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Chicken Saag Balti

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Chicken saag balti is a hugely popular balti!

In this recipe, you will learn how to make a chicken saag balti as it should be.

There are lots of imitations out there but this is how a chicken saag balti would be made at the best balti houses.

Served in the flaming hot pan it’s cooked in, you’ve got to try this one!

Chicken Saag balti

No need for a fork! Just dip a fresh naan or chapati in and enjoy.

What exactly is a chicken saag balti?

Saag refers to the spinach that is cooked into this famous curry. You could add it finely chopped or do as I did and blend it with some fresh chillies.

So a chicken saag balti is a balti with spinach and chicken. 

You could cook this chicken saag balti with the main ingredient of your choice though. 

Add cooked lamb for a meat saag or go veggie and try this with paneer and/or potatoes. 

How are balti curries different?

Balti cooking was developed in Birminghamin the 70s and 80s. That was its hay day but it is still very popular today.

What makes baltis like this chicken saag balti special is the way they are cooked.

A true balti will be cooked in an authentic Balti bowl and be served hot off the fire in the same bowl. 

Unfortunately, many chefs don’t do this correctly. These days you are much more likely to receive a balti, cooked in a frying pan and then served in an ornamental balti bowl.

This just isn’t the same but you can make sure your chicken saag balti is cooked and served to perfection with this recipe. 

Making this recipe right…

For best results, you should cook your balti in an authentic stainless steel balti bowl. They are now being made in the UK again by The Birmingham Balti Bowl Company.

Although not essential, a chicken saag balti should be cooked over high heat. For this reason, I like to cook mine on the barbecue but a good gas hob will be close enough.


If needs must, use an electric hob.

The base sauce (gravy)

One of the secrets behind getting the curry house style curry right is the base sauce.

A prepared base sauce is used in all BIR curries. It’s mild and it needs to be. The base sauce is used in every curry from the mildest
chicken tikka masala to a spicy vindaloo.

My ‘go to’ recipe for the sauce is here.

Step by step photos…

Frying chopped onion

Fry the chopped onion in the hot oil and then stir in the cumin seeds.

Adding ground spices to balti bowl

Stir in the ground spices and fry, stirring for about a minute.

Adding tomato puree

Add the tomato puree and bring to a simmer.

Adding base sauce and chicken

Swirl in the base sauce and then add the cooked chicken.

Adding blended spinach mixture to balti bowl

The sauce will begin to thicken and the meat will heat through. Now add the blended spinach mixture.

Finished chicken saag balti

To finish, whisk in the yoghurt and season with salt to taste. Add a little more lime juice if you like.

If you enjoy this recipe with spinach some of these too:

Saag Aloo
Channa Saag
Lamb Keema Saag
Lamb Saag
Chicken Saagwala
Saag Paneer

Yield: 4 - 6

Chicken Saag Balti

chicken saag balti
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 110g (1/4 lb) baby spinach leaves
  • 3 green bird's eye chillies - roughly chopped
  • 1 handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp ghee or rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1/2 onion - finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp basaar curry powder OR
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mixed powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) tomato puree
  • 250ml (1 cup) base sauce
  • 1 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste


  1. Start by preparing the spinach.
  2. Place all of the spinach, chillies, coriander and lime juice in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. You may need to add just a bit of water to do this. Set aside.
  3. Now heat the ghee/oil in a balti bowl over high heat.
  4. When hot, add the chopped onions and fry for about 15 minutes until translucent and soft but not overly browned.
  5. Add the cumin seeds, stir and then add the ginger and garlic paste and allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the ground spices and ensure they are stirred into the onions well.
  7. Stir in the tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Then add one ladle of the base sauce. This is a dry curry so only add more if it is looking a bit too dry.
  8. Add the blended spinach mixture and cook for a further two minutes.
  9. Check for seasoning and add the salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Just before serving, whisk in the yogurt and a little more lime juice if you like.

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I hope you enjoy this chicken saag balti recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 



Wednesday 15th of March 2017

What great timing. I have some leftover chicken thighs from a meal I made last weekend, I was pondering how I should cook them for my Friday night dinners. Looks like this is going to be my inspiration. Thanks!

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 15th of March 2017

Thank you Danielle! Hope you enjoy the recipe. My family sure does. :-)

Thanks, Dan


Wednesday 15th of March 2017

your receips are really nice.can you pls help me to give balti masala receipe.nor able to find in your blog

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 15th of March 2017

Thank you very much Aasma. I'll work on that one for you. I do have a few balti masala recipes that I like and need to type.

Thanks, Dan


Tuesday 10th of March 2015

I too detested spinach. But when it is cooked until its lingering essence has dissipated, I wouldn't mind it so much. The chicken saag balti is an interesting dish. I've had green curries in Thainland, but I'm not sure if those curries use spinach as their base. Can't wait to try this out. The chicken looks great.

Dan Toombs

Thursday 8th of October 2015

Thank you Mike. Hope you enjoy the recipe.


Heather Haigh

Tuesday 10th of February 2015

That looks great - what a fabulous colour. I'm a big fan of spinach - this has to be on my to do list.

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