The quality of Indian food in Singapore is amazing. I shouldn’t have been surprised really as Singapore has a high level of Indian expats.
In a shopping centre not far from us, there is an Indian casual restaurant chain called Prata Wala. We have only ever eaten the tandoori platter from there (multiple times mind you) but it is the best Indian food I’ve ever had.
The Lovely L also recently told me that Raffles does an amazing Indian buffet, so I think that will be one we will check out soon too.
I don’t claim to be an expert on Indian food but I’ve made versions of this palak paneer and quick pickle multiple times back in Canberra and I think they make great sides to spiced meats or curries. I love spinach (palak) in all forms and the paneer cheese lends a lovely creamy texture and cooling element when paired with something spicy. The quick pickle is easy to make and the raw ginger in it pickles lightly so that it is still hot and sharp but completely edible.
Slashing the chicken will help get the marinade right into the chicken and also help it cook quicker later. It also looks pretty when serving :)
The indian spiced chicken was my attempt at a kind of home made tandoori. It’s far from the rich redness of a proper tandoori but still has a great spiced flavour without being too hot. Marinading in the yogurt overnight also tenderises the chicken greatly.
Paneer is a very mild tasting cheese that has a similar texture to a firm feta. This is very easy to come across in the cheese section and this is in fact the same brand that I buy in Australia. The grocer below us sells some beautiful looking paneer that has most likely been exported from India, however he only sells it in massive chunks and I don’t think we would use it all before it went to waste.
You could use fresh spinach if you want, but I actually prefer the consistency of the frozen spinach in this dish. Spinach does need to be seasoned quite heavily with salt and the paneer is not as salty as a feta so it also appreciates the salt. Add a little and taste. When the flavours and spices start to pop, that’s when you know you have added enough.
I love how the ginger in this tastes after the quick pickling. It pairs really well with not only the palak paneer but also the spicy chicken. I’ve also served this with a curry made from a store bought sauce and packaged naan breads to jazz up an otherwise lazy meal.
Those slashes in the chicken from the marinading process really do look pretty :)
For some carby goodness you could also serve some bought naan breads or rice with this. It also well and truly holds up as a complete meal with the chicken and the two sides though.
Indian Spiced Chicken with Palak Paneer and Quick Pickle
For the Spiced Chicken
Ingredients – serves 2-3
- 700g chicken pieces with bone in and skin on – I used a mix of drumsticks, thighs and wings
- 200g (1 cup) of natural or greek yogurt
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
- 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tbs ground cumin
- ½ tbs ground coriander seeds
- 1 tsp hot cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tbs garam masala
- 1 tsp ground turmeric powder
- Mix together all of the ingredients, except the chicken, in a medium, non-reactive mixing bowl.
- Cut deep slashes down to the bone in the chicken pieces.
- Massage the yogurt marinade into the chicken pieces coating them completely, then put the chicken pieces into the bowl with the marinade.
- Cover and refrigerate to marinade overnight.
- 20 minutes before you are ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 220°C and remove the chicken from the fridge.
- Once ready to start cooking, brush off any excess marinade from the chicken pieces and then lay them on a baking tray or dish.
- Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or cooked through and the surface has started to blacken. I turned the oven off and just used the fan forced overhead grill setting for the last 10 minutes of cooking time to help darken up the top. The cooking time will depend on what type of chicken cuts you use, so just keep an eye on it and cut into a piece to test if need be.
- Serve hot after resting with the palak paneer and pickle.
For the Quick Pickle
Ingredients – serves 2-3 as a side
- 1 cup roughly diced cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup roughly diced cucumber
- 1 long green chilli, chopped finely
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 3 tsp of lemon juice
- 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
- Combine all of the ingredients and let pickle for at least 30 minutes in the fridge while the chicken is cooking.
- Serve cold as a side dish with the spiced chicken and palak paneer.
For the Palak Paneer
Ingredients – serves 2-3 as a side
- 350g frozen spinach
- ½ large brown onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp ground coriander seeds
- 100g paneer diced
- ¼ cup of thin cream
- While the chicken is cooking, place the frozen spinach in a strainer in the sink and pour a jug of boiling water over it to defrost it.
- In a frying pan over medium heat, heat a small amount of neutral oil and sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent.
- Add the spices to the onion and cook until fragrant or for about 1 minutes.
- Next add the spinach and paneer to the pan and cook until completely warmed through, stirring occasionally. This should take around 2 minutes.
- Finally, add the cream and season heavily with salt and pepper.
- Serve hot as a side dish with the spiced chicken and quick pickle.