Do You like potatoes? Yes…
Do You like spinach?? Yes…
Do you like potatoes and spinach together? Have you even considered mixing them together? Let me tell ya, they pair up so well in this Aloo Palak.
The fate of the potatoes don’t always have to be baked or fried. And spinach doesn’t have to be bland and boring. These two humble things, of course with a little help from a few spices from this spice mistress, turn into an extremely flavorful and addictive combination. You are going to come back again and again.
One more good thing, it’s very easy and quick! I see you are raising an eyebrow? It’s true, I made this easy Indian stir fry thing just for you.
When you think Indian food, what comes to mind? Some curry… some gravy… something creamy and heavy… something intimidating? This aloo palak is none of that. Yet it has that unmistakable, super tasty, vibe that you associate with Indian food.
This is their everyday kind of affair. Lots of their dishes actually have a very simple and basic soul. Something moms or wives cook quickly (yeah, cooking is still left to this gender in most of the households). Most of the home style dishes never have the cream or butter you recognize in their restaurants.
Quickly temper the veggies along with a few aromatics and spices, cook them in their own juices or steam, and there you go. Vegetables take a whole new avatar, rather than just boiled or baked. All you vegans and vegetarians out there, or even someone who likes to add some veggie goodness into your life, Indian is the way to go!!
Trust me. They have been eating this way for centuries and have mastered it pretty good.
Let’s talk about Aloo Palak
Aloo meaning potato… palak meaning spinach… simple!
This combination has a lot of variations from different regions, though it’s predominantly a North Indian dish. But there are two main distinctive types. One is dry and stir fried, with almost no liquid in the end product. The other has more of a gravy.
Both are equally great. I just want to first introduce you to the quick and easy one, the dry one. Yup… at this point you can subscribe to GypsyPlate, as surely the other version will come some time in the future… 🙂
Indians love their potatoes, which invariably find their way into so many dishes. They are eaten all by themselves with just a few spices, or in some more elaborate affair. Then they are mixed and matched in hundreds of different ways with other vegetables, or even with meats, and pair up with their famous biryanis and pulaos.
I simply can’t think of life in India without this starchy favorite. So when it’s time to eat some green veggies like spinach, I always like to enhance the flavor by adding my beloved potatoes. It works, it works wonderfully!!
All you need is a few things for this one
- Potatoes – I would recommend yellow potatoes for this one, rather than super starchy ones. They hold their shape and won’t turn mushy.
- Spinach – In India, it’s always fresh spinach. I can see frozen spinach working in an emergency.
- Onion – The base for most of Indian dishes.
- Tomato – Same goes with tomatoes. Some versions give it a miss, you can try both ways.
- Aromatics – Garlic and ginger (awesome here, but still go ahead and make it if lacking this root), and some kind of green chili.
- Spices – Turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder (you can use paprika in its absence), coriander powder, chili flakes (optional).
- Cumin seeds – They are great but, if it’s not in your pantry you can skip.
- Salt – to taste.
See it has a simple, basic makeup, here is how easy it is
Have you noticed, it has very few spices? Not even that famous garam masala powder. This one you want the flavors created by vegetables sauteing with aromatics to shine, with just a hint of spicy vibe. Garam masala powder could be a little overpowering in this version. Saying that, some people do sprinkle a dash of it in the end, I don’t.
First I am making a rough paste of ginger ,garlic and a little green chilies. I love to use my favorite mortar and pestle for my rough pastes. You can use jalapeno or serrano, but I always encourage you to taste a little of the chili when cutting it, as the heat can vary greatly. We want just a little heat, as there are other chilis being added. If you don’t tolerate heat, you can skip it altogether.
Peel and cut the potatoes into 3/4 to 1 inch cubes. We are keeping the size of the cubes on the smaller side, as they will cook faster. Chop the spinach, onions and tomatoes. That’s all the prep work.
Once you are ready to cook, heat the oil in a pot over medium high heat. Once it’s hot, add in the cumin seeds. Let them dance a bit, then add chopped onions. Sauté till they start to get golden brown. Stir in ginger + garlic + chili paste and give it a good stir.
Add in potatoes and combine everything well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add in tomatoes and salt, combine well. Cover and cook for another 5-8 minutes.
When the potatoes start getting a little soft it’s time to add in the dry spices. Stir so all the potatoes are well coated with spices. Cook covered until the potatoes are about 80% cooked. While they’re cooking, check out my collections of the best Potato Recipes and best Spinach Recipes.
Most of the time you don’t need any water, the tomatoes have plenty of liquid. Check a few times that the potatoes are not sticking to the bottom.
Towards the end, stir in chopped spinach and again cook it covered for a couple of minutes. Give it a good stir and cook till spinach and potatoes are cooked, about 5-8 more minutes. Taste and adjust the salt. You can garnish with chopped cilantro.
What to serve Aloo palak with?
- This vegetable combo is a bomb along with any Indian breads you can get your hands on, be it rotis, parathas or naan breads. I can see them great even in between wraps and pitas.
- Make a giant guilt free bowl of this sumptuous Aloo palak over some cauliflower rice. Cut some fresh cucumber and tomatoes for a salad and binge guilt free… Though I myself don’t feel any tad bit guilty scarfing it down with regular white rice.
- The way I grew up in India, this is a well rounded vegetarian meal, be it lunch or dinner. We start by eating our aloo palak with some piping hot rotis. That comes as the first course. Then we finish up with some rice with some kind of dal, like my dal tadka. And we always had some side accompaniment, like my tomato cucumber raita! Bliss. Yup, it’s a lot of work, but that’s just another day in most Indian households.
Some variations of Aloo Palak that I make every now and then
- You can give a miss to the tomatoes and follow the rest of the recipe the same. It won’t have the tanginess, but is still yum. Give it a try after my original version (I know you are going to make this one again and again).
- If you happen to frequent an Indian grocery store, look out for “kasoori methi “ or “dried fenugreek”. Grab it, it’s good stuff and can go in so many Indian dishes. You can sprinkle in about 1-2 tsp of it towards the last minute of cooking. It gives amazing flavors.
- Add in some green peas. They go great with aloo palak.
- This version is supposed to be on the dry side, but are you a little curious how it would be a little saucier? Add a little water when put in the tomatoes and spices. That will create the saucier version of the same recipe.
- Instead of cooking the potatoes along with the recipe, you can use boiled potatoes. Some people fry the potatoes completely before starting the rest of the recipe. I myself just want to keep it simple and fast like I mentioned above.
- I just realized that you can do this with your french fries… Hmm, interesting. I haven’t tried it yet, but will try soon and keep you updated.
I love telling you about foods from all over the world. It just becomes extra special when I share something I’ve eaten all my life. Add in the taste, the flavors, the pizzazz to these simple veggies and see the difference. All you need is a little bit of this and little bit of that!!
Bookmark or pin this recipe and give it a try the next time you are going meatless.
Let me know how you like this one, I love to hear from ya!! Take care!!
Aloo Palak, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 9 oz spinach
- 1 large onion
- 2 potatoes
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 green chili, deseeded
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
- Salt to taste
- In a mortar and pestle, make a rough paste of ginger, garlic and green chili.
- Chop potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes. Chop onions, tomatoes and spinach.
- Heat oil in pan over medium high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Add onion and saute until soft,
- Stir in paste and potatoes. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and salt, mix well. Cover and cook additional 5-8 minutes, until potatoes start getting soft.
- Stir in spices, cover and cook until potatoes are about 80% done. About 5-10 minutes. Check a few times that the potatoes are not sticking to the bottom.
- Add spinach. Cover and cook about 2 minutes, until spinach is soft enough to stir in. Mix everything well, cover and cook until potatoes are done and most liquid has evaporated, about 5-8 minutes.
- Taste and adjust salt.
In absence of Kashmiri red chili powder, use paprika.
Green chilis, ginger and cumin seeds are optional. If you lack any of these it will still taste great.
Nutrition InformationYield 3 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 359Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 17mgSodium 634mgCarbohydrates 44gFiber 8gSugar 7gProtein 14g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Never miss a recipe!
Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.