This vibrant, fragrant chicken saag curry takes just 15 minutes to make so it’s perfect for busy weeknights. A smooth, super green sauce loaded with garlic, ginger and spices plus juicy chicken thighs? A perfect bowl of comfort that’s good for you too!
A smooth, thick, SUPER green curry sauce, mildly flavoured with lots of garlic, ginger and spices and juicy chicken thighs make what I think is one of the most delicious warming bowls of food you can make. It’s also PACKED with greens so it’s a wonderful way to get your veg in.
There are many different versions of saag. Some keep the leaves whole, with more of a chunky consistency, but this smooth version is the one I love best. Saag also comes in a variety of mediums – saag aloo (with potatoes), saag paneer or palak paneer (you can find that recipe in my free Fakeaway Favourite e-book), lamb saag and it’s also known as palak.
This is also a seriously quick dish. There’s no need to marinate the chicken for hours – we do it directly in the pan to save time, and dishes. It comes together in less than half an hour and you’d never know! It means it’s perfect for weeknights and for a takeaway weekend feast. I love serving it with garlic naan and steamed rice for a delicious fakeaway experience.
Everything you need to make this vibrant curry is easy enough to find at the store – and you probably have most of the spices already.
- Chicken thighs. Go for skinless and boneless thighs here, and free-range. Thighs are best because they’re a cut that stays juicy – you can use chicken breast but there’s a risk it could dry out.
- Greens. You can really use any leafy green here! I’m using silverbeet (Swiss chard), but traditionally saag is made with spinach leaves. You could also use kale or cavalo nero. Just make sure you strip the leaves from their tough stalks before using them. The cooking time on the greens will be different – spinach takes much less time to cook than tougher leaves like kale, so if you are using spinach, blanch the leaves for just 1 minute.
- Aromatics and spices. You’ll need an onion (red, white, brown or use a shallot), garlic (either fresh cloves, or you can use pre-crushed) and ginger (I’m using pre-crushed ginger, but you can use fresh and just grate it yourself). We’ll also use ground cumin, coriander, garam masala and chilli flakes. The curry is mild so there’s not a lot of chilli in it – feel free to add a little more if you like your curries hot! Cumin and coriander are pretty common and you might well already have them in your cupboard, but if you struggle to find garam masala you can leave it out.
How to make it
Start by cooking the chicken. To save time (and dishes) we’ll just season the chopped thighs in the pan with a little salt. Let them sit undisturbed for about 4 minutes, so they develop a lovely golden crust. Then flip them over and cook for 4 minutes on the other side. Transfer them to a plate lightly covered with foil while you make the rest of the curry.
Get the diced onion in the same pan (keep all that lovely chicken fat in there – just scrape out any burnt bits) and cook it for a couple of minutes with salt and lemon juice until it starts to soften up. At this point, go in with the ginger, garlic and spices and stir, cooking for another minute until a fragrant paste forms. Transfer the paste to your blender.
PRO TIP: Adding the lemon juice with the onion will deglaze the pan after the chicken – loosening up all the lovely flavour from the bottom so it mixes with the onion and spices in your paste.
Blanch the greens in a large pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes, then if you like, transfer them into a bowl of ice water before adding them to the blender with your paste. Plunging them in the ice water will shock the leaves and lock that lovely green colour in, but you can skip it if you like, your sauce just won’t be quite as bright! Blitz your sauce until it’s super smooth – add a little of the blanching water if you’re finding your blender gets stuck. Taste, then add a little more salt and lemon juice if you think it needs something. Pour the saag sauce back into the pan you cooked the chicken in, and add the chicken back in. Give it a stir through the sauce over low heat, then you’re ready to serve.
I love serving this curry with steamed rice and garlic naan for a proper takeaway experience!
Got a question?
Yes! I like chicken thighs best here because they’re a juicier cut, but chicken breast or tenders will be perfectly fine.
It’s made up of loads of leafy greens, like spinach, kale, cavalo nero or Swiss chard, sauteed onion, garlic, ginger and spices like cumin, coriander and garam masala. It’s a lovely mild sauce that’s very nutrient-dense, but still absolutely delicious.
This saag – like most curries – will develop even MORE flavour over time so it’s perfect for making in advance. The only thing to keep in mind is that the colour of the sauce will dull a little the longer you keep it, so it won’t be quite as bright and vibrant as it was when you made it. It will keep well for 5 days, stored in the fridge in an airtight container. If you find the sauce thickens up a little too much for your liking after chilling, just add a tablespoon of water as you heat it either in the microwave or on the stovetop.
It freezes really well – I’ve made this for my family to stock their freezers with and it defrosts really easily in the microwave, or you can let it defrost in the fridge overnight.
Do you have my free Fakeaway Favourites e-book?
It’s filled with my absolute favourite takeaway dishes you can make at home!
From a quick pad thai and saag paneer, to Korean fried chicken, beef rendang and chicken satay, you’ll love exploring the book.
Like this recipe? Here are some other fakeaways you might enjoy
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print