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Aloo Palak / Saag Aloo – Potato, Spinach & Coconut Curry

Aloo Palak / Saag Aloo on a blue plate with rice, coconut and a fork

This Aloo Palak recipe is something I gravitate towards when I want something simple, homely, comforting and most of all quick – it takes only 20 minutes! Best of all, it’s also an accessible budget-friendly recipe, requiring only a few basic spices and commonly available vegetables.

Aloo Palak is one of those dishes that every family across India has a different variation on. I’ve kept my recipe very simple – exactly how we usually eat at home – but with the addition of some coconut block. The mellow coconut gently embraces the dish, creating a creamy coating for the potatoes and melting into the spinach. The potatoes are soft and buttery, while fresh spinach is sautéed just enough to retain freshness and wrap around the potatoes perfectly.

I have such vivid members of cooking this dish for Nikhilesh when he visited my hometown for the first time. I made it quickly, packed it up in a container, and we hopped on a bus across the river. After a drive along the hedgerow lined twisting roads, and along the clifftops filled we wildflowers, we picnicked on the high fields overlooking the bay. The scent of the coconut waltzed with the sea breeze, conjuring up memories of Konkan …

Food doesn’t just nourish the body, it nourishes the soul.

What is Aloo Palak? Is it the same as Saag Aloo?

Aloo Palak is an authentic Indian dish made of Aloo (meaning potato) and Palak (meaning spinach). It’s a comforting homely dish that doesn’t use too many spices and yet is bursting with flavour. It’s the perfect dish for anyone to cook – from seasoned professionals to beginner cooks. I would especially recommend this dish to anyone who isn’t too confident with cooking Indian food. The short ingredients list, quick cook-time and simple method make this dish incredibly easy to make and very satisfying.

In the UK you may have seen this dish marketed as ‘Saag Aloo’. At heart the recipe I’m sharing below is very similar, but this is the authentic ‘traditional’ version as opposed to the BIR (British Indian Restaurants) style that you’ll find in UK takeaways/restaurants. In India ‘Saag’ refers to a mix of green vegetables. Rocket, mustard leaves, amaranth, spinach and many more are often used. This dish is just made with Spinach leaves.

Is Aloo Palak Vegan, Gluten Free and Nut Free?

Yes! This Aloo Palak is Vegan, Gluten Free and Nut Free. I use coconut cream instead of dairy cream or cashew cream, to give a rich creaminess to the sauce and a wonderful flavour.

If you have a Gluten Intolerance, make sure to buy Gluten Free Hing (Asafoetida) like the brand that I’ve used in my recipe. Unfortunately most asafoetida is mixed with gluten and therefore can’t be called Gluten Free. Make sure to check the ingredients list and opt for a gluten free version.

This Recipe is…

  • Vegan, vegetarian and nut free
  • Easy, even for beginners
  • Rich and creamy
  • Healthy and nutritious
  • Authentic
  • Minimally spiced, but full of flavour

If you’re interested in more Vegan recipes, then please do check out these Seekh Kebabs made from Soy Chunks, my all-time favourite Chickpea Curry – Punjabi Chole, the classic Vegetable Spring Rolls, a healthy and wholesome breakfast dish of Sabudana Khichdi, Indo-Chinese classic turned vegan – Chilli Tofu, and even How to make your own Tofu with just 2 ingredients!

Aloo Palak in a black non stick frying pan

Aloo Palak / Saag Aloo - Potato, Spinach & Coconut Curry

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

A mild and creamy Indian side dish with simple spicing that lets the beautiful flavours of potato & spinach shine.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. To begin making the curry, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter. Immediately add the green chilli and fry for a few seconds, until aromatic. Next add the onion and garlic, and gently sauté until the onion is just translucent - we don't want to caramelise it for this recipe.
  2. At this stage add the spice powders. First the hing, then turmeric and red chilli powder. Quickly stir for around 20 seconds - don't overcook or you may burn the spices. Add the chopped potatoes and mix everything in well. Once the spices have fried nicely and everything is mixed add the water to the pan and cover. Continue to cook on medium-high heat for around 10 minutes.
  3. Finally add the chopped spinach and coconut block. Cook for around 5-6 minutes more only. While cooking stir thoroughly until the spinach has nicely wilted and wrapped itself around the potatoes. The coconut block should melt into the little remaining water and create a creamy coating for the potatoes.
  4. As a finishing touch add salt to taste and gara masala. Stir through and allow to sit for a few minutes for the flavours to infuse before serving. The final dish consistency should not have a 'sauce'/'gravy', but be lovely and creamy as opposed to dry.

Notes

* If you have a gluten intolerance, make sure to use Gluten Free Hing (Asafoetida). Most Hing is mixed with flour and therefore can't be considered Gluten Free.

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How to serve Aloo Palak / Saag Aloo?

Aloo Palak is very versatile and can be served as either a main dish or a side dish. It tastes great with rice or bread – steamed rice, jeera rice, ghee rice or plain pulao will work well here. My personal favourite bread combination is the simple chapati/roti – but even paratha or naan will work. If you want a double dose of greens, you could consider serving it with my Palak Puri!

If you’d like to serve Aloo Palak as a side dish, simply combine it with an earthy Chana Masala, hearty Dal, and a nice crispy Papad (Poppadom) alongside your choice of rice or chapati.

You can even use this Aloo Palak as a stuffing for paratha or samosa. Alternatively you can get spicy with some fusion food and encase it in puff pastry to make a pot pie, or tiny canapés. Let your imagination go wild!

CategoriesLunch Main Side
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