Indian cuisine has a way with spinach. Unlike other cuisines, how those dishes are prepared – and even the ingredients — are not self-evident, so I’ve been doing a little research, of course including one of my favorite sources, At Home with Madhur Jaffrey. She chops onions, garlic, ginger and red pepper in a food processor until nearly pureed and sautés it in oil before adding the spinach. She then simmers browned chicken on top. Brilliant technique and wonderful mix of flavors and aromas. I halved Jaffrey’s recipe except for the spinach, cut back on the oil and removed most of the chicken skin, in response to her parting comment, “Extra fat may be removed before serving.”
4 chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1-inch pieces of fresh ginger peeled and coarsely chopped
3 medium cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
4 whole cardamom pods
¾ lb fresh spinach, cleaned, de-stemmed and chopped (or use 10 oz frozen)
Trim excess skin from the chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
Chop the onion, ginger, garlic, paprika and cayenne in a food processor until very finely chopped, but not pureed.
In a wide sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the cinnamon stick and cardamom until they start to sizzle. Brown the chicken on both sides in one layer in the pan (work in batches if necessary) and remove to a plate.
Add the onion to the oil, turning the heat down to medium and stir-fry for a few minutes until most of the liquid has dried up. Add the spinach in batches, and cook it for a few more minutes until wilted.
Place the chicken on top, add a little salt and ½ c water and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and simmer gently until the chicken is done, about 20-25 minutes, turning the pieces a few times. Serve with rice.