Easy Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potato Curry)
This saag aloo or spinach and potato curry is a classic vegetarian vegan dish. This is a simplified version of this delicious Indian dish and saucier than it’s usually made. Saag aloo is made with tender baby spinach and creamy potatoes cooked with a mixture of Indian spices - the perfect side dish or main dish. I love to serve mine with warm rice and naan. Its a dish that is always on the menu at almost all Indian restaurants and I always order as a side but why not make it at home with this delicious simple version. It’s one of my favourite Indian recipes that I always seem to have on rotation. Traditionally it’s a drier curry but I prefer it a little saucier - feel free to make it either way with directions for both included.
What is saag aloo?
Saag aloo is a dish of Indian origin, consisting of greens (saag- a variety of greens, like collard greens, mustard greens or methi leaves) and potatoes (aloo) cooked in a mixture of fragrant aromatic spices. It’s often also called palak aloo (palak meaning spinach). I like to use baby spinach but you could also use frozen spinach. It makes a simple and inexpensive midweek meal, served with rice or warm naan. As I mentioned above this is a saucier version - traditionally it’s a drier curry like aloo gobi but I prefer it a little saucier so this is my personal preference when it comes to saag aloo but if you like your saag aloo drier see recipe notes below for some very simple modifications.
What ingredients do I need for this saag aloo recipe?
You can get the exact quantities and full instructions for making this recipe on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Potatoes - I like to use new or baby potatoes and I leave them unpeeled. I always have these stocked and that is why I used these in this recipe but you can use any potato variety you like. If you are using larger potatoes you will want to peel them and chop them into ½-¾ inch cubes or chunks
- Onion - I like to use red onion but yellow or white will work or even shallots.
- Spinach - I prefer baby spinach because it’s sweeter but any spinach or any greens you like will work like kale, chard or collard greens.
- Tomatoes - I use canned finely chopped tomatoes or fresh tomatoes grated. I use more than a traditional recipe would call for be sure I like my saag aloo more saucier that fry but feel free to use less tomatoes for a drier curry or even substitute the tomatoes for paste and some water - details in recipe notes below.
- Spices- I would say the first three are a must and the last two are optional:
- cumin seeds (or you could use ground cumin)
- curry powder
- garam masala.
- yellow mustard seeds
- ground coriander
- Garlic and ginger - definitely a must for maximum flavour
- Chilis - I like to use fresh chilis - either red chili or green chili but you could also use chili powder like Kashmiri or chili flakes in a pinch
How to make saag aloo
- First prep your potatoes. Cook them in boiling water until tender or you can even steam them. Drain and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- Pan fry the onions and potatoes until onions are softened and potatoes start to get golden around the edges. Place them in a bowl and set aside.
- Toast the spices in remaining oil in pan adding the ginger chilis and garlic
- Add tomatoes and simmer until reduced
- Add the spinach and cook until wilted
- Then add in the potato and onions back into pan along with the garam masala. Cook a few more minutes until all the flavours come together them serve hot with fresh chopped cilantro
Tips for making great saag aloo
- Cooking the potatoes prior ensures that they are tender and delicious and cooked evenly.
- Pan frying the potatoes after they are cooked firms them up. They get a little skin on the outside to help them stay together and adds extra flavour.
- Feel free to use leftover potatoes for the recipe that have previously been cooked.
- Check recipe notes for a drier less saucier version for their recipe
Can I freeze saag aloo?
Yes, you can freeze this dish. Just pack it in meal-sized portions into ziploc bags and freeze for up to 6 months. Allow it to defrost and then tip it into a saucepan and heat gently until piping hot.
Can I make it in advance?
You can make this spinach and potato curry up to 3 days ahead of time and store it covered in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.
If you like this recipe you will love these:
- 1-1½ lb baby potatoes, sliced in half
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or any vegetable oil, divided
- 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
- 2 heaping teaspoons of medium curry powder
- 1¼ inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated or ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1-2 green or red chilis, roughly chopped or ¼ tsp chili flakes
- 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- One 14 oz can of finely chopped tomatoes, or two large tomatoes grated*
- 4 cups chopped spinach or kale, or chard or any greens you like
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Salt and pepper to taste
- freshly cooked basmati rice
- Warm naan
- Yogurt or raita
- Chopped cilantro
- Prep the potatoes - Cut the potatoes in half. Cover with water and boil in salted water Cook until the potatoes are just tender, approx 8-10 min. Drain and let cool while you prep the rest of your ingredients. You could also steam them too.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, skillet or frying pan and pan fry the onions and potatoes for 5-7 minutes over medium to medium high heat, until lightly golden. Place into a bowl and set aside
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, reduce the heat slightly and add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds if using and toast a few seconds then add the curry powder, coriander if using, ginger and chilli. Stir for a few seconds
- Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes. Cook for 10–15 minutes until the sauce has reduced.
- Add the chopped spinach and allow to wilt, then return the cooked potatoes and onions to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the garam masala and cook for 5–10 minutes more.
- Serve hot with basmati rice, warm naan and yoghurt or raita. Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge.
- For a More traditional drier saag aloo - reduce the amount of tomatoes by half or skip the tomatoes and use 2 tablespoons of tomato paste instead with ½ cup of water adding more as needed to cook the spinach and potatoes.
- Can I freeze saag aloo? Yes, you can freeze this dish. Just pack it in meal-sized portions into ziploc bags and freeze for up to 6 months. Allow it to defrost and then tip it into a saucepan and heat gently until piping hot.
- Can I make it in advance? You can make this spinach and potato curry up to 3 days ahead of time and store it covered in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.