Chicken Saag with Tomato Raita and Lemon Rice

Chicken Saag with Tomato Raita and Lemon Rice

I really started falling in love with Indian curries about 6 years ago. I wasn’t exposed to it growing up so when my boss asked me to create more Indian-inspired dishes I was slightly paralyzed with ignorance. But once I educated myself about the cuisine, I was amazed at how complex and beautiful Indian food was. Since then, I’ve proudly become moderately confident (can anyone truly be confident with a cuisine like this one?) about my skills when it comes to preparing Indian food. And this Chicken Saag with Tomato Raita and Lemon Rice is proof of that.

Sure, chicken saag may be one of the more basic Indian dishes out there. But this was one of the first curries I made that made me feel like I was on the right track to my Indian food exploration. What’s great about this recipe, as it was for me 6 years ago, is that it’s approachable, well-known, and very easy to replicate at home. It’s the perfect gateway curry for anyone hesitant to make it themselves.

Chicken Saag with Tomato Raita and Lemon Rice

My Chicken Saag recipe differs from others mostly because of the side dishes. I find that anytime you eat a “bad” curry its because it was seasoned properly. And not just with salt. Acid plays a massive role in a curry’s complexity. Which is why the lemon basmati rice is a perfect pairing for the chicken and spinach curry. The tomato raita, a yogurt based sauce, is not only tangy and bright but crisp from the fresh tomatoes. I love how the fresh tomatoes play off of the stewed tomato-curry sauce so well. This Chicken Saag with Tomato Raita and Lemon Rice is the ultimate comfort food. And not only does it pack a punch but its healthy and easy to prepare.

Chicken Saag with Tomato Raita and Lemon Rice
The “before”

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Chicken Saag with Tomato Raita and Lemon Rice
This Chicken Saag with Tomato Raita and Lemon Rice is the ultimate comfort food. It's aromatic, spicy, fresh, warm, and crisp. One bite and you'll need to devour the whole pot.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
portions
Ingredients
Lemon Rice
Tomato Raita
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
portions
Ingredients
Lemon Rice
Tomato Raita
Instructions
Lemon Rice
  1. Rinse the rice briefly then soak for 15 minutes in water. Drain and place rice and 4 cups of water in small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until water is absorbed and the rice is soft. Season with salt and add in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
Tomato Raita
  1. Season the cubed tomatoes with a generous helping of salt and stir. Let the tomatoes rest on the counter for 15 minutes. The salt will slowly extract the juices as it sits. Finish by mixing in the remaining ingredients and season with salt.
    Tomato Raita
Chicken Saag
  1. Season chicken generously with salt. Add the oil or ghee to a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering add in the julienne onions. Lower the heat and cook for 25-30 minutes. The best curries start with well caramelized,dark onions so take your time with this step. Once caramelized, add in the ginger, garlic, and jalapenos. Saute for 1-2 minutes then add in the turmeric, coriander, chili powder, and 1 1/2 tbsp garam masala. Saute for 1 minute then add in the tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil then lower temperature to low. Add in the spinach, in handfuls until its all added, then add in the seasoned chicken.
    ginger, chili, garlic, and onion
  2. Cover the pot and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until chicken reaches and internal temperature of 150 degrees. Carefully remove the chicken and set aside to cool slightly to handle. Continue to cook and reduce the curry until dark and thick, about 15-20 minutes. Season curry with remaining garam masala, salt and lemon juice. Pull apart the chicken into large pieces and place back in the seasoned curry to warm until serving.
    Chicken Saag
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