Aloo Palak (Pakistani Spinach & Potato Curry) is one of the most popular spinach recipes in both Pakistani and Indian Cuisine. Add to that the fact that it's very quick and easy to make and you have a winner on your hands!
This delicious recipe reminds me of home and my mother's cooking; it's comfort food at it's best. Of all the Palak recipes, such as Palak Paneer or Palak Gosht (spinach and meat curry) this dry curry is my favorite.
There are many variations of this spinach curry. The dhaba style aloo palak is the rich street food version. The aloo palak gravy, made with creamed spinach is the exact opposite of the dry version of aloo palak. I personally like and stick to this simple homemade version of aloo palak, also popularly(and erroneously) termed saag aloo.
I use simple spices in this recipe, relying heavily on fresh ingredients instead to add necessary flavor to this Aloo Palak Recipe. Both potatoes and spinach tend to be bland vegetables on their own, so all the extra add ins help boost the flavor of this delicious curry.
- Frozen Chopped Spinach - I use frozen, chopped spinach for my curry as it's the easiest, cheapest and according to bonappetit.com often more nutritious than the fresh variety.
- Potatoes - Cubed potatoes, using red potatoes, are my go to for this recipe. I like to use red potatoes as they hold their shape best. This allows me to stir and saute the curry as I cook without worrying about ending up with mashed potatoes.
- Frozen Fenugreek Leaves - Frozen fenugreek leaves, also known as kasuri methi, pair beautifully with spinach cooked in any form. These can be sourced from your nearest South Asian Store.
- Chopped Onion - I always use yellow onions in my curries, these being the most neutral variety, both in terms of flavor and and texture.
- Garlic paste - I like to make my own from scratch but store bought works just as well.
- Chopped Tomatoes - Roma tomatoes are well known for being plump and juicy, making them the perfect pick for curries.
- Plain Yogurt - I always like to use full fat plain yogurt in my curries for a rich and creamy texture.
- Cumin Seeds - Fresh roasted cumin seeds always add a delicious earthy aroma to vegetables and I love using them in this recipe and others.
- Turmeric Powder - A small pinch goes a long way with this staple spice which finds its way into almost every Pakistani curry.
- Red Chili Powder - A definite add in, this adds the necessary punch to an otherwise bland vegetable mix.
- Salt - I use regular iodized salt for most of my cooking, but any type is okay.
The Step By Step Instructions
As with all Pakistani recipes, start by sauteing the chopped onions on medium high heat. Unlike meat curries, when cooking vegetables, the onions don't need to be a dark brown. Once the onions are a light golden brown, add in the garlic and saute for a minute before adding in the cumin seeds.
Once you've sauteed this base add in the chopped tomatoes and cook on high for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes start to release water. At this time, cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes to break down the tomatoes completely. Then, turn the flame back up to high, uncover and add in all the powdered spices.
Saute the mixture till it's well blended and then start adding the yogurt, a few tablespoons at a time. Adding in all of the yogurt at the same time causes it to curdle so it must be added in gradually.
Once all of the yogurt is incorporated, add in the fenugreek leaves. I just add them in frozen and they melt in seconds since the curry is so hot.
Next, add in the chopped, frozen spinach leaves. These, too will defrost and wilt in a matter of minutes. Once the leafy greens have softened, turn the stove to low heat. Cover your cooking utensil and let the mixture cook for 10-15 minutes so the spinach can absorb all the flavor from the curry.
Once the spinach gravy looks cooked add in the potatoes. Let them simmer in the gravy till they are cooked through. If needed you can add cup of water but it may not be necessary. Since the potatoes are chopped so tiny they cook very quickly.
My favorite way to eat this Aloo Palak Sabzi is with Naan bread or Tandoori Roti. Since it's a dry curry it typically pairs better with bread versus plain rice.
Hint: If you have leftover Aloo Palak from dinner, an Aloo Palak Paratha for breakfast or brunch is a great way to use it up!
Some alternatives to the list above
- Spinach - instead of frozen spinach, you can use baby spinach or fresh spinach. Baby spinach is the quicker and easier substitute, but it's more expensive.
- Potatoes - You can use use other waxy potatoes as an alternative. Golden potatoes make a good substitute incase you can't find red ones.
- Fenugreek - If you can't make it to the store just buy and use dried fenugreek leaves instead. Make sure to use the leaves and not the fenugreek seeds though. These can be easily sourced through amazon .
Quicker & Easier Recipe Variation
Here's a quicker and easier version of an already easy recipe for when that craving hits or guests show up unexpectedly!
- Baby Potatoes - Get a bag of baby potatoes (red or gold) that you can steam in a bag and prep them per instructions.
- Palak Puree - Steam your spinach (whichever type you're using) and then run it through a food processor to make a spinach paste (it will absorb more flavor quicker this way).
- The Curry - Prepare the curry base above as directed. In the time that your onions, tomatoes and other ingredients are cooking down you can work on steaming and prepping the potatoes and spinach. Mix everything together at the end, cover with foil and steam for 5 minutes to let the flavors blend in.
The Aloo Palak Sabzi can stay in your fridge for 2-3 days. I don't recommend freezing it as potatoes don't usually retain their texture well when frozen.
Tips On The Best Spinach to Use
Spinach is the star of this recipe! The question is which one should you use? Here's how I decided which spinach I would use in my curry!
- Baby Spinach - Baby Spinach is great for salads and sandwiches due to it's crisp, mild almost sweet taste. But in the case of curries it doesn't hold up too well. Due to it's delicate texture, it tends to get a little slimy when cooked. This added to the fact that it's more expensive made it a non-option for me.
- Regular Fresh Spinach - Regular spinach is a cheaper option and it's earthier and bolder taste is more suited to curries and cooked dishes. However, I would need a pound of fresh spinach for this recipe. The amount of time it would take to prep and clean that much spinach is tedious. Plus, the quality would have to be super fresh and well sourced. This led me to the last and final option.
- Frozen Spinach - Frozen spinach is affordable, it has the perfect taste for curries and is already prepped for use! In addition to this, vegetables picked to be frozen are usually harvested at peak ripeness. This makes them nutritionally dense! All wins in my book!
Saag usually refers to a mixture of mustard greens and spinach whereas palak is strictly spinach.
Some other popular Pakistani recipes with Palak (spinach) are Palak Gosht, Daal Palak and Palak Keema.
Palak is high in Iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. In addition to this it has a very low glycemic index and lots of vitamins. This makes it a great option as part of a healthy and weight loss diet.
People on blood thinners need to be careful when eating any type of leafy greens due to the vitamin k in them. Similarly, spinach is rich in oxalate, which can be harmful for people with kidney stones.
Aloo Palak (Pakistani Spinach & Potato Curry)
- 4 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 onion (SEE NOTES)
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tomatoes (SEE NOTES)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ cup yogurt (SEE NOTES)
- ½ cup frozen fenugreek leaves (SEE NOTES)
- 12 oz frozen spinach (SEE NOTES)
- 2 potatoes (SEE NOTES)
- Heat the oil and saute the onion till it's a light golden brown.
- Add the garlic paste and saute for 30-60 seconds.
- Add in the cumin seeds and saute for about 1 minute.
- Add in the tomatoes and cook on high till the tomatoes start to melt.
- Reduce the flame, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Uncover, turn the flame on high, add in all the powdered spices and saute the mixture till you have a well blended paste.
- Add in the yogurt a few tablespoons at a time and saute to complete the curry base.
- Add in the frozen fenugreek leaves and let them soften with the heat.
- Add in the frozen spinach, stir to mix in and coat with the gravy.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes till the spinach is cooked through.
- Uncover, add in the potatoes along with some water if necessary and cook till tender.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, uncover, turn the heat to high and let all the water evaporate.
- Serve hot with fresh Naan.