Palak chicken: A true Pakistani delight

The one thing that you miss the most while living away from home is the home cooked food.

Ambreen Malik April 06, 2016
Palak gosht was cooked very frequently in my mother’s household during the winter season and for some reason, I never liked what meat did to the spinach. While living in London, I once had Palak chicken at one of the Pakistani restaurants and loved it. Later, I tried my own version at home and have not looked back ever since. My brother, O, who was studying at the University of Warwick during that time, became the guinea pig for my cooking experiments.

My palak chicken didn’t just get approved by him, but I was also requested to make some for him to take along to Warwick. For the year he was there, I used to make a stack of food and freeze it for him to take along for the next two weeks. A quarter into the year, I started getting phone calls from his Pakistani and Indian class mates with specific requests for food, followed by thank you phone calls.

I wasn’t thrilled to find out that O’s flat mates were eating all of his home cooked food. My first-hand experience taught me that the one thing that you miss the most while living away from home is the home cooked food. I quietly doubled the food he took to Warwick. Things sisters do for their little brothers!!! Last night, O called me from his office and asked me if I could make some palak chicken for him. I am always happy to fulfil such farmaish (requests).

Here is the recipe:


Chicken – ½ kilo or 6-8 pieces

Fresh spinach – 1 kilo (you can use frozen if fresh is not available)

Tomatoes – 4 medium sized (make a puree with two green chillies)

Fresh ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp (heaped)

Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp

Dried whole chillies – 4 or 5

Roasted cumin seeds – 1 tbsp (crushed)

Roasted coriander seeds – 1 tbsp (crushed)

Crushed red chillies - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)

Salt – 1 tsp (adjust to taste)

Oil – 6 tbsps


1. Wash the spinach and steam it in a large pan. Once steamed, puree it with the hand blender. Put aside.

2. Heat the oil and add ginger garlic paste to it. Cook till its changes colour.

3. Add mustard seeds to it. Let it cook for a minute till you can smell them. Add the dried red chillies and cook for 10 seconds. Add a dash of water to stop it from burning.

4. Add cumin and coriander seeds. Cook for 30 seconds.

5. Add chicken and cook for five to seven minutes till it completely changes colour.

6. Add tomatoes, salt and crushed chillies and cook till the water dries.

7. Now add pureed spinach. Cook till the water dries and the oil comes out on the side.

I love serving this with boiled basmati rice. This also pairs well with homemade chapatti.

We had it with boiled rice, but you could always go completely desi and serve it with makaai ki roti. I guarantee there is nothing more delicious you can have.

All photos: Ambreen Malik

This post originally appeared here.
Ambreen Malik The author is a Microfinance Banker, food blogger, LSE Alum and a dragon in training. She tweets as @ambreen_malik (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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Rex Minor | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend Yours is a recipee for a puree palak with chicken pieces? Palak has a full taste when boiled separately and cooked after rinsing it and adding onions and cherry tomatoes in a pan..The scriptures propose the use of olive oil and not butter. The use of black pepper and salt is just healthy for the hygene of the stomach. The chicken should always be cooked on its own since they do not like to be mixed with vegitables. Rex Minor.
User | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend reminiscence of childhood when my mum made us eat with the motivation of "Popeye-the sailor man" & his big arms.
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