December 1, 2011

Chicken Saagwala with Basmati Rice Pilaf

By now you are experiencing turkey-day overload. The thought of eating one more turkey pot pie, one more bowl of turkey noodle soup, or one more bite of a turkey sandwich sends you in to a downward foodie spiral. 

Do not worry your pretty little head. Grubarazzi is here for you.  

Say “Namaste” to the day by cooking up an Indian feast at home tonight. It takes a little extra time and a teeny bit of effort, but it is well worth it. You will end up with a piping hot cauldron of creamy, spicy grub loaded with vegetables, protein and stress reducing antioxidants (scientific fact). 

Chicken Saagwala is an exquisite blend of spinach, onions, and traditional Indian spices stewed slowly to develop a buttery texture unmatched by any other spinach dish. It’s incredibly comforting, and if you make it at home it can be amazingly wholesome. 

Serve chicken saagwala with a heaping spoonful of basmati rice pilaf filled with fresh herbs, almonds, spices and crunch! Brown rice helps create an even nuttier flavor. 

Namaste, my friends. 

Chicken Saagwala (inspired by my favorite Indian restaurant)



2 tablespoons vegetable oil  
½ pound boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into pieces
½ pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces
2 pounds fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped
¼ cup chicken consommé
2 large white onions, minced
5 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika, or more to taste
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon of fresh mint

In a large pot over medium heat, wilt the spinach with salt, pepper and ¼ cup chicken consommé for about ten minutes. Once the spinach is wilted place into a blender and pulse until very finely chopped. Set the spinach aside. 

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; brown the chicken pieces, about 2 minutes per side (do in batches if necessary). Set the chicken aside. Place the onions, garlic, ginger and spices in the oil and cook until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Put the chicken back in to the pot along with the diced tomatoes; cover and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the spinach, and cook until the mixture has thickened and the spinach starts to stick, about 15 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, and bring the mixture just to a simmer. Remove from heat. 

Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, mint and coconut milk. Serve family style.

Basmati Rice Pilaf (inspired by Gourmet on epi

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups dry brown basmati rice
4 cups chicken broth, heated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 white onion, minced
2 whole cloves
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 small fresh jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
6 scallions, thinly sliced 

Wash rice in 6 or 7 changes of cold water in a large bowl until water is almost clear. Drain in a large sieve 10 minutes. 

In a large saucepot, heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook almonds, stirring frequently, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, then add onion to pot and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until pale golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add jalapeño, spices, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Add rice and cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, 6 minutes. Add broth and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid barely covers the rice. Cover pot, reduce the heat to low and cook until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes (only 20 minutes for white rice. 

Just before serving, toss the rice with almonds, fresh mint, fresh cilantro and scallions. 


  1. You know I'm pulling up my seat to your table to get some of this right.:) I love all the flavors you have going on here with the Saag curry. But that looks phenomenal! I think I could eat the entire serving bowl full. Great Job.

  2. This is a lovely and welcome change of pace from what I have been eating lately. I like the nutrient rich ingredients and spices used in the Saagwala and the rice dish looks very flavorful. Each are so hearty, they could stand alone as one meal. Delicious creations!

  3. Mmmmmm...what a lovely combination of dishes. Perfect for our chilly climate...and certainly delicious enough for rave reviews! Have a wonderful Friday~

  4. Yes, totally!!! On the same wavelength again - I had a Sri Lankan tofu curry the other night. Just what the doctor ordered. This looks fabulous and I will definitely put it in the rotation!

  5. Just look at that list of seasonings....YUM-UM!

  6. Yum! This looks so good! I love Indian Food, but I have never had anything like this before!

  7. I bookmarked this because I really need to make it. What a beautiful dish. Sending you some buzz!

  8. Nice one Grubs! I love the way you used fresh spinach. I'm an Indian food (and fresh spinach) addict. I make it for the family at least once a week.. Bookmarked!

  9. Dinner. TONIGHT! Yours are quickly becoming my favorites :) Can't wait to give this a try!


  10. I loved this pumpkin rumtini. This looks gorgeous!


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