Classic Saag Aloo or Aloo Palak

Mallika Basu - Classic Saag Aloo or Aloo Palak

Posted 13th January 2011

It was a big day last week. My husband turned a year older. Except he hates birthdays. Can’t handle the attention.

Sorry. I don’t understand. If I could attract any more attention to myself, I totally would. But a blog, a book, two darling sprogs and several superfriends and family later, I am running out of ideas…

So every year I devise devious ways to totally embarrass him to shreds. Sooner or later, he will begin to love the attention, right?

Errm, work in progress. Last year, we did candle in dessert plus Happy Birthday sung in pitch darkness. In Thai. At a swanky restaurant. This year, I emailed 20 of his closest friends. Disclosed his real age as opposed to the one he’s been pretending to be. And requested them to make the man feel really special on his big day.

This was not a surprise birthday party, my sis observed. This was war!!

Suffice to say, I had a wonderful time. The expression on his face to find 20 over-sized adults spring out of a corner of his favourite pub paled in comparison to the total horror when the white chocolate fondant cake appeared.

All tried and tested ways for ultimate success. Speaking of tried and tested, QIC is in the spotlight for this interesting event, hosted by Sudeshna of Cook like a Bong (Bong is slang for Bengali). This is particularly poignant for me given that I have been missing in blog action for months. So I decided to crash the party and try one of my own recipes, which is vastly searched.

The classic Saag Aloo. British curry house favourite of two utterly bland ingredients thrown together for no particularly great reason. Cooked well, however, it is lip-smackingly yummy. A host of recent negativity was beginning to make me doubt my own recipe. So I retried it, with the addition of one extra green chilli, lemon juice and a small onion.

The result, my man happily declared, was a pleasant surprise. Soft potatoes nestled in this healthy spiced spinach clearly deserve every bit of the attention they attract.

Feeds 3-4:

  • 4 medium potatoes (400gm)
  • 400gm spinach puree
  • 1 small onion (80gm)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green finger chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Half tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Finely chop the garlic and the green chillies. Stir the green chillies into the spinach puree along with the lemon juice, and leave to sit in a bowl. I used a tin of spinach puree because it was just so easy. Go fresh and puree yourself if you fancy it.

Next, dice the potatoes into small pieces no larger than one square inch each. You don’t need to pre-boil the potatoes as they will go all mushy and not get a chance to absorb the lovely spices. Chop the onion and finely mince the garlic.

Now bring the oil to heat on high in a medium-sized pan. When it’s hot, add the chopped onion and garlic and saute for five minutes until golden. Then add the potato pieces, cumin and coriander powders and stir on the high heat for five minutes or until the potato edges start going translucent. If the spices start getting stuck to the bottom of the bottom add a tablespoon of hot water and scrape it off.

Next add hot water to the pan until it comes half way up to the potatoes. Lower the heat to a medium and cook the potatoes until they are done. This will take between 5 and 10 minutes depending upon how fresh your potatoes are, and you have to stir regularly.

When you can easily insert a fork through the potatoes without breaking them, mix in the spinach. Add salt to taste, you will need a fair bit to lift the spinach, and simmer for 5 minutes. Finally stir in the garam masala and serve hot with rotis or just tucked into some toasted pitta bread.

Note= This recipe does not and should not use tomatoes, despite various recipes on the internet including it as an ingredient. Please trust me on this one, okay?

55 responses to “Classic Saag Aloo or Aloo Palak”

  1. meeso says:

    Happy Birthday to your hubby and you’re cooking one of my favorites! I could eat spinach one way or another every single day!

  2. Kankana says:

    I am absolutely new to the ‘ Food Blog’ world and very recently created mine too , although it’s still in the process of changing the layout here and there. I love Spinach and can eat it with any thing any day. I made palak aaloo lot of times but never added lemon juice to it. Definitely going to try it next time.

  3. Rijuta says:

    Nice recipe. Will try it tomorrow. I really enjoyed reading your book. The style was very quirky and the recipes simply made my mouth water. 🙂

  4. dolly basu says:

    hi, nice to have you back.lookinf forward to great dishes.

  5. PreeOccupied says:

    Belated wishes for your better half. Perky post this one. I love the flavor of garlic in alu-saag. Havent made it in a while, the hardcore meat eater in me always makes me add cubes of lamb in with my spinach.

  6. Kritika says:

    What a lovely fool-proof recipe! I tried it on Saturday night with very satisfying results. Thank you – it’s great to have you back on here.

  7. Taryn says:

    Hi Mallika,

    Just found your blog today. My husband and I cook East Indian curries at home and your blog fills in a lot of the questions we had.


  8. I LOVE sag aloo a lot and was dismayed not to find the recipe in any of the widely available Indian/Anglo-Indian cookbooks. Finally, a friend gave me M&S Curry Book, and there was a version that I’ve adapted and enjoyed ever since.
    Will be comparing this to your recipe.
    Pille (a proud mum of two-under-twos since early Saturday morning ;))

  9. Camille says:

    Can you tell me about the palak/saag thing? Are they regional names, different preparations, personal preference? I’m just glad I’ve learned both words – that way I don’t have to miss out on ordering my favorite, saag paneer!

  10. Jim says:

    This sounds amazing… I would love to give these a try.

  11. Dragonladych says:

    Great site! I’m doing some research to see what others do. I am thinking about a similar blog (but with all sorts of ideas not just indian). I am part bengali and part swiss 🙂
    But I always tried to quicken the process of indian cooking wihtout loosing the quality. I’ll keep an eye on your blog!

  12. ritika says:

    What is with men and surprises? my man likes them only when it includes good food.

    shaag aloo kinda surprise.. he would love am sure.

  13. vry interesting and ll gve a gud taste it seems… gonna try diz…

  14. Sanchit Agarwal says:

    Really Nice Reciepe. Keep goin !!!!!

  15. Priyanka says:

    Love your simple recipes…
    Please visit my blog and grab your Stylish Blogger Award 🙂

  16. Ann says:

    I love the palak paneer in Miss Masala so will definitely give this a try. You are not alone in surprise party-shy husbands — mine has BEGGED me never to plan one!

  17. Priyanka says:

    Hi…..Please visit my blog an award is waiting for you ….. 🙂

  18. Jim says:

    I have had a similar recipe, but with tomatoes, you are right… Way better off without them. I hope people heed your advice, or they will be let down.

  19. Mona says:

    Hi Have been cooking off books for ages. i enjoy the cooking but always have to peek in the book, always! How do you remember what goes with what? Are there any rules? This would really take an immense amount of stress from my life!

    Love your site..keep up the great work.

  20. wow, it seems so easy!!
    though married for 3+ years, only of late i am beginning to take interest in some serious cooking and found so many useful food blogs and bloggers, you are an welcome addition!!!
    and since you are all about fast cooking, it suits me so much as am a working girl with a foodie husband!!!!

  21. Geri says:

    Today I was out shopping for yellow moong dal and came home and right away used Google to find a recipe. I was so happy your site appeared and I can’t stop reading your delightful recipes not for just dal but everything else you have posted. So happy you have two sweet children enjoyed reading about your husband too his birthday etc. Reminded me of myself when I received another “0”. Was not a happy camper but gave thanks for my blessings. Aging is not easy. 🙂 Back to the food. I’ll be trying your recipes for sure they are easy to read and the ingredients are easy to find. Thanks and best wishes in your family life and blogging.

  22. Slots says:

    Its a recipe on the fast lane..looks nice and am sure a knock out..its a little bit spicy I supposed but its always that way for an Indian food that is what they are and taste good as well…

  23. Moumita tiwari says:

    yummy and yes real quick. i like it. will keep following this blog.

  24. sulagna says:

    Wonderful to read you again Mallika 🙂 congratulations on the bundle of joy and wish you the very best with the two darlings 🙂

    somehow, everytime i hear palong shaag, it means , garlic and peanuts or green peas..this would be a nice twist to it 🙂

  25. Looks yum and tasty…will try it.Abhishek

    Visit for more Indian recipes

  26. […] spinach and potatoes, have I got an Indian recipe for […]

  27. Vishnu says:

    Why is this dish labelled British when it’s a typically Indian dish…..!!!!!

  28. Mallika says:

    Thanks so much guys!

    Camille – Palak is spinach whereas saag is the generic term for greens. Does this help?

    Vishnu – Everything on this blog is typically Indian. But this recipe is a “British curry” because it’s a hot favourite in Indian restaurants here. I hope that explains the title somewhat.

  29. Crystal V. says:

    Looking forward to making this. Would love to see a Saag Paneer dish. Just ordered your book from Amazon U.S. Can’t wait for it to arrive.

  30. Canada says:

    Hey Mallika,
    Count me as another of your successes. My boyfriend and I love Indian food – we are thinking of moving to India. I love to cook, and for some time now I have aspired to start cooking Indian. I also dearly love spices and have been amassing quite a collection. So last night, spurred on by your simple recipes and the fact that I actually had all the necessary spices on hand, I finally dove in and cooked Indian for the first time! …We cooked four of your dishes!! This one, Dhaniya Murgh, the one from your “Talking chicken curry” entry, and Chana Masala. I have a small blister on my right ring finger from all the maniacal stirring!But all were a resounding success, and even better today, as you well know. I guess we’ll be looking into your book! You have a fantastic collection of recipes!

  31. Vicoprofen says:

    I like this recipe and the spicing too. Have to wait until fresh palak season starts. Aloo palak looks delicious..

  32. online games says:

    If everyone has been like you the world is seen as a much far far better place to live in. Good awareness, keep up the great get the job done.

  33. Rucha Patil says:

    hey, mallika , m gaga over ur miss masala…my
    rakhi brother, tarun das, happened to buy ur
    book ,partly because ur bong..and partly coz hes a
    foodie himself.., and i flipped thru it, could not
    keep it down aftr that..been enjoying it..
    tried the chicken kathi kebabs..nd my 15 yr old
    daughter posts on mamma makes the most
    heavenly kathi kebabs…all credit to u..
    great writing..excellent book..greater recipes..
    m an indian foodie all the way…
    please enlighten me..need ur help…how do i make the pasatta…for the butter chicken…with just tomatoes
    ? i was quite eager to see ur pic..its lovely..v beautiful…;-)

  34. madhura pethe says:

    hi i have tried this at home & worked very well. i must say this was a better recipe than i used to cook before. mine used to be little more curry type, but this recipe is more aromatic , testy n goes very well with indian bread.thanks.

  35. Rachel says:

    What a great recipe! I have tried many versions of this dish and none has come close to the taste of this. Even better than my favorite local Indian restaurant. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Chris Wiser says:

    Great recipe but I have to say the adding water to cook the potatoes after adding the spices just kills the flavor of this dish.Par-boiling the potatoes separately first is the way to go,gently though!Not mushy

  37. […] An update to this recipe is posted here, if you've arrived here looking for a saag aloo […]

  38. Oh! These chicken look so good, love the spices and the color.Hope you are having a great week

  39. sarah says:

    great recipe,
    tastes great!!!! thank you very much!

  40. […] I originally found this recipe at one of my favorite cooking blogs, Quick Indian Cooking, I have messed around with some spices and ingredients to suit our tastes.  So, my version of Saag […]

  41. John O says:

    I tried this with fresh, chopped spinach. Letting the Spinach sit in lemon before cooking is a touch of genius and adds so much to the final mix of flavours.

    It will now become a standard in our house!

    John O’

  42. Ben says:

    Great recipe! Thank you!

  43. Thanks for sharing your great recipe, I am considering going vegetarian and it’s a relief to see such tasty dishes as this in store!

  44. Colima says:

    What is a green finger chili? What would be the equivalent chili available in U.S. grocery? We have jalenpenos and serrano peppers – there is a red chili here called a finger chili, but I can’t find a green chili called a finger chili!

  45. Mallika says:

    Hi Colima, I’d find a slim fiery green chilli and try it out. An ethnic grocery store near you might have it, but I’m not sure what they call it over there.

    Hope this helps somewhat? x

  46. […] Aloo (Adapted from Quick Indian Cooking) Ingredients 4 medium waxy potatoes (Yukon Gold or red) 1 – 10 oz package of frozen leafy […]

  47. Johnny says:

    Very delicious! I added some soy cream to it.

    Greeting from Germany!

  48. Joy Parkinson says:

    Hi and thank you. We loved it although I did add a tablespoon of tomato puree instead of the lemon juice. I also added a teaspoon of cumin seeds as well as the cumin powder because I just love their aroma and flavour. I will never buy sag aloo again!

  49. Sam says:

    Oh my god! For a guy who has just started cooking, this tasted absolutely blissful! Thanks a lot for the recipe! 🙂

  50. Mallika says:

    Thanks so much everyone! Delighted to see that everyone is altering to taste… why not, I say!

  51. Namrata says:

    Brilliant recipe! Loved it! 🙂
    easy and tasty!

  52. Sim says:

    Hi there,
    I would like to use fresh spinach- would you please let me know how much I should use? Not sure if the puree amount equates to the same in loose leaves…
    Thank you!

    Hi Sim, 75gm frozen spinach is roughly 125gm fresh spinach. Hope this helps! M x

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