Instant Pot Chicken saag is an Indian super rich, satisfying curry consisting of meat cooked in a spiced sauce made of spinach. A low fat curry that is so good to mop up with rice or freshly made whole wheat chapathis(Indian flatbread).
Saag chicken is alternative of popular vegetarian saag paneer. I have used Instant Pot (because I’m already obessed with it) to make this chicken saag, but it can be made on stove-top too. Since we decided to go with Instant Pot method for this chicken saag, everything is done in the pot itself. Cooking spinach along with other spices, making the spinach sauce and cooking chicken in the pot itself. We pureed the spinach to make spinach sauce in the pot itself using a stick blender. Essentially this is all-done-in-instant-pot kind of recipe.
This spinach chicken curry is one pot meal which tastes great with piping hot rice or freshly made chapathis (Indian flat bread). It’s super quick, low fat, perfect-for-your-weekday-meal. Talk about balanced meal this curry fits the bill. It’s balanced with right amount of protein, fibre and carbs (served with rice or roti).
Boneless chicken thigh works great for pressure cooker recipes. Chicken breasts can be used too. Some recipes call for adding dairy fat like heavy cream, or sour cream to the dish. You would also hear about coconut milk added to the saag chicken recipe. Since I was aiming towards light and healthy saag chicken recipe, I did not add any cream. I prefer a tablespoon of ghee to saute ingredients in the recipe. The fantastic aroma that ghee adds to the curry is amazing. If you want to keep it diary free please substitute ghee with vegetable oil.
Vegetarian or Vegan version
For vegetarian version, substitute chicken with potaotes, chickpeas, or paneer.
To make a vegan version, substitute chicken with tofu and ghee with vegetable oil in the recipe.
What is Saag
Technically saag is green spinach, it’s spinach curry sauce in which proteins are cooked. Usually made with Indian greens like ‘palak’, ‘mustard greens’. You should be able to use other greens like kale, baby spinach or even turnip greens if you feel adventures.
What is in chicken saag
Chicken saag is chicken curry with spinach. One of the most favorite and delicious North Indian traditional curry with an amazing combination of chicken and spinach. Spinach is cooked in ghee (Indian clarified butter) along with cumin seeds, ginger & garlic, onions, chilies, coriander powder.
Cooking chicken for chicken saag recipe can be done in 2 ways –
- Lightly searing chicken pieces in ghee first and then cook in spinach sauce.
- Cook chicken pieces along with spinach, remove chicken pieces, blend spinach into puree and add cooked chicken back into it.
You can do one of the above 2 methods.
Talk about proteins and vegetables in one dish, this Instant Pot chicken saag makes an delicious main meal. It’s a great way to use loads and loads of spinach in your meal. More amount of spinach you use, the better naturally creamy, rich, tasty saagwala chicken curry you’ll have.
Recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Saag
Adding ghee to saute vegetables gives you wonderful aromatic curry. Heat up Instant Pot in saute mode and add ghee.
Saute cumin seeds, ginger & garlic pieces, onions and green chilies. If you are my regular reader, you know I love all-things-spicy. So I went ahead with 3 green chilies with seeds on it. Feel free to adjust the amount of chili based on how much heat you can take. Remember we will be blitzing all ingredients into sauce including the chilies.
For mild heat option – use 1 chili and remove all the seeds before adding to the curry. Also you can remove the chili before blitzing if you want to just the flavor of the chili and not it’s heat.
Sprinkle in the spice powders.
Add loads of spinach and chicken pieces into the pot. Make sure to separate the chicken pieces, they will stick to each other when you pressure cook.
Close lid and pressure cook for 8 minutes. Note – I ALWAYS prefer my chicken to be well done. You can adjust the cooking time based on how well you want your chicken to be cooked.
Once cooking time is over, manually release the pressure in the pot with a kitchen towel in your hand.
Remove chicken pieces out in a bowl. Blend rest of the ingredients using stick blender into a smooth sauce(the way I prefer), you can aim for consistency that you like, rough texture with visible bits and pieces of spinach or a smooth and creamy texture.
Add chicken pieces back.
Sprinkle garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves (optional).
Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Note – the sauce will splutter all over, so make sure to cover with a glass lid while simmering.
Pro-Tip: add garam masala in the very-end always. As the flavors of the masala gets mutated while simmering.
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Watch quick video on how to make Instant Pot Chicken Saag
Instant Pot Chicken Saag
- 1 pound chicken thighs or breasts, cut into cubes
- 1 pound spinach
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 inch ginger piece
- 1 white onion chopped
- 3 green chilies adjust as per spice preference
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
- 2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi optional
- Fresh coriander leaves
- Few drops of thick yogurt
- Heat up Instant Pot in saute mode and add ghee.
- Saute cumin seeds, ginger & garlic pieces, onions and green chilies.
- Sprinkle in coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt.Pour about 1/2 cup water.
- Add loads of spinach and chicken pieces into the pot. Make sure to separate the chicken pieces, they will stick to each other when you pressure cook.
- Close lid and cook for 8 minutes in “pressure cook” setting.
- Once cooking time is over, manually release the pressure in the pot with a kitchen towel in your hand. Be careful, the liquids may splutter out while releasing pressure.
- Remove chicken pieces out in a bowl. Blend rest of the ingredients using stick blender into a smooth sauce.
- Add chicken pieces back.
- Sprinkle garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves (optional).
- 10. Simmer for 2-3 minutes with a glass lid to cover (curry sauce will splutter).
- 11. Serve hot with basmati rice or rotis.