that make it sing!
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 from the Palak Chicken here to the ever popular Chicken Ginger and One Pot Chicken Pulao.
Table of Contents
- Why you should make this Murgh Palak
- Let's talk Ingredients (and where they fall short!)
- How to Make Palak Chicken
- Recipe Changes
- Palak Chicken FAQs:
- What do I make with Palak Chicken?
Why you should make this Murgh Palak
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 (although you can use bone in)
- easily adaptable to the kind of spinach you have
- healthy because it's nutrient rich thanks to the spinach
- can be served with roti or rice
Let's talk Ingredients (and where they fall short!)
Let's break it down into two sections: Fresh ingredients and Spices.
- Chicken: bone in hands down has the BEST flavour, but I know many people prefer boneless for a variety of reasons so that's what I use here. When using boneless breast make sure you follow the instructions to ensure you have tender chicken!
- Tomato: Since there is all of one tomato, it's got to be full flavored. If your tomato is pale and flavorless you can add a little tomato paste right at the end to balance flavours.
- Onion: Yellow or red onions work. Avoid sweet vidalia onions!
- Ginger Paste and Garlic Paste: Homemade pastes are preferred unless you can find frozen ones that are vinegar free!
- Green Chilies: However many you add is upto you, but for me one is a minimum because of how it perfumes and flavours the masala.
- SPINACH!: I used to be team frozen spinach (the desi kind), but while I will still use it in a pinch I have pivoted since.
- Powdered spices: Salt, Chilli Powder, Turmeric, Coriander Powder (Bonus for roasted here!)
- Whole: Cumin, too good to skip!
- Dried: Kasuri methi or dried Fenugreek. A little goes a long way here towards creating a dish that is aromatic and has more nuanced flavour. Dried methi has a delicate perfume that pairs beautifully with spinach.
How to Make Palak Chicken
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.
TIP: Use your food processor to chop spinach fast.
Sizzle your cumin seeds and then saute onions until the edges turn golden. A little green chili is fun in here!
Add your ginger garlic paste, saute to get the rawness out and then add your chicken and spices.
Mix well until the colour changes then add a tomato and a little water and simmer on low for 20-25 minutes.
Once your chicken is tender crank up the heat to dry out the moisture. Add in your kasuri methi, then the spinach and cook for another 10-15 minutes on medium high heat, stirring frequently. You want the water in the dish to dry up and the oil to rise over it.
Taste and adjust seasoning to personal preference. I love a little squeeze of lemon juice in here.
I used to cook this recipe a little differently. Notably:
- no green chilies in the base
- adding the spinach with the tomato
- kasuri methi at the end
I've made the adjustments I have because it improves the flavour of the chicken itself as well as the overall dish. Also spinach doesn't reallllly need a long simmer, most of the work is in drying the water out towards the end.
Palak Chicken FAQs:
Can I skip Kasuri Methi?
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. In other words, please don't.
Can I make Palak Chicken ahead of time?
Yes. Since it is a masala based dish and not a dry one like this Highway Karahi it holds up well. Reheat it stove top for optimal flavour.
Can I add yoghurt or cream to this dish?
Some recipes add either ingredient and you are welcome to if that's what you're used to. Given the natural creaminess of this chopped spinach I don't think it really needs it and prefer instead to serve it with some thick plain yoghurt.
How do I make it spicier?
Spiciness is about balance, to up the mirch factor add a little more green chilli in the beginning and a little more red chili powder in the dish itself. Try to keep the proportion of the spices constant. Note: an adjustment in spices will mean an adjustment in salt too!
What do I make with Palak Chicken?
The answers to that depends entirely on whether you plan to serve it with roti or rice.
Murgh Palak - Palak Chicken
- 1 lb boneless chicken cut into big cubes about 50% more for bone in
- ½ a large red onion
- 1-2 diced green chilies
- 1 tomato
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 heaped teaspoon garlic paste
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger or ginger paste
- ¾-1 teaspoon salt start w ¾
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¾-1 teaspoon cayenne / red chilli powder
- ¾ teaspoon coriander powder
- 400 g fresh spinach (can use less, see notes)
- Heaped tbsp of Kasuri Methi dried fenugreek - optional
- lemon juice, garam masala
- Finely dice the onion and tomato
- The easiest way to dice spinach is to run it through a food processor. The second easiest is to use kitchen shears and snip away.
- 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.
- Optional: Add a diced green chilli (or two) for extra flavour.
- Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a minute
- Add the chicken and spices, saute on medium high heat until all the sides of the chicken pieces have changed colour.
- Mix in the diced tomato, and ½-1 cup of hot water (more for stainless steel, less for non stick) and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
- Crank up the heat to dry up the excess water and add your kasuri methi and saute for a minute.
- Now add your spinach - spinach is a naturally watery green so at this stage your goal is to cook the moisture out of the spinach and have the oil rise above your dish. This takes about 10-12 minutes on medium heat.
- Adjust seasoning - a squeeze of lemon juice is lovely here, but you can also add some garam masala, and/or extra chilies.