Chicken Saag (Indian Spinach Curry) – Tomato-Based

I guess you can say that I’ve been in an Indian-food mood, since I experimented on two different types of chicken saag recipes this weekend.  Luckily enough, I really, really like Indian food, and these types of dishes freeze well so I can incorporate both dishes into my weekly meals for the next few weeks.

This is a revamped version of the traditional chicken saag that has a spinach- and tomato-based sauce – very bold and robust, in-your-face type of curry.  Unlike its demure sister dish that was featured yesterday, this chicken saag is not shy or ashamed for being spicy and sassy – it explodes in your mouth with the flavors of cayenne, clove, cardamom and garam masala.

This dish was suprisingly easy to make – the steps were very similar to the previous chicken saag recipe I posted yesterday, but the ingredients were slightly different.  Also, if you’re wondering why the portion of rice is slightly smaller than the portion from the previous chicken saag recipe, there’s a reason to my madness  – there are more carbs in the sauce (because of the crushed tomatoes), which is why I had to decrease the amount of rice in order to hit the macros.

After you have this, I can assure you that you won’t be reaching for your phone to order Indian food from Seamless anytime soon…enjoy!

(makes 10 servings)

2 cups uncooked brown rice
40 oz. boneless skinless chicken thighs
20 oz. frozen chopped spinach, drained

2 14 oz. cans unsalted crushed tomatoes
5 tbsp. olive or canola oil
2 tsp. crushed garlic
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp. ginger, minced  

2 jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup nonfat milk
2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground tumeric
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. Smart Balance Light butter spread

1.  Cook brown rice as directed on package and set aside.
2.  Trim excess fat from chicken thighs and cut into 1-inch pieces.
3.  In a large bowl, add chicken, 1 tsp. salt, cayenne pepper, and tumeric and mix until the spices have evenly covered the meat.
4.  Dice garlic, ginger, onion and peppers and set aside. 
5.  In a microwave-safe bowl, add chopped spinach and thaw in the microwave for 5 minutes.  Puree spinach in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Set aside.
4.  In a dutch oven or medium-sized pot under medium-high heat, add 3 tbsp. oil and saute chicken for 5-10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.  Set aside in a separate bowl.
5.  Add remaining oil in the pot and saute garlic, ginger, onion and peppers for 15 minutes until the mixture has caramelized into a brown color.
6.  Add cloves, coriander, cumin and garam masala and saute for 1-2 minutes, adding 2 tbsp. water in the pot to keep the spices from burning.
7.  Add spinach, crushed tomatoes and milk into the pot, and let the mixture summer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
9.  Add the chicken in the spinach mixture and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
10.  Add butter spread into the pot and mix until butter has melted.
11.  Serve with brown rice.


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