Chicken Saag in Instant Pot (Chicken & Spinach Curry) | Palak Chicken
Here's a one-pot pressure cooker recipe for an Indian favorite, Chicken Saag, also known as Palak Chicken. This creamy and flavorful chicken and spinach curry is tasty, healthy and a breeze to make with this 30-minute recipe.
Turn on Saute mode in Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker. When the display reads 'hot', add 1 tbsp oil.
Sprinkle a little garam masala and salt on chicken breast (or thighs) and place it seasoned side down in the cooking pot. Let it brown for 1 minute. After that, flip the chicken and season the other side with a pinch of garam masala and salt and cook for 1 minute. Remove chicken and keep aside.
Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil and cumin seeds. As soon as the sizzle (takes about 30 seconds), add sliced onions, halved green chili/pepper and crushed ginger and garlic. Saute for 1 minute.
Add all the spices along with ½ cup water. Turn off Saute mode. Use the water to deglaze the pot, which means scrap any brown bits in the cooking pot.
Add baby spinach leaves and toss them well. Place the chicken on top of the spinach. Close the lid. Set 8 minutes on Pressure cook or manual mode. If using chicken thighs, adjust time to 6 mins.
When cooking time is up, manually release the pressure. You can do that by turning the pressure valve to 'Venting' mode in DUO models, or pushing down the valve in ULTRA models. When the pin drops, open the lid.
Remove the chicken and keep aside. Using an immersion blender, blend the spinach into a curry-like consistency. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and add it back to the spinach curry.
Optional step: Stir in 1 tsp of butter. This gives the curry a gorgeous shine.
Seasoning the chicken adds another level of flavor to this curry, so avoid skipping that step.
If you don't have the time to briefly brown the chicken, simply season it with garam masala and salt before placing it on top of the spinach.
When making this curry ahead of time for entertaining, break it up in two steps- make the chicken curry (without spinach) a day earlier. On the day of, microwave the greens, puree them and simmer with the chicken curry before serving.
To make Restaurant-style 'extra creamy' Chicken Saag, you can do the following:
Add ¼ cup heavy whipping cream towards the end along with chicken pieces. Simmer the curry for a 2-3 minutes. Check for seasoning and turn off the heat.
Or, for a dairy-free alternative, add ¼ cup cashews along with the onions and saute. When you puree the sauce towards the end, the cashews will blend and provide a nice creamy texture.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.