This chicken saag recipe is Indian curry at its finest, made with spinach or other greens, lots of chicken and the perfect seasoning blend simmered in a creamy sauce. Quick and easy to make!
It’s curry time again in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends! You know we love curry around here. As a spicy food lover, curry is one of the “absolute musts” when it comes to recipe selection, as curry has it all – Big flavor, lots of spices and boldness.
The wonderful thing about curry is that there are so many different ways to make it! There are Indian curries, Thai curries, Americanized curries, red curries, yellow curries, spicy curries and mild curries.
But! Did you know there is a curry made with greens? Yes! There is!
We’re talking about Chicken Saag Curry, and I think you’re going to love it. If you love greens, this is the curry for you. Print this one and add it to your recipe folder, my friends. It just might be your new favorite.
What is Chicken Saag?
Chicken Saag is a curry dish with leafy greens hailing from northern India. You may have heard of the dish Saag Paneer, which is a leafy green dish with Indian cheese, and this is a chicken curry version of the dish. Saag typically refers to a combination of spinach and mustard greens, which is similar to another common dish, “palak”, which uses only spinach.
You’ll find chicken saag (aka sag or saga) in Indian restaurants or anywhere where Indian food is served. It’s such a wonderful dish, and now you can make it at home. It’s very easy!
Let’s talk about how we make chicken saag, shall we?
Chicken Saag Ingredients
- The Chicken: 1 pound chicken thighs. You can also use chicken breast, or a combination of boneless chicken.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- The Vegetables: 1 medium onion, 1 jalapeno pepper, 1 serrano pepper (optional, for more heat), 4 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh ginger. You can use milder or hotter peppers to your own heat preference.
- The Greens: 1 pound fresh spinach, chopped. You can also use other greens, like collard greens, fenugreek or others. See the recipe notes below.
- The Seasonings: 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, salt and pepper to taste. Chili powder is a nice addition, too, if you’d like to sneak some in, maybe a teaspoon or so.
- The Dairy: 1/2 cup milk (or use heavy cream)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- Additional: 1 tablespoon butter, for added richness. This is swirled into the curry at the end.
How to Make Chicken Saag – the Recipe Method
First, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and set aside.
Add the oil in a large pan heat to medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 5 minutes, or until they soften.
Add the chopped chicken and cook, stirring a bit, for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is lightly browned and cooks mostly through.
Add the garlic and ginger and stir. Cook for 1 minute, until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Add the spinach a handful at a time and cook it down, stirring as you go. Cook for 5 minutes. The spinach will break down considerably.
Stir in the seasonings and the milk. Stir to make sure everything is evenly incorporated. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Bring the curry to a quick boil, then remove from heat. Stir in the yogurt until it is fully incorporated. This gives you a creamier chicken curry and lightens up the meal a bit.
Swirl in 1 tablespoon butter for added richness.
Garnish and serve!
Boom! Done! Chicken saag in the house! I hope you enjoy it. This is a chicken curry like no other.
Serving Indian Chicken Saag Curry
I like to serve mine with white rice. Basmati rice is great here. You don’t have to season the rice outside of a bit of salt, but coconut rice is a nice addition. I also like to serve mine with torn naan or pita bread to sop up all of that wonderful creamy curry sauce. It’s so good! Such a great recipe.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The Greens. Most recipes call for fresh spinach with chicken saag, but you can realistically use any types of edible greens with this recipe. The greens are what define this dish. I have made it with spinach, dandelion greens, collard greens and kale. Use your favorite greens, or a combination of. You will need to use a bit more liquid and simmer longer if you use more fibrous greens, so plan accordingly. Spinach cooks up very quickly.
- The Chicken. I usually use boneless chicken thighs for this dish, though chopped chicken breast is great, too. Or use a combination. You can make this with bone-in chicken, though if keeping the skins on, sear them first to brown them up, then up your simmer time to allow the chicken to cook through. You may need to add more liquid to the curry.
- Other Proteins. The name of this dish is “chicken saag”, but it’s great with other proteins, too. Try it out with chopped pork, lamb, beef or seafood.
- Go Vegetarian. Skip the chicken entirely for a vegetarian chicken saag. Toss in some chickpeas as a filler. Try it with tofu. You can also easily skip the milk and use vegetable stock instead. Delicious! Same great curry flavor.
That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my Indian chicken saag recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Masoor Dal – Red Lentil Curry
- Red Curry
- Green Curry Paste
- Green Curry
- Chicken Korma
- Spicy Chicken Vindaloo
- Spicy Thai Curry Chicken Soup
- Coconut Chicken Curry
- Chickpea Curry
- Khao Soi – Northern Thai Coconut Curry Soup
- Thai Shrimp Curry
- Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken
- See all of my Curry Recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Chicken Saag Recipe
- 1 pound chicken thighs chopped, or use chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
- 1 serrano pepper chopped (optional, for more heat)
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger chopped
- 1 pound spinach chopped
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup milk or use heavy cream
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pan to medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 5 minutes, or until they soften.
- Add the chopped chicken and cook, stirring a bit, for 5 minutes, or until the chicken cooks mostly through.
- Add the garlic and ginger and stir. Cook for 1 minute, until the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Add the spinach a handful at a time and cook it down, stirring as you go. Cook for 5 minutes. The spinach will break down considerably.
- Stir in the seasonings and the milk. Stir to make sure everything is evenly incorporated. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Bring the curry to a quick boil, then remove from heat. Stir in the yogurt until it is fully incorporated.
- Swirl in 1 tablespoon butter for added richness.
- Garnish and serve! I like to serve mine with rice and some pita bread to sop up the creamy curry sauce.