A few weekends ago, I found myself alone at home with Baby Dear and a potluck invitation waiting for a response. Hubby Dear was away on a longer than usual business trip, and I was at my wits end trying to entertain an energizer-bunny of a 6-year old. I’ve always considered myself an introvert and going to a party without my better half to meet new people is not really my cup of tea. But I was desperate. And so was Baby Dear. We each needed to get out and about – and interacting with someone other than each other seemed like a welcome option. So I immediately texted a YES to the invite and started to prep my contribution to the party.
When given an option, I always like to volunteer bringing an appetiser. It’s the perfect chance to get creative and think out of the box. and bite-sized finger foods are usually my preferred way to enjoy a meal. But not this time. I had all the time I needed and an experimental mood to boot. I wanted to walk in with a dish that would wow everyone, as well as something that would warm us up from the inside – something like a soft warm blanket on a cold winter’s day!
This recipe is perfect for a weekend meal when you have the time and mood to putter about in the kitchen with nothing much else to tug at your attention. It also tastes even better the next day since the spices and flavour and enough time to penetrate and mingle through. Because of this, I love to serve this dish at dinner parties when I know I can cook it either the previous night or early that morning. This recipe is fairly simple and a treat to eat.
PALAK CHICKEN MASALA (CHICKEN COOKED WITH SPINACH)
Prep time: 15 min | Cooking time: 25-30 min | Serves: 4
2 tbsp light cooking oil
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1-inch stick of cinnamon
3-4 green cardamom pods
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 large tomato, finely chopped
6-8 chicken drumsticks
500 gms fresh spinach, finely chopped
salt, to taste
water as needed
handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped for garnish
Heat oil in a deep non-stick pan and add in cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Once they start to sizzle, add in the onions and ginger-garlic pastes and fry till fragrant and lightly browned. Add in the spices and tomato paste, and fry for a few seconds. Stir in the chopped tomato and cook till it begins to pulp.
Slowly add in the chicken, stir well to coat it with the spice mix, and let it cook covered for a couple of minutes. Slowly mix in the chopped spinach and cook covered on low heat for 4-5 minutes till it starts to wilt and the chicken is cooked through.
Season with salt and cook for another 4-5 minutes, adding in some water if you’d like a thinner consistency. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve warm.