When I was about 14, an Indian restaurant opened up around the corner from my house. Eager to try any food within an easy walking distance, I ventured down the street to get Aloo Saag, which eventually became one of my favorite vegetarian foods of all time.
Drenched in spices and tinged spicy red, I piled mountains of spinach and glassfuls of water into my stomach week after week to feed a craving that could never be satisfied. When I moved away for school, I still couldn’t let the dish go. I ordered it consistently on my small student budget whenever I had a few spare dollars to throw towards the happiness of my taste buds.
Eventually I got my own kitchen and that’s when I became dedicated to cooking homemade meals, my favorite of which was Aloo Saag.
If you couldn’t already tell, I’m in a deep love affair with this dish and it’s probably the first meal I made that gave me the confidence to improve and expand on my cooking abilities. I went from making pesto grilled cheese (still a favorite) to whipping up something I didn’t think I could do before.
Basically, Aloo Saag and I, we go way back. And because we have a long history, I have deepened and expanded my relationship with this spinach dish.
In non-poetic and less dramatic terms, I’ve tasted and cooked this dish many times and have been able to replicate to the best of my ability, the initial dish that made me fall in love with Indian food and cooking as a whole. So, I think it’s pretty good.
You don’t have to be a kitchen pro or a real life Popeye spinach nut to make and love Aloo Saag. In fact, I didn’t even like cooked spinach before trying this dish. Something about the potato, spinach, spice combo really got me though, and now this is a staple in my favorite recipe rotation.
Unfortunately, a lot of spinach does not go a long way when cooked, so make sure to stock up on enough if you plan to feed a group.
Good luck and enjoy this healthy, flavorful meal, part of my January 2017 under 400 calorie challenge.
(makes 4 servings)
- 15 oz baby spinach
- 1 red tomato
- 3 yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
- 1 inch of ginger, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced
- 2 tbsp almond milk
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tbsp salt + a pinch
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp red chili flakes
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp garam masala
- In a large pot, boil peeled and chopped potatoes in salted water until a fork can poke through.
- Drain and pat dry potatoes. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil in a large pan on medium-high heat.
- Season potatoes with salt, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of coriander, 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes, 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Cook in pan until a crunchy exterior forms.
- Mix brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes, 1 teaspoon of coriander and 1 teaspoon of turmeric together in a bowl.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a dutch oven or deep pan with a lid. Cook garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
- Add mixed seasoning to coat ginger/garlic mixture. Then add lemon juice, forming a thick paste.
- Add tomato slices and cook for about five minutes until some of the juice has been absorbed and the tomatoes have broken down.
- Turn up heat and slowly add spinach into the garlic/ginger season mixture, stirring to coat and break down leaves.
- Once all leaves have been coated and wilted down, turn down heat, cover pot and allow spinach to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Half way through, mix in almond milk for a creamy texture.
- When leaves have broken down a bit, remove lid and sprinkle a pinch of salt, allowing the spinach to cook a bit longer and liquid to be absorbed.
- Mix in potatoes with spinach and serve with basmati rice and naan (optional).
Pro Tip: If you have extra, aloo saag makes a pretty good dairy-free quesadilla. Simply fold the mixture into a tortilla and fry in an oil coated pan.