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Chicken saag curry served in a grey ceramic bowl.
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4.29 from 45 votes

Chicken Saag Recipe

This Chicken Saagwala (Palak Chicken) classic Indian curry of chicken cooked together with fresh spinach puree and spices. Intensely delicious and tastes fantastic with rice and rotis or parathas.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Keto, Non Vegetarian
Servings: 7
Calories: 289kcal
Author: Farrukh Aziz


To Marinate Chicken

  • 2.2 lb Chicken on Bone cut in medium sized pieces
  • 1 cup Yogurt whisked well
  • 1 cup Onion Paste
  • ½ tablespoons Garlic Paste
  • ½ tablespoons Ginger Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Green Chili Paste (or finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

To Blanch Spinach

  • Water as needed
  • teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 300 gms Fresh Spinach Leaves

Whole Spices

  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 4 Green Cardamom
  • 4 Cloves
  • 8-10 Black Peppercorn
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1.5 inch Cinnamon Stick

For Gravy

  • 1 ½ teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 2 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato puree
  • ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg grated
  • 1.5 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Ghee or Butter (Optional)


Marination and Blanching

  • In a large bowl, combine chicken pieces and all the ingredients mentioned under marination.
  • Mix everything well, cover and refrigerate for an hour. Or at least for 30 minutes.
  • Clean wash and trim the spinach leaves. Boil enough of water in a vessel and add soda, mix. Add the spinach leaves into boiling water.
  • Allow the spinach to blanch in the water for 2 minutes.
  • Take the blanched spinach out and immediately put them into an ice cold water.
  • Add blanched spinach in a blender and blend it to a puree.

Making it on Stove Top

  • Heat ghee and oil in a large pot. Now, add whole spices and fry until fragrant.
  • Add marinated chicken and sauté on high heat for 2 minutes, stirring in between.
  • Then, add red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, tomato puree and mix well.
  • Add /12 cup of water, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
  • Add pureed spinach, garam masala powder, crushed nutmeg and mix well. Check for salt and add more if needed. Cook on medium heat for another 2-3 minutes or until done.
  • Add lemon juice, chopped coriander leaves and mix. Cover and let the curry rest for 5-7 minutes.
  • Dish out the palak chicken and serve hot with phulkas, parathas or pulao.

Making it in Instant Pot

  • So, start off with marinating the chicken and blanching the spinach as mentioned in the preparation and marination section.
  • Switch on the IP and press 'Sauté' button. Once it displays 'Hot' add oil and ghee together. Then, add whole spices and fry for 30 seconds. 
  • Add marinated chicken and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, tomato puree, salt and mix well. Cook for another 1 minute. Ensure to deglaze if anything is stuck at the bottom.
  • Add ¼ to ½ cup of water depending upon the gravy consistency you need. Close the IP lid and seal. Cancel 'sauté' button and pressure cook the chicken on 'high' for 4 minutes.
  • Once the IP beeps, do quick pressure release with pressure valve in venting position. Carefully open the pot.
  • Now, switch on the 'saute' mode. Add pureed spinach, garam masala powder, grated nutmeg and mix. Simmer on low for 2-3 minutes. Check for salt and season, if needed.
  • Finally, add lemon juice and chopped cilantro, mix. Switch off the IP, let the chicken rest for 5-7 minutes. Dish out and serve hot with your favorite bread or rice.


  1. You can skip using ghee or butter completely and make it in vegetable oil only.
  2. Modify the amount of chilies as per the spice heat you like.
  3. You can use minced garlic and grated ginger instead of ginger garlic paste.
  4. Go for Serrano peppers if green chilies are not handy. 
  5. You can make this recipe as a dry saag wala chicken as well as thin curry. So, accordingly add water to gravy.
  6. If you do not have tomato puree with you, then mix 2 tsp of tomato paste to 2 tablespoons of water and use. Or blanch 1 large red ripened tomato, blend it to a puree, strain and use.
  7. You can use canned spinach puree if you wish to.


Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 627mg | Potassium: 502mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4300IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 2mg