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Fragrant chicken with potato and spinach curry

September 19, 2009

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Ingredients

Chicken

1/2 kilo of diced chicken breast
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp Turmeric
1 ground black cardamom* It is not the same thing as green cardamom, if you can’t find it in your shops, just omit it πŸ™‚
1 tsp Garlic granules/1 garlic clove
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Ground coriander
Cooking time = 1 hr 10 minutes min

Potato curry

3 large potates
2 small onions, chopped
Olive oil
1 tsp Turmeric
2 tbspTomato paste/puree
Pinch of Salt
Cooking time = 45 minutes min

Spinach recipe

1 large leek or 2 small leeks
1/2 a kilo of frozen spinach [1/2 a packet]
2 handfuls of flat leaf parsley
1 tsp salt
Cooking time = 45 minutes max

This is a Mama A original so I had to have her on hand for the beginning. It was also my first atttempt at her potato and spinach curry.
This is great for dinner if you have an hour and a half to spare. The potato and spinach curry is so tasty and great for vegetarians! I normally have just the potato curry with loads of thick yogurt and wholewheat bread so to make it more substantial and suitable for dinner I added the fragrant chicken. It is indeed fragrant! After you add all the spices, it takes on such a great smell.

Most of the work is prep and then you just leave everything to cook [with a couple of important checks of course ;)]So firstly, you gotta prep the chicken. Get a large bowl and put the diced chicken in. Add all the spices and seasonings to the chicken and add the lemon juice. If you’re ok with getting your hands dirty, use your hands to mix everything otherwise use a freezer/ziploc bag as a ‘glove’. Leave to one side to marinate.

I added everything and mixed it and THEN remembered the cumin πŸ˜›
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More prep, this time for the potatoes. Peel them and then half and quarter and then cut them again. The smaller you cut it, the less time it will take to cook. Make sure they’re all the same size so they all cook at the same time. Put aside in some water. My potatoes didn’t go change colour after 5 minutes so I didn’t need to add lemon juice etc to the water.
Now you should cut your onions. If you like your onions to stand out against the potatoes, keep them large, don’t mince them into tiny slices. I really don’t like cutting onions. My threshold for pain is already low so…after what seemed like hours, I finished, thank God.
Turn on your hob/stove/cooking surface to a medium flame. I added enough olive oil to coat the bottom and a splash more. Add the onions and a pinch of salt [this prevents the onions browning and subsequently burning] Leave for 5 minutes until slightly softened and opaque. Then add the potatoes and stir for a further 3 minutes. Now add the tomato paste/puree and turmeric and mix until it’s evenly distributed like so. This gives the dish it’s colour.

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Boil a kettle of water and add enough to the saucepan to slightly cover the potatoes.
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Increase the heat to high. Now you can leave the saucepan to bubble and do it’s own thang. Now onto the spinach dish. This is essentially an Afghan dish, it’s called Sabzi which literally means green grass πŸ˜€

Prep your leek, or leeks if you’re using two small ones, thoroughly as there is always dirt/soil deep within the layers. Only use the white and light to medium green bits for this dish but that doesn’t mean throw the top half away πŸ˜‰ Cut the leeks lengthways and cut thinly across so you end up with crescents. Wash throughly in a colander.

Time to take out another saucepan and heat it up on a medium flame. Do not cover the saucepan because it will darken the colour of the spinach. Add the leeks and sweat for 5 minutes.
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Now is the time to put the chicken in the oven. I just covered a baking tray with foil. Make sure the chicken is evenly spread out, add the remaining marinade over the meat and cook at gas mark 5/375Β°F/190Β°C for an hour and 10 minutes min. I say minimum because ovens are all different and some are much hotter/less hotter etc. Don’t get freaked out if there is a lot of liquid in your pan, it will evaporate and it will help you decide if the meat is cooked or not. You have to move the chicken around once between that time because the chicken might stick together if the tray is small.

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Take out your frozen spinach and put them into the leek mixture, they should start thawing. Add the parsley and a good dose of salt, a tablespoon to be exact. My mum tells me there is no worser thing in her culinary world than for something to be ‘bey namak’ which means without salt. The only tricky bit with this dish is making sure you’ve put the right amount of water in. Remember, there will be water leeching out of the spinach because it’s frozen and because of the salt. If you put too much in, it’ll take forever for the water to evaporate. Just add enough to slightly [again the slightly is paramount :p] cover the leeks and spinach. The mixture will be very thick.

Notice how much liquid is in the saucepan.
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Leave it for 15 minutes and after that you should break up the spinach bundles and mix it through the parsley and leek mixture.

Now it’s time to check your potatoes, by now 20 minutes or so should have passed. As you notice in this photo, the liquid has slightly evaporated. Add a touch more to prevent the potatoes sticking to the bottom of the pan.

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Time to check the spinach, it should still have some liquid. Push the spinach to one side to see how much liquid is stillΒ  left.
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Now you can leave the spinach for the last 20 minutes. It shouldn’t burn. Just keep checking the potatoes, add more water, the water should evaporate, the heat is high. Don’t add any more water than this each time you check:

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After the last 25Β  mins or so is up, use a knife to check the potatoes are cooked through. The liquid at the bottom of the pan should be very little and thick. Here’s the finished product!

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Now it’s time to check the spinach. I remembered I didn’t put on the flash hence the big difference between this photo and the last!

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Now you are 2/3 complete!

All that’s left is the chicken, depending on your oven it should takeΒ  an hour and 10 mins to cook, min. It will be cooked if all the liquid has evaporated and when you open a chicken piece, it will be completely white and without a hint of pink.

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After I finished and plated it up for the fam, my mum went all gushy and said that now I’m starting to learn her recipes and cook them successfully I can quote “do anything!” Steady on mum but great progress by me! I can make this now, instead of nagging my mum to do it herself πŸ˜€

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristen permalink*
    September 19, 2009 22:56

    This looks so yum Maz!
    I love curry but I am always so afraid to try and re-create it in my kitchen as I don’t have a resource as good as your mom to help me out! I also don’t have half these spices in my house, but I know just where to get them πŸ˜‰ I think people are silly for buying those little jars of spices that cost sooo much. I go to Jungle Jim’s , and they have a huge Indian foods section (right next to the British foods) with rows of spices in big bags. You can get a pound of turmeric there for $4!

    • Maz permalink*
      September 20, 2009 12:28

      My mum was only there to give me little tips like make sure I don’t cover the saucepan containing the spinach! Then she left me alone πŸ˜€ It’s not a curry in the normal sense cos it’s not spicy! But it’s a vegetable in a sauce which is what curry means.
      It’s always good to have a basic spice rack. They are really important to make things taste that extra bit better. They shouldn’t be expensive and I just checked the price of a 100g bag of turmeric and that sets you back 45p and they’re from an Indian brand. My mum buys them from a normal store, not an ethnic store which goes to show you how abundant they are.

  2. camilia permalink
    September 20, 2009 04:48

    I looked up black cardamom and that’s something new to me :p

    • Maz permalink*
      September 20, 2009 12:29

      I’m surprised you don’t know it seeing as you’re in the U.A.E! It’s great to add to rice when it’s cooking.

      • camilia permalink
        September 20, 2009 15:45

        That’s the only one that I never heard off, but we have all the other spices you mentioned and we have different kinds of turmeric, we have turmeric that’s used for everything, turmeric that’s used only for meat, turmeric for chicken, for fish. πŸ™‚

  3. Aniekie permalink
    September 20, 2009 13:12

    uh-oh this might just become a regular in my house,looks NJAM!I’m going to need 30 hours in a day to make everything here,but njaaaam!!

    • Maz permalink*
      September 20, 2009 15:23

      Remember, the chicken is there to make it a substantial dinner but the potato and spinach curry is the winner and it takes under an hour, don’t worry πŸ˜‰

  4. Tatidove permalink
    December 9, 2009 11:27

    I’m going to try to cook this one. It looks so…edible πŸ˜€ btw I love your blog!

    • Kristen permalink*
      December 21, 2009 23:18

      Thank you! Maz rocks, simply put. πŸ™‚

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