I am extremely fortunate to be the frequent recipient of food gifts such as samosas and curries, made by one of the ladies in my team when she, her sisters and her mother get together for one of their traditional batch cooking sessions. Lucky, lucky me!
When I got home, clutching my saag booty, I discovered Barn had decided he fancied chicken, so had taken some breast fillets out of the freezer. He had no further plans.After a bit of dithering, and having started out with a vague idea of mango chicken with saag on the side, this delicious curry was the meal that eventually evolved.
If you’re not lucky enough to have been gifted saag, and you can’t buy any locally, substitute with 2-3 ‘bricks’ of frozen spinach, defrosted and with water squeezed out. Use an extra clove of garlic in the main recipe and add the following spices to the cooked onions:
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ to ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
It won’t be quite the same but you’ll be going in the right direction!
With no plain yoghurt or fresh mint in the house a proper raita was out of the question; we made do with diced cucumber and soured cream, generously seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I say ‘made do’…it was gorgeous and worked perfectly to allow the sweetness of the mango to come through, just before the spices kicked in.
To serve two very hungry people
2 chicken breast fillets, cut into chunks
A large portion of saag (curried spinach)
A couple of dessert spoons of ghee or a good splash of oil
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 onions, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1-2 courgettes, cut into chunks
1 chicken stockpot
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and chunked
Juice and zest of 1 lime
A 2-3cm of fresh ginger root, grated
A couple of red chillies (how much you use depends on the heat of your saag and, of course, personal taste)
A handful of fresh coriander
Salt and pepper
To serve: steamed rice and optional cucumber dip
If you’re using the spinach/spices substitute for the saag, now is the time to add those extra spices (ground coriander, turmeric and cayenne).
Cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time.
Turn up the heat a little and chuck in the peppers and courgettes. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add chicken and cook for another few minutes, stirring and turning..
Burp loudly when finished eating (unless in polite company, or you are the polite company, in which case, don’t).