Chicken and Spinach Curry

Serves 4

This is a mildly spiced Indian curry – don’t be fooled by the amount of chilli powder used here as it is the Kashmiri variety. Kashmiri chilli is a lot milder than regular chilli powder with a gentle warmth and sweet earthy notes. If you don’t have any you could use paprika instead with a dash of cayenne pepper.

As we said, this curry is not hot but rather more aromatic with a degree of warmth coming from the garam masala. The generous amount of spinach used creates a silky texture with rich flavour.

Serve simply either with basmati rice or chapattis or naan breads.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 800g chicken, skinless breast or thigh cut into large chunks
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5cm piece cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green chilli, pierced lengthwise with a knife
  • 5cm piece ginger, grated
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 300g spinach leaves, washed
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon juice
  • handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • a little cream to drizzle (optional)

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Method

In a bowl large enough to accommodate the meat, combine the yogurt, Kashmiri chilli powder and ground turmeric. Add the chicken and stir until evenly coated in the yogurt and spice mixture.

Put in the refrigerator to marinate for up to 3 hours.

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves and cumin seeds and fry for 20 – 30 seconds.

Add the onion and green chilli and fry 4 -5 minutes until caramelised. Note: it is important that the onions take on a golden brown colour as this gives a particular flavour to the finished curry.

Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a further minute.

Add the chicken with all of the yogurt and spice mix and stir fry for 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, ground coriander and garam masala.

Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce reduces down and clings to the chicken.

In a food processor, finely chop the spinach.

Add the spinach to the pan and stir in and continue to simmer for 10 – 12 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and a splash of lemon juice.

To serve, drizzle over a little cream, and scatter over some chopped coriander leaves.

NOTES ON INGREDIENTS

Both Kashmiri chilli powder and garam masala can be obtained from Spice Kitchen who hand-grind and blend their spices for flavour and freshness. It is well worth investing in a stocked masala dabba (Indian spice tin) from Spice Kitchen as it has everything you need to make a variety of curries.

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