A classic combination, simple, quick and healthy but loaded with the satisfaction of a home cooked meal. The taste and the texture of the spinach and the potatoes shine here; not over done, not drowned by grease and spices.
Aloo=Potatoes and Palak=Spinach. As in most Indian recipes the combination of Aloo and Palak is popular all over India, but the taste and flavor will vary immensely from one state to another. The seasoning, tempering and the spices change in different corners of the country allowing this to be presented in a whole new way. Some places make it rich and creamy, others use coconut or a lot more tomatoes to give it a nice tang. The spices and even the cooking oil will change this recipe to completely new kind. You only have to experience a meal in a few homes to experience the varied taste and flavors.
If you are familiar with the Indian restaurants you would know that “Aloo Palak” is a sure thing to appear in the vegetarian part of the menu book – a creamy gooey spinach which tastes darn good as well. If you have ordered one, you will notice that the one that sat on your table would have looked nothing like this. Well this recipe here is a different kind – easy and inexpensive, healthy with no cream, quick and with more homely and comfortable flavors. This is the way I grew up eating my Aloo Palak. Not many spices are used here, the spinach is not overcooked and served with the usual dal/lentils that appear almost at all meals of an Indian family, this becomes a part of a nice healthy meal.
Aloo Palak/Spinach with Potatoes
Ingredients: (serves about 4 as a side dish)
- 12 oz – 16 oz (approx. 1 lb) spinach, fresh or frozen
- 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 red dry chili - broken OR 1 hot green chili pepper, slit
- 1 small tomato, grated or finely chopped – (Optional)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1.5 tablespoons oil/ghee/butter
- fresh lime or lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
If you are using fresh spinach, wash them till the dirt is gone. Tear them into rough pieces. they do not have to be even and uniformly done.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin and the red dry chili or the slit hot pepper and let the seeds sizzle and turn brown. Add the garlic and stir them around till light brown and fragrant. Add the onions and cook at medium heat till they start to caramelize/turn brown. Add the potatoes, salt and the turmeric; stir them around the pan so all the spices and onions coat the potatoes. Fry the potatoes for about 2 minutes – till the potato cubes start having a glazed look.
Add the grated/finely chopped tomatoes, stir to combine and cover and cook for about 2-3 minutes, at medium heat.
Add the spinach, toss everything together & cover the pan. Cook for about 5-8 minutes at medium heat or till the potatoes are cooked through and the spinach is wilted and still kind of bright green, which means they are not all cooked.
Now uncover the pan and increase the heat to high. Cook while tossing everything frequently till all the water evaporates and you hear a light sizzle. You will feel that some of the spinach will start to stick at the bottom of the pan. Switch off the heat immediately. Cover the pan and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
Sprinkle fresh lime/or lemon juice and serve immediately with hot steamed rice or flat bread and dal/lentils.