Indian-Spiced Spinach and Chicken Simmer: no nuts, no coconut milk

January 21, 2011

My mother is an amazing cook and my parents both love to try new foods. I grew up in a house where one night you had Greek food, Cuban food the next night, and the following night Iraqi food.  Needless to say, I was shocked when my husband told be he had never eaten Indian food. But then I learned he was allergic to nuts, which includes peanuts, tree nuts, & coconut (recently considered a tree nut).  Many Indian dishes contain nuts or coconut milk, so an attempt to eat at an Indian restaurant would likely lead to a hospital visit.
At first I looked in stores for a prepared sauce or dish. For some reason I had it in my head that cooking an Indian dish would be difficult. I found one jar of mango curry for $7.00. We tried it and it was great, but it made a small dinner.  However, one day I ran across this recipe on cooking section.  It has become a staple meal at our home now. It is very tasty & simple to make.  The cooking goes really fast, so make sure you have all your ingredients prepped before starting. Also, you can make it vegetarian by using potatoes and/or chick peas instead of chicken.
  • 2  tablespoon(s) cooking oil
  • 1   onion, chopped
  • 3   cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1  tablespoon(s) chopped fresh ginger (I have used ginger paste & ground ginger when fresh isn’t on hand)
  • 1  tablespoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1  tablespoon(s) ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) paprika
  • 1  teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2   jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced (I have left this out & the dish is still wonderful.)
  • 1/2 cup(s) canned crushed tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup(s) heavy cream (Most of the time I use half & half to cut down on calories)
  • 1   cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) water
  • 2  packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed (I tend to add a lot more spinach)
  • 4   boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3 pieces each
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
Here are the directions & a few pictures. Please note I made a double batch, so we could have a meal ready in the freezer.
1) In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes longer. (I used ginger paste this time)

Onion, garlic, & ginger

2) Stir in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute, and then stir in the jalapeños and tomatoes.

Spiced added in. This is when things really start to smell great!

Crushed tomatoes & jalapeños added in

3) Add the cream, cinnamon stick, and water. Squeeze the spinach to remove excess liquid and add the spinach to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Half & half, water, cinnamon stick, & spinach added in. (I also put in cut up cooked potatoes)

4) Stir in the chicken and the remaining 1/2 teaspoons salt, cover, and simmer the stew until just done, about 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving. I usually serve with brown rice. Sometimes I will make or buy Naan (Indian flat bread).

Finished Indian-spiced spinach & chicken

Let me know if you try this dish & what you think!


One Response to “Indian-Spiced Spinach and Chicken Simmer: no nuts, no coconut milk”

  1. Brittany said

    I just found your blog and I wanted to say thinks. We are also on a quest to simplify so I always appreciate info and advice!

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