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Saag chicken, paneer

A bowl of saag paneer from Kake da Hotel in Delhi, India.

What: A popular Punjabi preparation, saag chicken or saag paneer combines a protein of choice with a well-spiced spinach curry, made with lots of onion, garlic, ginger, and spices. It’s one of the classic North Indian curries, with the bonus of feeling relatively “healthy.”

Where: In central Delhi’s Connaught Place, Kake da Hotel (9136-666820; 67, Municipal Market, Connaught Circus, map), which is not actually a hotel, is a good, reliable source of hot, fresh Punjabi curries. It’s a popular place, so you know the big pots stewing near the entrance aren’t sitting out too long. Head upstairs for seating and service.

When: Daily, noon-midnight

Order: You can sample a number of standard Punjabi/Mughlai-derived dishes here, including saag chicken (140 rupees), which is on the bone and moderately spicy, and palak paneer (100 rupees), a dish very similar to saag paneer (technically, saag can mean any greens, while palak is specifically spinach). Also consider the butter chicken, kofta curry, dal makhani—and definitely order a couple of naans. Our favorite part of the meal was when the staff came by, unasked, with a second helping of each curry, dumping extra gravy into our bowls. Now that’s service.

Alternatively: Look for saag chicken and/or paneer on the menu at any Punjabi-Mughlai restaurant, including South Delhi’s Lazeez Darbar (2437-3333; C-1/2, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg, B Block, Jangpura B, Jungpura, map) or central Delhi’s Pindi (2338-7932; 16, Pandara Rd. Market, map), on Punjab-friendly Pandara Road. And there’s always Old Delhi stalwarts Karim Hotel  (Gali Kababian, Jama Masjid, map) and Al-Jawahar (2327-5987; Bazaar Matia Mahal, opposite Gate 1, Jama Masjid, map), both carrying this dish.


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