Chicken Koftas in Palak Gravy
Everyone's favorite palak paneer but with chicken koftas instead of paneer. Tender chicken meatballs cooked in a spicy cashew spinach gravy, served with soft buttery naans to mop up all that sauce. This chicken koftas in palak gravy is well worth the effort!
- 8 medium handfuls baby spinach (8 ounces or 227 grams by weight)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 inch ginger, chopped
- 20 raw cashews
- 1 medium - large tomato (about 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 4 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder or Indian chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 to 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground chicken (450 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, refer notes
Blanch spinach – bring a medium pot of water to rolling boil. Add half the spinach, push the leaves down to submerge in the water, and let cook for about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon drain the leaves on to a plate or bowl. Repeat process with the remaining half.
Shape chicken koftas
Mix ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt together in a bowl. Pinch of about 2 tablespoons measure and shape them into balls and place on a plate (a 2-tablespoon measure ice cream scoop comes handy). Place a small of water right next to you, dip your hands in the water before you shape each ball. This helps not to stick to your hands. (You could add about 2 tablespoons of additional breadcrumbs if it is difficult to shape meatballs, but they might not be as tender)
Make Chicken koftas in palak gravy
Add vegetable oil into a large non-stick saute pan and place over medium high heat. When moderately hot, add chicken koftas in a single layer. Let cook until bottom is golden brown, gently turn over and cook until golden on the other side. Using a slotted spoon, remove koftas onto a plate , draining as much of oil as possible. (they will not be fully cooked at this point).
Into the same pan (maintain the same heat), add group-1 ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute until it gets translucent and starts to get golden.
Now add group-2 ingredients and saute until the mixture gets thick and oil begins to seperate. Take pan off heat and all ingredients along with blanched spinach into a food processor. Process for about 2 minutes until ground (DO NOT grind until super smooth).
Transfer all ground mixture into the now empty saute pan along the the chicken koftas, 1 cup water, sugar and required salt. Place over medium heat and let it come to a boil (will start bubbling). Cook for 3-5 minutes and remove from heat for the meatballs to get cooked and the gravy will thicken.
Serve with naans / parathas / rotis / phulkas.
Breadcrumbs - Given measurement breadcrumbs will make a soft, tender meatballs, but the raw chicken mixture will be very soft. An ice cream maker will be very handy in shaping meatballs. But, if you are finding it difficult then add more breadcrumbs to make a firmer mixture.
Garam masala powder - It is a must for this dish but, if you don't have access to any then please proceed with the recipe without it.
Cayenne pepper powder or Indian chili powder - American/ Mexican chili powder is different from this. Don't sub.