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Palak Murgh (Chicken with Spinach)
Poultry | Menu Favorites

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon chopped gingerroot
1 cup tomato sauce

Grind together:
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, ground
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1-2 teaspoons cayenne
1-2 teaspoons paprika
salt to taste

10 ounces cleaned spinach, chopped - pat dry or use a salad spinner
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Garam Masala (recipe follows)

Cut chicken into pieces as desired (I like bite-sized chunks); wash.  Pat dry, set aside.

Heat ghee (or oil) in deep skillet or heavy stockpot; add onions, garlic and gingerroot.  Sauté until well browned over medium to medium high heat. Mix in tomato sauce, and the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, paprika and salt. Simmer for just a few minutes until oil begins to separate from the spices.

Add chopped spinach; simmer over a medium-low flame for 10-15 minutes, adding a little water if needed.  Add chicken; cook until chicken is done (maybe only 5-8 minutes, don't overcook). Whisk in heavy cream and garam masala; heat until cream is warmed through.

Serve hot with steamed basmati rice and naan bread.

(This is adapted from the original recipe of Raghavan Iyerinstructor of Indian cooking class that I took at Byerly's, March 14, 1994www.byerlys.com. Raghavan is the author of Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking and also The Turmeric Trail: Recipes and Memories from an Indian Childhood. He is an exceptional teacher, a remarkably quiet and gentle man who owns a catering business in Minneapolis.)

Notes:  You can buy ghee in Indian or Asian grocery stores in pint or quart-sized jars if you don't want to make your ownAlso, grind all of the spices together in a second coffee grinder that keep just for that purpose. The best flavor comes if you heat the whole spices (I use a small non-stick frying pan) first, then put everything into the grinder together. I do the same for my garam masala. Indian cooking is best when whole spices are ground in small amounts just before using - I recommend that you never make big batches of the garam masala to keep on hand, always make fresh.

Garam Masala:
2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
1 Tablespoon black cumin seeds
1 small cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cardamom seeds 
2 Tablespoons coriander seeds

Mix all ingredients together in a coffee grinder and grind to a powder.  Store in a spice jar or Tupperware.
(from Indian Cooking, by Naomi Good)