A beautifully spiced dish made with potatoes and spinach, saag aloo makes a great side dish for curry night, or a delicious and filling lunch by itself.
I like to add a bit of chilli heat to mine, plus a dash of stock - which works together with the ghee and spices to create an amazing aromatic sauce that clings to the potatoes and spinach.
Such a classic on the British Indian Restaurant menu, Saag Aloo is serious comfort food.
It's easy to prepare, and you should be able to pick up all of the ingredients at the supermarket.
📋 What do we need?
- I'm using ghee for this recipe, but you could use oil (such as sunflower oil) if you prefer.
- Chillies are optional - I swap and change between fresno chillies (in the image above) - which is on the milder side, or Birds eye chillies for some extra heat. You can leave them out entirely if you prefer.
- Potatoes - I use Rooster potatoes, which are floury potatoes, as I like the fluffier edges and the fact that they absorb more flavour from the spices. You can use waxy potatoes if you prefer.
- Spinach - I like to use fresh spinach, but you can use frozen spinach instead. Saag basically means green leafy vegetables in Hindi. In this case, for me, I'm using spinach - which is most often used in the Western world for making saag aloo, but traditional Punjabi saag aloo uses mustard leaves. Since i'm using spinach, this dish could also be called aloo palak - aloo meaning potato and palak meaning spinach.
📺 Watch how to make Saag Aloo
**Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post**
We start off by frying the seeds in ghee for this recipe. We're using cumin seeds and mustard seeds. The mustard seeds like to pop in the hot oil, so it's a good idea to be ready to add your red onions next - once these are added, the popping stops.
Next in goes garlic, chilli, turmeric, garam masala, fenugreek and a little tomato puree. That all gets stirred together to coat the onions.
Then we add in boiled potatoes along with a little salt. Mix it all together again and add stock and spinach.
It should only take another minute or so of gently tossing everything together for the spinach to wilt and the dish to be ready.
👩🍳PRO TIP I find chicken stock gives the best flavour, but you can use vegetable stock if you're making this a vegetarian dish.
I like to sprinkle with a little freshly chopped coriander (cilantro) before serving.
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- 600 g (1.3 lbs) potatoes - peeled and chopped into bite size pieces (waxy or floury potatoes are fine – I use Rooster potatoes)
- 3 tbsp ghee or sunflower oil
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 large red onion - peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 red chilli - finely chopped (use a milder chilli such as serrano or fresno if you don’t like it too hot, or use a hotter chilli such as a couple of birds eye chillies if you like it spicier).
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ⅛ tsp ground fenugreek
- 1 tbsp tomato puree - paste for US
- ¼ tsp salt
- 120 ml (½ cup) chicken stock
- 150 g (4 packed cups) baby spinach
- fresh coriander
- Place the potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 8-10 minutes until tender.600 g (1.3 lbs) potatoes
- Once cooked, drain the potatoes.
- Meanwhile heat the ghee or oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, until hot.3 tbsp ghee or sunflower oil
- Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cook for 1 minute until the seeds start to pop.2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds
- Turn the heat down to medium, add in the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften.1 large red onion
- Add in the garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute.2 cloves garlic, 1 red chilli
- Add in the turmeric, garam masala, fenugreek, and tomato puree and cook for a minute, stirring together to coat the onions.1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp garam masala, ⅛ tsp ground fenugreek, 1 tbsp tomato puree
- Then add in the potato and salt. Stir again to coat the potatoes.¼ tsp salt
- Add the stock and spinach, stir and heat for a minute until the spinach wilts.120 ml (½ cup) chicken stock, 150 g (4 packed cups) baby spinach
- Serve topped with fresh coriander.fresh coriander
I find the potato goes a little mushy on reheating, so I prefer to serve this dish right away. If you did want to make it ahead, you can make the dish, cool cover and refrigerate it for 1-2 days.
Or rather than refrigerating, you can freeze it, then defrost it overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat either in the microwave, or in a pan with a tablespoon of ghee or oil, over a medium heat, until hot throughout. Nutritional information is per serving - this recipe serves 4.
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