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Palak chicken table scene from the front.
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4.91 from 10 votes

palak chicken curry - Indian hotel style

Spinach and spice and everything nice.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chicken saagwala, palak chicken
Servings: 2
Calories: 589kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


The spice mix

  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala - garam masala is potent stuff. A little goes a long way.
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

palak chicken curry

  • 4 tbsp neutral oil e.g. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste - recipe link below
  • 2 green chilies - (jwala chilies) seeded and finely chopped
  • the spice mix from above
  • 1 cup Indian hotel curry gravy - Recipe link in the notes. It's meant to be thick. The juices from the chicken will thin it and you can adjust it to taste at the end.
  • 3 tbsp cilantro leaves and stems - finely diced
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 4 pieces each
  • 4 oz frozen spinach - the shredded stuff. Thawed and drained. See note below.
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock - up to 1/4 cup as needed. Add enough to get the curry to the consistency you like.
  • 1/6 lemon juiced


Do your prep

  • Measure out your spices. Prep your chicken. Measure out a cup (237 ml) of Indian hotel curry gravy.
  • Thaw and drain your spinach. Chop your cilantro and green chilies. Be ready to go.

Make the palak chicken curry

  • Heat the oil in a medium sized frying pan over medium heat until the oil just starts to shimmer.
  • Stir in the garlic ginger paste. Gently fry until the garlic ginger paste stops sputtering. This can get a little messy.
  • Add the chopped green chilies. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Turn your heat down to medium low and add your spice mix. Cook for about 30 seconds. You want to fry your spices in the oil. Do not skimp on the oil. Bad things happen if the spices stick and burn. The oil (and temperature control) are your friends. Nothing worse than burned spices. Chuck it and start again if that happens. There's no fixing it...
  • Add the Indian hotel curry gravy. Stir it really well to get the oil to combine with the curry gravy. You want everything mixed together at this point. Bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in the cilantro.
  • Add the chicken thigh pieces in a single layer. Nestle them down into the sauce. Cover and cook about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, flip the chicken and replace the lid. Continue simmering until the chicken is done. You are shooting for an internal temperature of 160F. It will get to 170F as the curry finishes cooking.
    Don't have an instant read thermometer? Not a bad idea to get one. Done is not subjective. It's a measurement that you cannot do without a thermometer. You are guessing otherwise.
  • Add the spinach and stir it to combine.
  • At this point you have a decision to make. If the chicken threw a lot of liquid the sauce might be right. My guess is you'd like it a bit thinner. More like a restaurant sauce. Add a couple tablespoons of chicken stock. Check it again. If it's still too thick, add a bit more stock. I've never added more than a 1/4 cup.
  • Add the lemon juice, cover, and simmer for another two minutes.
  • Palak chicken goes great with chapatis or rice. A nice tarka dal rounds the meal out nicely.


Make your Indian hotel curry gravy ahead of time. It does take time to make so think about doing it the day before. You can freeze one cup portions and pull them out when you need them. That's what I do.
For maximum flavour consider making your garlic ginger paste from scratch. I know I say this a lot but it makes such a difference.
The weight specified for the spinach is before thawing and draining. 
1 cup is 237 ml.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 1253mg | Potassium: 779mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 702IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 4mg