I'm craving Indian Food! But I know little about it

I’m pretty new to Indian food and have really only had chicken saag from a local place, but it closed down before I could do much experimenting.

I love chicken saag. At least the way that place prepared it. The rice had peas in it and was a big part of the yumminess of the dish for me.

So, got a good recipe for chicken saag you wouldn’t mind sharing? What else might I like? I am not a fan of game meats, so I’m not sure I’d enjoy lamb or goat much, but I’ve probably never had it prepared well.

I don’t have a good saag recipe for you, but the Pioneer Woman has a great Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. It’s a bit involved, but comes out delicious!

I’d recommend that you visit an Indian restaurant when they’ve got a buffet set up. It’s a good way to try various dishes in small quantities. In particular, try the vegetarian dishes. If you don’t know what something is, ask one of the other diners, or a restaurant employee.

You might try saag paneer, a very common restaurant dish, which will have cubes of a simple homemade cheese in place of the chicken.

For recipes I suggest looking to Madhur Jaffrey, author of many cookbooks - this chicken with spinach and mustard should be similar to saag:


I was also going to recommend saag paneer, which is what I often get at Indian restaurants. I am not an expert on Indian food by any means, but the “saag” part indicates that the dish is made with spinach or other greens. Sometimes you’ll see the term “palak” instead, which specifically means that it is spinach. Aside from saag/palak paneer there’s also saag aloo, which is made with potatoes instead of the paneer cheese.

In the ethnic section of the grocery store you may be able to find pre-made pouches of saag/palak paneer along with other Indian dishes. I’ve seen a couple of different brands of these and I don’t remember all the names, but I know one is called Kitchens of India. I get these pouches sometimes, and IMHO they’re pretty good. Not as good as in a restaurant, but definitely better than I’d be able to make for myself. I’m a lousy cook, though. :slight_smile:

I have an amazing saag chicken recipe that I’ve made several times. I think I got it from the Food Network website, but I’m not completely certain. Mine has no tomato in it (many of them do). You can also make it with paneer, but I prefer the chicken (some day I would like to use lamb). Find a good recipe for home made naan bread to go with it.

My wife’s go-to Indian recipe is chicken tikka masala which is also delicious.

Keep in mind that the ‘curry powder’ that you buy at the market only vaguely resembles the spicing for Indian food. If you plan to engage fully in cooking this excellent cuisine, you will need to invest in buying the individual spices that go into the seemingly endless variety of curry recipes, along with a spice grinder. Most of the food is not difficult to prepare, but the number of ingredients can be daunting. Chicken Biryani is a good example.

I’d suggest trying different types of dal (lentils) recipes.

Chicken Tikka Masala is British.

Yeah, and I’ve never eaten chicken saag either. Maybe it’s a Pakistani variant?

No. It sounds horrible. :eek:

Thanks for the responses everyone. I’ll try one of these suggestions.

Assuming you are the USA, because nearly anywhere else you can find good Indian easily, you will be able to check out lots of Indian flavors via Patak’s USA. I have been cooking curries since long before curry sauces were available in supermarkets and, in all honesty, these sauces are mostly far better than the average cook can manage from scratch.

Yes, and nachos are American, but they still serve them at every Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to.

I meant to add that saag isn’t really the name of a recipe. It is simply spinach. So you just pick a curry sauce you like and add spinach. Balti or Korma sauces work well.

Oh, I didn’t know that. I love raw spinach, but hate the taste of cooked spinach, so was actually surprised to like the dish.

Saag is not really spinach. It’s a type of dish. Spinach saag is only one variety. Another common one(at least in Punjab, perhaps not so much elsewhere) is the saag made from mustard leaves. Unlike the spinach saag, I’ve never seen the mustard(sarson) saag prepared with other stuff thrown in (cheese/potato etc).

It seems you may be mistaken. Wiki lists nachos as having originated in Mexico. CTM on the other hand, is more British than Indian, even if it is found in Indian restaurants.

I’m a big fan of Indian food and cook it often. I have quite an arsenal of spices, but some of the pre-made sauces and spice blends can be really good too. Spices are the key thing, and you can make a delicious meal out of a couple of potatoes with black mustard seeds, plus a tomato (optional). Or - last night’s dinner - was lentil (dal) stew with a can of chopped tomatoes, spices and a can of coconut milk stirred in at the end. Divine, healthful and bonus: also really easy to make.

I’m lucky enough to have a couple of good little Indian stores nearby, and they’re quite cheap so I can experiment with spices. For online spices I like zamouri.com. I bought a
starter set of curry seasonings as a gift for a friend from them recently and have also been happy with some of the more hard-to-find spices, such as Ethiopian berbere and ras el hanout.

I cook mostly vegetarian, but have used the BBC food website for inspiration. Also concur that Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbooks are excellent.

I highly recommend 660 Curries, by Raghavan Iyer: comprehensive, easy to understand, and it spans many different regions of India.

Ooh. On my wishlist. :slight_smile: