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Picture of saag chicken served in a white bowl with naan on the side

Saag Chicken

This is a quick and easy, weekday chicken curry where you can throw in any greens you have on hand - I generally use palak or spinach. The end result will always be a lip smacking chicken curry that you'll be licking off your plate.
Course Main Course
Cuisine North Indian
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 346kcal
Author Richa



  • 500 Grams Chicken skinless, bone-in, cut into 2 inch pieces, commonly known as 'curry cut' in India
  • ½ Teaspoon Chilli Powder or paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Kasuri Methi
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt

Saag Paste

  • ¼ Cup Mustard Oil divided
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped Ginger
  • 1 bunch Spinach approx 130 grams
  • ¼ Cup Coriander Leaves
  • 2 Green Chillies


  • 1 Teaspoon Jeera
  • 2 Cloves
  • 2 Green Cardamom
  • 1 Black Cardamon
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • ¾ cup finely chopped Onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • ¾ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped Tomatoes
  • ¼ Cup whisked Curd or Greek Yogurt
  • ½ - ¾ Cup Water
  • ½ Teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 Teaspoon roasted Kasuri Methi optional
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cream optional



  • Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and set aside for at least thirty minutes. It can also be refrigerated overnight.

Saag Paste

  • Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and add chopped ginger and green chillies. Saute for a minute and add coriander and spinach. Cover and cook till the spinach wilts. Allow it to cool.
  • Blend to a coarse a paste. If necessary, add a teaspoon or two of water.


  • Heat remaining oil in a kadai and add jeera. Once the jeera starts spluttering, add whole spices (black and green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bayleaf) and saute for a minute or until fragrant.
  • Add onion and ginger garlic paste. Saute till the onions soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, coriander powder and salt. Cook till tomatoes become pulpy and mushy, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the whisked curd and keep mixing till the oil separates, about 2 minutes.
  • Add chicken and toss in the gravy for 2-3 minutes. Mix well to combine. Add water and cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, add the spinach mixture and garam masala. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes and take it off the flame.
  • Add fresh cream and crushed kasuri methi. Serve hot.



  • Saag is a punjabi term that refers to a combination of greens, typically mustard, kale, spinach & coriander. Although this recipe uses spinach and coriander, you could substitute it for the greens you get locally too. I also like to use mustard leaves and methi leaves (fenugreek) in this recipe
  • Frozen Spinach: You can replace fresh spinach with frozen spinach, just make sure to thaw and squeeze out the excess liquid thoroughly.
  • Most recipes require you to blanch the greens which is a time-consuming process, instead, we just saute them here. I feel sauteeing retains the flavour in this recipe better, and keep the colour a nice, bright green
  • The green paste/sauce, can be made ahead of time, and put away in the refrigerator
  • This gravy would taste great with other meats like - lamb, fish or beef too. The saag lamb, in particular, is a favourite in the north.
  • This can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by replacing the chicken with paneer or tofu respectively. Saag paneer is another favourite! 
  • Chicken saag gets better over time, making it perfect for leftover lunches or dinners
  • Storage: Store the cooled curry in an airtight box and refrigerate. It stays well for up to 4 days. The curry freezes well too. Once cooked, let the curry cool down completely. Transfer it into an airtight box and freeze for up to 6 months.
  • Some recipes use cashew cream, along with curd to dial up the flavour, and give it a richer consistency


Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 927mg | Potassium: 813mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 8676IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 150mg | Iron: 4mg