Saag Aloo – Spinach with Potatoes

Mallika Basu - Saag Aloo – Spinach with Potatoes

Posted 10th November 2006

[Note: I have two alternatives to this recipe here, and here, if you’ve arrived here looking for a saag aloo recipe.]

My kitchen is soon going to be a hotbed of pure beauty and I’m not talking about the aloo gobi, tarka dhal and saag aloo I’ll be cooking.

In a fit of madness I invited my colleagues from our consumer PR division home for a live cookery session and dinner party.

I say madness because a) there are 7 of them and b) all seven aren’t exactly renowned for their culinary prowess. These girls are also all, and I mean all, stunningly gorgeous, stick thin and super sweet.

I think I’ll just go and be sick now.

Anyway, on the subject of saag aloo. My Iranian colleague Natasha requested it for the live demonstration. I’ve never eaten this in India buts it’s a hugely popular Indian vegetarian dish in the UK.

I wouldn’t naturally put the two most bland ingredients together – potatoes and spinach. But then once the masalas get going, that’s when the fun begins for a lot of Indian dishes – like lentils for example.

So as a trial run, I decided to cook saag aloo for the first time and get my recipe ready for the girlies. I had to be conscious that they don’t own high-tech kitchen gadgets like blenders or garlic presses when assembling the dish.

There’s a different version of the same dish with paneer here, but my recipe to serve 3-4 is as follows:

350 gms of pureed spinach (I used a tin)

1 clove garlic, chopped fine

1 fresh green chilli, chopped fine

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

Half tsp garam masala

1 tablespoon oil (any flavourless)

Salt to taste

Heat the oil and when hot fry the garlic and the green chilli. Take care not to let the garlic stick to the bottom of the pan adding a bit of hot water if necessary.

When the garlic starts going brown, add the cumin and coriander. Stir for two minutes and chuck all the potatoes in. Fry for a couple of minutes until you see the sides of the potatoes going translucent.

Then stir in the spinach, mixing the masala into it evenly. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes stirring regularly.

Stir in the garam masala powder and simmer for another two minutes or so. Add salt to taste. It was actually quite satisfying – tasty and healthy. Hope they agree..

68 responses to “Saag Aloo – Spinach with Potatoes”

  1. lakshmi says:

    nice blog Mallika, don’t know from where I jumped to your blog, was nice going th’ your blog.

  2. Mangs says:

    hey .. mine looked all smudgy but thats my unstoppable habit of preboiling potatoes; it was yummmmy!

  3. Pille says:

    I’ve been looking everywhere for this recipe, and as I couldn’t find it in any of my Indian/Curry cookbooks, I gathered it’s not very common dish in India after all. I used to pop over to an Indian restaurant in Edinburgh to satisfy my saag aloo cravings, but as I’ve now moved back to Estonia, I need to cook one myself:)
    Thanks for the recipe!
    PS Found my way here through Sam’s Becks&Posh.

  4. Very nice blog!!!

    I recently discovered Indian cuisine and soon became an addict. This spinach and potato dish looks amazing.

  5. CookingChat says:

    do you parboil the potatoes or something first? doesn’t seem like they’d cook that fast if not. I’m getting ready to make…

  6. Lee M says:

    This recipe is hard to find because its ‘proper’ name is palak aloo{ spinish(palak) potato(aloo)}. many people think saag is spinich, but my pakistani friend has informed me that it is not.

  7. Thom says:

    Substitute turnip greens for the spinach! No, really. I didn’t have spinach and thought I was dooming myself with this switch, but WOW! It worked. I’ve had this dish before and liked it. It tastes right, though maybe even better this way. Go figure! I used Sunshine brand turnip greens. Great recipe–thanks so much.

  8. […] Saag Aloo (w/ leftover potatoes) […]

  9. Judy says:

    Another fabulous recipe. I loved it. I always wondered what to do with canned spinach…now I know. Thanks.

  10. Katrina Crawford says:

    Thank you – this is one of my favourite indian dishes as a vegie. Its nice to have a simple recipy to try that doesn’t have too many exotic bits to buy!!

  11. I parboiled the potatoes and mashed up steamed greens, organic and local (Devon in this instance). They worked a treat in the pan with the frying chillis, garlic and garam masala. Your recipe made me feel safe about adding wetness from the vegetables to the spicy oil in the pan. I have eaten sag aloo many times in an Indian restaurant but never at home. Thank you.

  12. vicky says:

    Thanks for that … mate wanted me to bring Saag Aloo as contribution for dinner and your super quick easy recipe was winner especially as I’m really tired!

  13. Christine Kemp says:

    We did this the other night for friends and I can not believe how good it turned out. We were all inpressed so doing it again for different friends tonight. So simple to follow and so easy. ENJOYED> thanks

  14. matt says:

    You might want to add tomatoes to this to make it less bland.

  15. […] Indian vegetable dish of mine. It turns out to be surprisingly easy to make. I started out with this general recipe, but I added tomatoes and some water to allow the potatoes to cook. (I should have par-boiled the […]

  16. Neil Ghaznavi says:

    I was looking for a saag aloo recipe and stumbled across you!!! Will try the saag aloo tonight…nice blog.. btw..i’ll have to come back to it and look at the other stuff u have…I’m the cook of the house so thanks for sharing!!

  17. Nishant Garg says:

    Great recipe. Simple, short, and sweet. Greetings from San Francisco! Will try this next weekend.

  18. Jade says:

    When someone says to use tomatoes to this to make it less bland, when do you add them?

  19. Venkat says:

    Thanks for the recipe Mallika. I am giving it a try today for my daughter, my wife is in school.
    Qucik question: Don’t we have to boil potatoes first?

  20. Eddie says:

    I just made this recipe … It is not good. Everyone is asking about boiling the potatoes and (shakes his head) it is just bad.

  21. godfrey says:

    im surprised that onions wern’t mentioned in the recipe but i guess you can just add your own interpretations. i shall be trying out this recipe tomorrow as it sounds very quick and simple

  22. Aj says:

    The recipe is real bad!

  23. Mallika says:

    Oh dear, a few mixed reviews here… look out for trial no 2!

  24. Tim Haveron Jones says:

    Found your recipe because I couldn’t remember how I had made this dish before (probably because I threw it together one night after the pub). Your recipe seemed pretty similar to how I had made it, and I have a tin of spinach in the store cupboard that needs to be used up… guess what I’m having for supper?


  25. irene says:

    Love a version of this sold by Waitrose but would love to cook it myself… but I’d like to add some tomatoes and coliflower… Mallika could you please explain when to add them?

  26. One question, two comments:

    Why “3 ‘medium’ potatoes” when everything else is given a precise measure (except the “salt to taste”, which is fair enough)?

    If it’s 350gms of spinach, how many grams of potatoes – before peeling)?

    Comment 1:
    If you’re going to parboil the potatoes – after cutting to size (1-1.5 inches) – I’d recommend doing so for 2 minutes maximum

    Comment 2:
    If I’ve understood the research correctly it seems it is always a good idea to include tomatoes in a spinach dish as this will help the body to make best use of the beneficial elements in the spinach.

    • Mallika says:

      Hi Andy

      Answers as follows: Because adding a little extra or less potato will not alter the taste of the dish
      Comment 1: How long you parboil the potatoes depends on the quality of potatoes. Use my fork test please
      Comment 2: You haven’t understood the research correctly. If you’re that keen on iron absorption from the spinach, squeeze a little lemon juice through the dish at the end. Tomatoes are just not right!

  27. The Marmie says:

    Amazing,Wonderful so tasty my husband raved about it thank you..

  28. Firm Button says:

    Heavily modified this recipe for more flavour and richness as it was very plain- came out lovely!

    tin of spinach
    pre boiled spuds
    1 small onion chopped finely
    6 cloves of garlic chopped finely
    2tsp cumin
    2tsp coriander
    1tsp garam masala
    1tsp salt (or to taste)
    1tbs tomato puree

    a good knob of butter too.


  29. Mairi says:

    Turned out really well, tho I overdid parboling the potatoes and so mine turned out a bit mushy. Nice flavour. I’m taking it into work tomorrow as a change to cheese sandwiches. I used chili powder and also added some cauliflower I needed used up and that worked well with it. I only cooked it for a few. Minutes as the spinach reduced really fast. Would def use recipe again. Highly nutritious.

  30. Good content like this isn’t found often, so I am pleased it’s here. Information like this is deserving of accolades. I see lots of comments.

  31. Kat says:

    this recipe should contain tomoatoes as the traditional indian recipes do…..
    before raving about this recipe make sure you’ve got it right…

  32. Nic says:

    This is a lovely and simple recipe, my husband loved it. Don’t know what teh others are complaining about??
    Scrummy, am making it again tonight!

  33. Carla says:

    Hi this looks great but am i being really stupid or what. Near the end of the recipe it says add spinach and masala then simmer, then add garam masala. In the list of ingrediants above i do not see ‘masala’ only the garam masala?? So how much ‘masala’ do i need to add? Want to cook this tonight to go with garlic chicken and rice – yummy!

  34. David says:

    Good recipe the simplicity means you get the taste of the ingredients. Fried garlic & chilli gives the main character. Eat with a good lamb curry . I love brown basmati with black cardamom

  35. Lisa says:

    I really enjoyed this, Thank you. I used fresh, lightly steamed spinach and small boiling potatoes that I didn’t peel, and added diced tomatoes toward the end.

  36. lee skeggs says:

    I loved it, easy and tasty business.

  37. marie says:

    Carla, I believe the masala refers to the spice mix already in the pan.

  38. Writerzblock says:

    Delightful style of writing. Will be back to read more!

  39. Nick Nerja says:

    I really like this recipe – I have made saag aloo before but never pureeing the spinach (which my favourite Indian restautrant does too) and I think this makes a big difference. Very impressed with the end result (although next time it should be even better because I did not have any fresh ginger and the shops were shut)

  40. MLL says:

    I love saag aloo. Just cooked this, and it did not taste good at all. Sorry!

  41. Mallika Basu says:

    Hello MLL, sorry uit came out rubbish. Maybe a try 2 might help identify the problem?

  42. Fergus says:

    No Indian or Pakistani restaurant in Dublin or Galway (I’ve been to them all) adds tomatoes to aloo saag (or saag aloo). I suggest those who don’t like this authentic recipe pour on some tomato ketchup or go to McDonalds instead.

  43. Mallika says:

    Thank you Fergus, don’t know any one worth their salt in India who would be guilty of putting tomatoes either!! I couldn’t have said it better myself!!

  44. Maria says:

    Wow Mallika you get some rude comments. Also how hilarious that random people turn up just to tell an Indian lady how to make Indian food ‘authentically’ (yes because REAL recipes never get altered at all by anyone who makes them, native to that country or not..weirdos)

    Anyway on the subject of sag aloo, it’s really refreshing to find a simple recipe that doesn’t patronise you – I’m looking forward to trying my hand at this for the first time tonight!

  45. Hello there, I discovered your site by the use of Google while searching for a related matter, your website came up, it seems to be good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  46. garth banks says:

    Try using tinned potatoes

  47. mum2three says:

    Just tried this as a quick whip for lunch for my children – I added some chicken wings which I’d marinaded in yoghurt and tikka masala sauce, boiled white rice with a hint of coconut oil and this sag aloo as a side dish. What a result, they were asking for more and asked if I had bought this from the Indian restaurant. Very proud and so quick! Obviously boil the potatoes first – this took just 10 mins put together. Delicious!

  48. how to make money online…

    Saag Aloo – Spinach with Potatoes…

  49. Dee says:

    Can’t put into words how awful this recipe is!

    My diners referred to it as sediment dredged from the River Thames!

    Needless to say, as it wasn’t even edible for the dog, it went into the bin!!

  50. john says:

    thank u xxx

  51. john says:

    tesco do a bag of frozen creamed spin try it this way ppl its stunning

  52. john says:

    did u know that this is a side dish that u are to eat cold ?????

  53. Dan says:

    I’m making this tonight and I’m really looking forward to it… probably not helping that I’m so hungry too! :p


  54. Gretchen Ivey says:

    Really liked this recipe thank you. Best Sag aloo ive made.

  55. Bobbie says:

    It didn’t turn out too great for me, especially as I didn’t know I needed to parboil the potatoes! I saved it half way through by adding stock, ginger, and a little bit of creamed coconut- turned out delicious 🙂

  56. PaulC says:

    Good recipe, Best Iv attempted..

    I added a shredded banana shallot,and coriander leaves for fresh flavor.
    I also tried parboiling and lightly browning the spuds so they would stay in one piece.


  57. sashley says:

    Did not taste good at all….. urgh.. what a waste. Managed to salvage it with extra spice, tomatoes and a LOT of salt.
    Plus oven baking.

    really bad recipe sorry :/

  58. Becky says:

    I made this to go alongside moong dhal and methi prawns. Potato in inch cubes gently fried cooked to perfection in fifteen minutes.i added a little water when I became anxious that they would stick. Also used fresh spinach. Absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe.
    I am amazed how rude some of the comments are. Such a pity that some people have to be so horrid.

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