Aloo palak — Indian spinach potato

What is your favourite Indian dish? Mine is Aloo Palak, spinach potato stew! It is a simple beginners dish that will delight every time you make and/or eat it. 

I learned this recipe — not from my favourite Indian cook book by Camellia Panjabi  — but from my former college classmate. She had learned it from someone who is related to the famous William Makepeace Thackeray, whose father served the East India Company. Is this recipe authentic? Definately not! Even I have altered it with tins of tomato, precooked potatoes, blanched spinach, my own spice mix, and what not!  😄 

Main ingredients:

  • 250 g spinach leaves, blanched (alternatively use frozen leaf spinach)
  • a tin of whole tomatoes, chopped (alternatively use 4-6 fresh and ripe tomatoes)
  • 6 potatoes, first cooked, then cooled down, peeled and halved

For spices, other ingredients, and method, see below.

Ghee and the following spices go first into a hot pan:

  • 5tbls of ghee (enough to cover the bottom of the pan!)
  • 1 tsp of yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp of coriander 
  • 0,5 tsp of fenugreek seeds
  • 0,5 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 0,5 tsp nigella seeds
  • 0,3 tsp black pepper, grated

Mix vigorously. When the mustard seeds start to "pop up", add in the following ingredients and continue stir frying on high heat:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cm fresh turmeric, grated
  • 3 cm of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 green chili pepper, cut into small pieces (alternatively use plenty of chili flakes)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt

Add the chopped tomatoes when the mix is so dry that it starts to get stuck on the bottom of the pan. On medium heat, continue cooking the mix until it thickens, for about 10-15 minutes. Now add the rest of the ingredients i.e. potatoes and spinach.

Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. 

Serve with basmati rice, naan, roti, or any other Indian bread you can make or bake.