Saag Aloo

Saag Aloo

Saag Aloo is a North Indian dish usually made using spinach and potato, though ‘saag’ is a term also used to describe other greens, such as mustard leaves. There are many ‘saag’ based dishes across India, with many types of greens featuring heavily in Odisha and Punjabi cuisine (though not exclusively). ‘Aloo’ – potatoes – also feature heavily in food not only across India, but the world and indeed, my kitchen. They complete and add a little substance to what is a pleasantly descriptive name for a delicious and nutritious dish.

Not only is saag aloo popular in Punjabi cuisine, it has worked its way most impressively into the gastronomic consciousness of the West. Indeed, there are few Indian restaurants in my neck of the woods that fail to feature this green delight. Though usually considered a side dish, the nutritional value of both spinach and potatoes also, in my opinion, makes this dish a perfectly suitable main. Served alongside rice and chapatis, saag aloo really holds its own in a region of the globe where the chicken curry reigns supreme.

Saag Aloo

There aren’t any particularly hard or fast rules when it comes to flavouring a saag aloo, though I prefer to opt for simplicity and fragrance. A little turmeric, a scattering of black onion seeds and a sprinkling of garam masala is more than enough to really make your greens leap from the confines of their plate – not to forget the chilli and garlic, of course. If you don’t feel like following my immediate suggestions, cumin and cardamom are also popular spices used in this curry and would certainly go down a treat. Enjoy!

Saag Aloo

Serves 2

Ingredients:

• 160g fresh spinach

• 300g new potatoes, 1 inch chunks

• 1 onion, finely chopped

• 3 cloves of garlic, mashed

• 1-2 chillies, finely sliced

• ½ tsp turmeric

• 1 tsp black onion seeds

• 1 tsp garam masala

• 7-8 cherry tomatoes, halved

• Water

• Oil

• Salt

Method:

1. Toast your spices in a large pan, drizzle in some oil and begin to cook the onions. Once the onions are translucent add the garlic, chillies, tomatoes and potatoes. After a few minutes add a splash of water (around 50-60ml), pop the lid on and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

Saag Aloo

2. Blanch the spinach until wilted in a pan of hot water. Transfer to a food processor and blend until almost like a paste. Once the potatoes are cooked stir in the spinach, add a little more water if necessary, season and serve with chapatis or rice.

Saag Aloo

Cost: Spinach and potatoes – the latter especially – are very reasonably priced ingredients. You get a lot of nutrition for your money with this dish and there’s no meat in sight. Indeed, the entire curry for two should set you back only £1.80.

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69 comments on “Saag Aloo

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller
    April 30, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Lovely recipe, Frugal. One of my favourite dishes.

  2. Sarah
    April 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    That would be so adaptable! I like, I like!

  3. ivan30075
    April 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    I wonder, and it has only just occurred to me, what was used in dishes such as this before potato was introduced to Indian cuisine, presumably via Europe from South America, sometime during or after the sixteenth century? The greens would not be a problem, as you mention, on any inhabited continent.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      I’m not entirely sure – a surprising amount of Indian cuisine is absorbed from outside – the chilli for instance. An interesting research topic, I’m sure.

  4. Patch
    April 30, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Ooooooo, NOM! I’ve had my tea and I’m hungry all over again now!!

  5. cookinginsens
    April 30, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I love saag aloo and yours looks fantastic. Makes me hungry again for curry.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      Thank you, Rosemary. I’m always hungry for curry.

  6. LorrieB
    April 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    This is perfect!! I’m currently one a “month of eating Vegan” challenge and am always looking for something good!!

  7. narf77
    April 30, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    One of my vegan staples and something that saved my vegan bacon (HA!) more times than I would like to admit in the early days. Cheers for the memories Mr Frugal and hopefully more of your readers are going to try it and love it like we do :)

  8. mandaray
    April 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Oh wow, this looks great! I adore Indian food and always welcome learning more about it. Thank you for sharing. :) Since I am not a great fan of spinach, would something like turnip greens or kale be an appropriate substitute?

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      No problem – glad I could help! Yes, go with whatever you like!

  9. Chica Andaluza
    April 30, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    A popular dish in this house – yours looks beautiful. Where’s your “Like” button gone?

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks! I got rid of it, though I may re-instate it!

  10. Jilly
    April 30, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    yum!

  11. Dottie
    April 30, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    This looks great and simple. I think I shall be adding it into our rotation next week and see how it goes with the kids.

  12. Bunny Eats Design
    May 1, 2013 at 12:01 am

    We are growing spinach at the moment and this dish sounds like a lovely way to show off our bounty. If no food processor is available, is it ok to chop finely? Or would a stick blender be preferable?

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Great – it is! Yes, chop finely – that’s fine!

  13. ocelot81
    May 1, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Lovely dish, specially since we are trying to eat less meat :)

  14. abiainscough
    May 1, 2013 at 8:17 am

    This sounds so simple but so yummy! I’ve wanted to try aloo for ages so I’ll definitely be giving this a go. Thanks for posting it!!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      No problem – so glad you like it. Give it a whirl!

  15. Georgina
    May 1, 2013 at 9:35 am

    That looks absolutely lovely, and very tasty. Great recipe.

  16. mabi
    May 1, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I cooked this for a friend watching his blood sugar, and used taro and sweet potato instead. So good! Thanks for this recipe.

  17. shewolfinthekitchen
    May 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    nice! will try it for sure!

  18. chef mimi
    May 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    One of my favorites! Lovely!

  19. klmv
    May 1, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Looks and sounds delicious! I love the combination of potatoes and spinach (anything and spinach, really ) and I make a mean aloo gobi, so this seems a must try. :)

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 10:58 pm

      I plan to do an aloo gobi recipe! It’s great. Spinach really is a super food.

  20. Tollyzkitchen
    May 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Love this,easy to cook,its more like one of the traditional foods we have here in Africa,the only difference is we mash it all together.will try this.

  21. spree
    May 1, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    So very much my kind of food Nick…my flavors, my ingredients…and wait…is that my cutting board you’re using?! :) anyhoo…Delish!

  22. Veronica Sheppard
    May 1, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Whenever I order Indian food I always get saag but I’ve never had potato in it before, looks great!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

      saag is lovely too – I’ll have to do a recipe.

  23. jessepiersol
    May 2, 2013 at 12:26 am

    Made this for dinner this evening and it was delicious! I used coconut oil, which gave it a bit of a summery tone. Lovely.

  24. Carolyn Chan
    May 2, 2013 at 6:17 am

    I love Northern Indian dishes, especially the vegetarian ones – I’ve never seen one so vibrantly green – yours looks amazing !

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      absolutely – thanks. I know, they’re usually much darker.

  25. Sophia
    May 2, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I absolutely love a good curry dish, especially where potatoes are involved (my other favourite potato curry is a dish made with potatoes and peas and mustard seeds). As much as I like all the meaty dishes, one of the things that makes Indian cooking stand out to me is the skill with which vegetables are prepared, and the sheer variety of vegetable based dishes so Sag Aloo is right up my alley!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      I adore potatoes – so wonderful. I’m glad you like it.

  26. divaofdelicious
    May 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Worth much more than £1.80 for this experience ..yes this would be an experience. Bravo!

  27. IRENA
    May 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Spinach and potato is a great combination. That recipe looks yummy! Lovely photos!

  28. Somer
    May 2, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Went to an Indian Restaurant over the weekend and several people in my party ordered different versions of Saag, I have to say, yours is prettier than any I saw! Got to try this one!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Thank you very much, Somer – they are usually much darker. I like mine green 😀

  29. jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur
    May 3, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    This looks like a wonderful and simple to put together dish. I’ve always loved Indian food, but I’ve been eating much more of it recently. Baingan Bharta is my absolute favorite, but I always love a spinach dish. I’ll have to try this one soon!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 4, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Thank you! I’ve never had that – I shall look it up and maybe get back with a recipe 😀

  30. Sho'Nuff
    May 6, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I don’t suppose you get tired of hearing people say, “great idea, I’m gonna try this” ?? Because I’m going to say it: great idea, I’m going to try this.

    What I like about this recipe is the speed at which it can be prepared. I’ve got two kids, a job, a mess of a garden… my Indian cuisine cookbooks have beautiful recipes, but I just don’t have that amount of prep-time available. More like this one, please!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 17, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      Of course I don’t – it’s great that people make my recipes! It is VERY quick indeed!

  31. Anita Flowers - House of Angels
    May 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I love this recipe … Thank you!

  32. musingmar
    May 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Sounds so tasty, healthy and comforting. Sounds like I should make this for dinner soon!

  33. MamaD1xx4xy
    May 6, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Does indeed look yummy. Will definitely try soon, especially when my tomatoes in the garden are ready! My boys do so love all things curry and this should do the trick. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  34. plummymummy
    May 10, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Looks yummy. Never thought of adding onion seeds to mine even though I love the taste of them. Also don’t add tomatoes but that would up the 5 a day wouldn’t it. I don’t bother blanching the spinach – just chuck it in. Such a quick and easy dish to make. Really good at the moment as spinach is in season.Will have to give yours a go. Is 9am too early I wonder?

  35. Russ Floyd
    June 6, 2013 at 10:18 am

    What a fantastic way to serve spinach and potatoes in one wholesome, flavorful side dish! This looks so delicious, Kiran. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Meenakshi
    June 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Aloo saag is a wonderful dish indeed. And Indian vegetarian cooking can certainly hold it’s own against a butter chicken anyday! I like your addition of onion seeds :) I usually add mustard, never thought to add onion seeds though! Really yummy looking :)

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks! I’m loving mustard seeds at the moment – bashed into a paste.

      • Meenakshi
        July 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

        Oh stone-ground mustard seeds are pretty awesome! I used them for Anjum Anand’s coconut mustard prawns and they added a nice kick :)

        • frugalfeeding
          August 7, 2013 at 8:50 pm

          I love them – such a great way to prepare the seeds.

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