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Chicken in a Spinach and Mustard Sauce

A quick and easy chicken recipe from Madhur Jaffrey, great for midweek meals. The key to this chicken and spinach dish is fresh green chillies and French mustard.

From the book


I was trying to work out a quick version of seasoning a chicken dish with crushed mustard seeds and vinegar when it occurred to me that I could just use a grainy mustard. This particular mustard is labelled Moutarde de Meaux or Pommery. Any grainy French mustard will do.

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Vegetable oil
3 bay leaves
6 cardamom pods
5cm (2in) cinnamon stick
5 cloves
2 dried hot red chillies
1kg (2¼lb) chicken pieces, skinned
4 tbsp sultanas
6 tbsp natural yoghurt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅛ – ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
5cm (2in) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1–2 fresh hot green chillies, sliced into coarse rings
Green coriander tops
275g (10oz) frozen, chopped spinach, boiled until defrosted then lightly drained
3 tbsp Pommery mustard

Essential kit

You will need: a blender.

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Cut the chicken into serving portions (a pair of breasts into 4–6 pieces each, whole legs into 2–3 pieces each). Put 4 tablespoons oil in a large, wide, non-stick pan (a large, non-stick frying pan is also quite suitable) and set over a medium–high heat.When hot, put in the bay leaves, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick, cloves and red chillies. Stir for a few seconds or until the bay leaves turn a few shades darker. Now put in the chicken pieces and brown well on both sides. Add the sultanas and stir for a few seconds. Add the yoghurt, 1 teaspoon salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper and the chilli powder. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover well, turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

While the chicken simmers, put the ginger into the container of a blender along with 3 tablespoons water and blend until you have a smooth paste. Add the green chillies and a generous fistful of green coriander and continue to blend, pushing down with a rubber spatula when necessary. Now add the lightly drained spinach. Blend very briefly this time. The spinach should have a coarse texture and should not be a fine purée. Empty this green sauce into a bowl.Add the mustard and ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix.

When the chicken has cooked for 15 minutes, remove the cover and add the green sauce. Stir to mix. Bring to a simmer, cover again and cook for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Turn the chicken pieces a few times during this period.

Note: the larger whole spices are not meant to be eaten.

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