Palak Murgh, Spinach Chicken Curry

September 15, 2010

I am out of steam. Pregnant for the second time, with mini Basu turning into the Tasmanian Devil. Mega intense book launch in India following a short break with the family. And never mind the PR job.

But let me put the violin away for a moment. There are lots of positives to report. Miss Masala is now up there with “Hot Desi Masala” in Google searches. Summer has been short but brilliant fun. And I’ve been cooking loads.

Just eating it all too quickly and passing out straight after!

This is one of the recipes that proved a hit when a girlfriend came over to discuss urgent love matters. A lightweight, meal-in-one Palak Murgh or chicken curry with spinach. Of course, who thought to take a photograph or, more importantly, make a note of the recipe at the time!

So try two, I rustled it up again for a mid-week dinner ticking all above boxes. Except this time I dived in cooking sans shower cap and eating with fingers, forgetting the big client meeting the next day. I swear his nose twitched as I quickly greeted him with an air kiss. The Palak Murgh emanating from my now truly luscious locks came a close second to the aromatic but turmeric-stained fingernails I was sporting.

Still, this curry was worth every moment. Here’s to more where it came from…

PS = You can use diced chicken thighs in this recipe but the end result will not have the same depth.



Feeds 4

  • 8 chicken drumsticks and thighs, skinned (1kg)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch ginger
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 500g fresh or frozen spinach, cooked
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 inch stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • Half tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Half tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp flavourless oil
  • Half tsp white sugar
  • Salt to taste



Chop the onions roughly and mince finely the ginger and garlic. In a pan, bring the oil to heat on high and when it starts sizzling when touched with a wooden spoon, add in the bay leaf, cinnamon and sugar.

As the sugar caramelises within seconds, chuck in the chopped onions and stir viciously for five minutes. Next add the ginger garlic and fry for another five minutes until the whole mixture turns a dark shade of gold. Then chuck in all spice powders apart from the garam masala and fry for another five minutes.

If the spices start getting stuck to the bottom of the pot, add a little hot water and scrape off.

Now, roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to the pot along with the puree. As the tomatoes disintegrate, throw in the chicken thighs and drumsticks and mix the whole lot into the masala to brown evenly. Then add half a cup of hot water, lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes to half an hour covered, stirring every five minutes, until the chicken is cooked.

You will know because the chicken will separate from the bone on the drumstick, but it’s always worth cutting a piece up to be doubly sure.

When the chicken is done, mix in the cooked spinach, add garam masala and salt to taste and simmer for a final five minutes until oil floats to the surface. Enjoy with rotis someone else prepared or in my case, a big bowl of steaming hot Basmati rice.



28 Responses to “Palak Murgh, Spinach Chicken Curry”

  1. John Says:

    May 27th, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I am a student at the University of Edinburgh and I just wanted to say thank you for your recipes. I don’t miss my mum’s cooking as much now! I recently purchase induction cooker from and it helps me a lot

  2. Mallika Says:

    October 14th, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Nadine, Indian food really can be healthy with a few modifications. Good luck with the diet! x

  3. Nadine Says:

    October 13th, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Hi Millika,

    I just made this for dinner tonight. I am on a strict low cal/low carb diet and have been scanning food blog after food blog looking for good candidates. After subbing out the sugar for some splenda (and some canned diced tomatoes for the puree), this was perfect. Super flavorful! Not like diet food at all. Thank you.

    (I can’t wait to try some of your other recipes.)

  4. Mallika Says:

    October 17th, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Hi Sarah, hilarious! how did it come out? Please do swing by and let me know x

  5. Sarah Says:

    August 27th, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Just discovered your blog today, I am a lapsed Indian with English husband trying to cook home style food for the first time in a decade for my Khala who is sick, so been scouring the internet for recipes! My poor clueless husband is wandering round the local late night supermarket looking for tinned puréed spinach and a shower cap courtesy of your blog. Love that last tip, my usual hoody I wear for cooking gets a bit hot! Very funny writing style which I have enjoyed hopefully recipes will work too.

  6. Palak Murgh | Glen Appliances Blog Says:

    February 27th, 2013 at 9:52 am

    […] Source Link This entry was posted in Recipe by editor. Bookmark the permalink. var addedComment = function(response) { //console.log('fbComments: Caught added comment'); //console.log('fbComments: Making AJAX call to update Facebook comment count'); $.post('', { fn: 'addComment', xid: '_post499' }, function(resp) { if (resp === 'true') { //console.log('fbComments: Updated and cached Facebook comment count for post with xid=_post499'); } else { //console.log('fbComments: FAILED to update Facebook comment count for post with xid=_post499'); } }); }; FB.Event.subscribe('comments.add', addedComment); […]

  7. Abhinav Jha Says:

    December 26th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Hey Mallika,

    I am a student at the University of Edinburgh and I just wanted to say thank you for your recipes. I don’t miss my mum’s cooking as much now!


  8. Ankan Says:

    November 1st, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Very nice statistics!

  9. Ankan Says:

    November 1st, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing this information. Very interesting…

  10. Jim Says:

    September 29th, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I’m glad to get whatever we can whenever we can get it from you! Always a treat in our house when you bring new recipes to us!

  11. Charles Says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Its interesting to see how many similarities there are between words, names, and recipes from one Middle Eastern nation to another.
    I am an Armenian from Iran and delight at reading your jottings.
    Amusing and with good recipes too, keep it up and good luck in motherhood.
    I’ve just drunk a toast with our favourite Yemeni Matari coffee from our regular supplier The Tea and Coffee Emporium. I suspect it may well hit the mark with you too.

  12. Ann Says:

    May 7th, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I made this last Sunday and it was fantastic! Thank you for (another) wonderful recipe.

  13. meeso Says:

    January 13th, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    More spinach! Now I am craving it! Look amazing!

  14. Praise Says:

    January 5th, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Hi!! I just wanted to tell you how much I love your recipes and your blog 🙂
    Ever since I stumbled across your website and tried the recipes, I have officially become an “amazing cook” according to my husband and family. Even my dad, who owns an Indian restaurant and is a notorious food critic, gave me glowing compliments. And the truth is that until I got married and had to cook for my husband, I never stepped foot into a kitchen to cook anything! Thanks again and congratulations on all the amazing things happening in your life!!!

  15. Peggy Says:

    December 13th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    This recipe sounds absolutely delicious! Definitely will be trying this soon!

  16. pandora website Says:

    December 13th, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Bright opinions here. I wish there are more and more articles like that.

  17. Jim Says:

    November 16th, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    This looks amazing! I wish I had a plate in front of me now.. Perhaps I will have tasted this recipe by the weekend! I’ll keep you posted!

  18. Elisabeth Winkler Says:

    October 28th, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Hi honey

    I just want to say I LOVE the new colours and look of your blog. They go well with the book cover, as you no doubt intended, you clever thing.

    I agree with the comment above. Don’t apologise for not posting because we all understand what it is like to be busy (manic? frantic?).

    The book launch in India sounds amazing!

    I also agree with the comment that says your book is witty and charming. Yes!

    I still intend to cook a dish from your book and big it up on my blog. Have faith! (I have a backlog of posts to write not to mention being an (unpaid) carer and the freelance web editor job….OK those were my violins).

    In the meantime I urge those who want to learn how to cook authentic Indian dishes in a quick, simple and accessible way, to….buy your book!

    As a bonus, the book is beautifully designed and makes you laugh.

  19. Michelle Says:

    October 13th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Mallika. Been lurking on you site since I got married 3 years ago. I’ve enjoyed reading your witty posts & have tried your recipes (for which I’ve received many compliments from my hubby & in-laws. My husband has said the Tadka Dal is the best he’s ever had– even better than his mum’s!) Your blog has been my go-to place whenever I need a curry fix & that happens quite often. Your book is never far from my reach in & out of the kitchen as I simply enjoy your style of writing. I just want to thank you for sharing your recipes and making Indian cuisine accessible to the once-uninitiated like me. Without you knowing, you’ve had such an effect in my life. Just cooked your Kerala Chicken curry and my 2 little boys are gobbling it all up!!! Thanks again.

  20. Meenakshi Kapoor Says:

    October 10th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Hi Mallika Basu,

    I have just purchased your book and I’ve had a bit of a read already – it is witty and charming! It is just perfect for people like me!

    Thank you

  21. Mellissa Gabel Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I love the wide range of spices that go into authentic curries, getting the right taste takes a life time to master

  22. Mike B Right On Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Mallika, dont apologise for being too busy to post on the blog, after all, you created this blog for people just like you, little time but a love for Indian cooking. We are all grateful that the blog is here as a great cooking resource, wether you get time to update it or not. Thanks for that. Good luck with Basu Mk 2. Mikexx

  23. Amy Says:

    October 1st, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I’ve just road-tested this recipe and think that adding some peppercorns to the initial oil gave it a deeper flavour.

  24. Ritika Says:

    September 25th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    and you are back 😀 i likey, btw on my last trip to Kolkata read your feature on Telegraph 🙂 and i was like.. that was so cool

  25. Karishma Says:

    September 17th, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Glad to see you’re back…I’ve been following and subscribed to your blog since almost your first post and I admire you for managing to do all this with a job and 2 kids in tow! Wow! I have a 15-month-old, a freelance writing job, and I’ve just started a food blog of my own, so I totally get you! Keep writing new posts and all the best for your family!

  26. Sayantani Says:

    September 16th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Congrats Mallika. great that you are enjoying a busy yet fulfilled life. love reading your posts but take good care of yourself. perfect spinach chicken.

  27. Charu Says:

    September 16th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    OMG…you just vanished from the blog.glad you are back.i have been following your blog & have tried quite a few of your recipes.I have really enjoyed them and your writing as well.keep posting.

    PS: Your enthusiasm & energy to do so many things is really inspiring.

  28. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen Says:

    September 16th, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Glad you are having such a successful and happy life (albeit busy), Mallika! You totally deserve it!

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