Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chicken Saag

This is an easy and delicious Indian recipe, that we found by cracking open a cook book given to us by Lucian.  It's called Healthy Indian Cooking by Manisha Kanani and Shehzad Husain.   This dish definitely lives up to the book's title, because it is super healthy, made with spinach, tomatoes, spices, and non-fat yogurt.  It has a little heat from the jalapeno, but it's not too spicy.  Omit the seeds if you want to cut down on the heat level.  We loved this dish for the great flavor, and for being different from the usual Indian curries we've made in the past.  It goes great with rice or naan bread, and since it's made with spinach there's really no need for a vegetable side dish.

8 oz fresh spinach (no need to get baby spinach for this one)
1 inch ginger, grated or finely minced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 jalapeno, roughly chopped
1 cup water
1 T olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/2 t black peppercorns
1 onion, finely diced
1 can diced tomatoes, with juices
2 t curry powder
2 t salt
2 t chile powder
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (or low-fat)
3 chicken breasts, each sliced in half
Cook spinach leaves over medium-low heat in a covered pot, without adding water.  The spinach will wilt in about 5 minutes.  When it has wilted, take it off the heat.

In a food processor, combine the spinach, ginger, garlic, jalapeno, and 1/4 cup water.  Pulse until the mixture has formed a very thick sauce.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.   When it is hot, add the peppercorns and bay leaves, and fry for two minutes.  Then add the onion and 1 t salt.  Continue cooking for about 6-8 minutes or until onion has browned slightly.

Next, add the can of tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes.  stir in the curry powder, 1 t salt, and the chile powder, and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Stir in the spinach puree and 3/4 cup water and simmer for 5-7 minutes.   Add the yogurt, stir well, and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.  Taste the sauce for salt and pepper.  At this point, your kitchen should smell delicious!

Finally, place the chicken into the pan and submerge it in the sauce.  Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender.  Serve with rice or naan bread.  Garnish with more yogurt and chile powder, if desired.

Watch out for the peppercorns as you are eating!  We didn't mind them, but they definitely add a surprising burst of spiciness and it may be a little much for some people. 

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