Many winters ago, I had gone for a vacation with some friends. Zain had stayed behind. Along with him, what I missed very much was cooking in my kitchen. I daydream about cooking on my trips away, is that normal? To figure out ingredients, smells and taste of dishes I enjoy and think of how I can recreate them. Anyway, when I returned to our beloved East Village apartment, I found a recipe tacked to the fridge. I don’t know if it was for his reference or a subtle nod to do as I loved to do. I guess I will never find out! I made it and it has been a comfort, go-to food since. The marinated and spiced chicken marries happily with earthy, juicy spinach in this wholesome dish. The fragrance, the sweet and satisfying depth, very yummy!
Spinach – 1 bunch, roughly chopped
Chicken thighs – 1 pound, skinned
Onion – 1 large, chopped
Ginger – julienned
Garlic – 3-4 cloves, crushed
Thai green chillies – 3, slit and deseeded if you want to reduce heat
Tomato – 1 large, puréed
Yogurt – 1 cup
Black cardamom, 2 pods
Bay leaves, 2
Cinnamon, 1 stick
Dry red chillies, 2-3 whole
Coriander, 2 tsp. ground
- Pre-heat a heavy pot and lightly saute the cardamom, cinnamon, red chillies and bay leaves in 1 tbsp. oil.
- Salt and pepper the chicken thighs and brown on both sides in the same pan. Remove and set aside.
- Add a tbsp. more oil to the pot and then the onion to caramelize.
- Once slightly browned, add the green chillies, ginger and garlic. Stir to mix and cook for 5 minutes. If it is sticking, add a splash of water.
- Separately, blend the yogurt and tomato till smooth.
- Now add the chicken, yogurt-tomato mixture, coriander powder and more salt and pepper. Mix well and cook on high heat till it starts bubbling and sputtering.
- Cover and reduce heat to cook for about 30 minutes.
- Add spinach and cook uncovered on medium for another 20 minutes until excess liquid evaporates and the dish starts sizzling.
- Put the lid back on and remove from heat.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle with cilantro and pinch of garam masala.