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Chicken Saagwala

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I think you’re going to love this chicken saagwala!

chicken saagwala

This chicken saagwala  recipe just plain gets it!

Chicken saagwala is a lightly spiced curry that is as simple as it is appealing. I love it!

If you crave a bit more heat, a sprinkle of freshly chopped green chillies will do the job. The additional chilli also tastes great.

Just be a bit careful so that the chillies zing rather than zap your tongue!


When I started my curry blog, I did so with the goal of learning how to cook authentic Indian food.

After a while, however, I began to realise just how popular British Indian restaurant (BIR) style curries like this are.

This recipe is based on several different recipes that were sent to me by top curry chefs around the UK.

For best results, it is important to use fresh baby leaf spinach for this chicken saagwala.

Many curry houses use tinned spinach which simply isn’t as nice.


As with all BIR meals, it will be much easier and faster if you prepare ahead of time. Be sure to cook your base curry sauce and pre-cook your chicken just like they do in curry house kitchens. If you do, this chicken saagwala will only take you ten minutes to cook and serve.

Curry Sauce
I have written a large and small version of my curry sauce recipe which will need to me made before cooking this recipe.

The large version is made just like they do in the best curry houses. Make a large batch for best results. It keeps in the fridge for three days and freezes well.

The small batch version works well too though it’s not as authentic.

I pre-cook chicken in two ways. Most restaurants use this method to prepare their chicken for chicken saagwala.

You could also add tandoori style chicken tikka to this recipe if you’d like to create tandoori Chicken Saagwala.

If you are in a rush, you could also simply simmer your cubed chicken in the base sauce until cooked through.

This adds a really nice flavour to the base sauce. It’s another layer of flavour!

For best results when cooking chicken saagwala, please use fresh or frozen spinach. Tinned spinach just doesn’t get it!

If you love this recipe try these other similar ones:

Cumin Chicken Curry
Chicken Curry with Paprika
Chicken Curry with Andhra Chicken Sauce
Chicken Curry with Coconut
Chicken Curry with Black Pepper
Kuzhambu Chicken Curry

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Yield: 3 - 4

How To Make British Indian Restaurant Style Chicken Saagwala

How To Make British Indian Restaurant Style Chicken Saagwala
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 4 chicken breasts - See link to pre-cooked chicken above
  • 750ml (3 cups) Curry sauce - See links to my recipes above
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 200g (about two large handfuls of fresh spinach)
  • 2 fresh green chilies (or more to taste)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala


  1. Start with the spinach. In a food processor, blend the fresh spinach, green chillies and lemon juice together with just enough water or stock from your pre-cooked chicken so that it blends to a smooth paste. Set aside.
  2. Now heat the ghee or oil in a wok or large frying pan.
  3. Pour in the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the cumin, coriander powder and chilli powder and stir to combine.
  5. When the spices begin to fill the room with their magnificent aroma, pour in the hot curry sauce and chicken pieces. Always add the curry sauce hot.
  6. Allow this to cook for about three to five minutes until the chicken is warmed through and the curry sauce is bubbling nicely.
  7. Now pour in the spinach mixture and stir it in. The red and bright green colours will look amazing together as the spinach and curry sauce blend.
  8. Cook for about another two minutes.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then check for seasoning. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and garam masala and serve with white rice or naans.

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Saturday 23rd of September 2023

I don’t ever write reviews but I made this curry and it was amazing! I followed the recipe and I’m so pleased I did.

I won’t look anywhere else for a curry recipe and look forward to trying out more.

Thank You!

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 26th of September 2023

That's great. Thanks very much. Dan


Wednesday 12th of May 2021

Looking forward to making this dish, but have a question. What do you consider "green chillies?" We are from New Mexico, and assume you don't mean New Mexico Green Chile. Will jalapenos do?Or fresnos? Or does it even matter as long as it has heat?

Dan Toombs

Friday 14th of May 2021

You can use whatever green chillies you like or what you have avaialble. Thanks very much. Dan

Wayne Thiim

Wednesday 26th of August 2020

got all your books but i cannot find Chicken Sagwala in the red book ?? what page [please

Dan Toombs

Thursday 27th of August 2020

Hi Wayne There is only a lamb saagwala on p72 in the red book so just replace the lamb with cooked chicken. Otherwise here is a chicken saagwala recipe: Thanks very much Dan

Jeremy West

Friday 22nd of February 2019

I found this to be excellent. If anyone has the capability of grinding the spices, I highly suggest that. I find using a traditional Saag with more variants of greens, but heavier on spinach and with the lemon juice, makes this better. Making this dish with some heat (blend some Thai Chile peppers into the sauce) really makes the tastebuds sing.

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 26th of February 2019

Thank you very much Jeremy. I'm really glad you liked it. :-)



Wednesday 27th of September 2017

Hello I just used your precooked chicken base recipe and came out excellent

I like things a little spicy so I added just a little paprika but other than that all the same ingredients.

Would you have a restaurant style SAAG GRAVY Large batch recipe handy by any chance??

I appreciate all your recipes and also just bought your book

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 17th of October 2017

Hi Saket

Thank you very much. I don't have a large batch saag recipe. That's a great idea though. I'm thinking about providing more large batches of different sauces on my site.

Cheers, Dan

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