Chicken with spinach sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

In this recipe, Murgh-saag Masala, succulent breast meat, tinged golden with turmeric, is cooked in a mildly spiced mixture with fresh spinach leaves, which wilt to make a vibrant green sauce. Briefly marinating the chicken in lime juice helps to tenderize the meat as well as adding a slight sharpness to the finished dish.


  • 1 kg/2 ¼lb chicken breasts, skinned
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2.5 cm/1 in fresh root ginger, grated, or 10ml/2 tsp ginger purée
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed, or 20ml/4 tsp garlic purée
  • 2.5 ml/72 tsp ground turmeric
  • 10 ml/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2.5 ml/12 tsp chilli powder
  • 25 g/1 oz ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1 dried red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2.5 ml/72 tsp cumin seeds
  • 450 g/1lb fresh spinach, washed, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp garam masala
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and diced, to garnish
  • warm Indian bread, to serve


  1. Cut each chicken breast lengthways into two pieces. Sprinkle with the lime juice and salt. Set aside for 15–20 minntes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the onion until it begins to brown. Add the ginger and half the garlic and continue to fry for further 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the turmeric, cumin and chilli powder. Cook for a few seconds.

  3. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, turning occasionally until the outside of the meat is opaque. Pour in 75ml/2 ½fl oz/ cup water and bring to the boil. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

  4. In a separate pan, melt the ghee or butter over a low heat and fry the remaining garlic, the chilli and the cumin seeds for 1 minute.

  5. Add the spinach and increase the heat to high. Stir until the spinach has wilted. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, until cooked. Stir in the garam masala, then garnish with the tomatoes and serve with warm Indian bread.

Per portion Energy 351kcal/1469kJ; Protein 43g; Carbohydrate 7g, of which sugars 5g; Fat 17g, of which saturates 5g; Cholesterol 128mg; Calcium 164mg; Fibre 2.8g; Sodium 543mg.