Saag aloo (sāga aura ālū – साग और आलू)

Westerners know Saag Aloo (sāga aura ālū – साग और आलू) to be the spinach and potato side dish you can buy from curry houses; one thing I don’t get though is that although aloo is the Hindi word for potato, the Hindi word for spinach is actually pālaka (पालक). If I have any Hindi-speaking readers then please fill me in 🙂

This recipe is adapted from one of my favourite books: Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking. It is partly a favourite because it was my Nan’s for years, but she has recently given it to me. Now it is a favourite because there are some really lovely sounding recipes; I expect a few more will show up around here sooner or later.

I used to make huge batches of saag aloo (साग आलू) for Harry (my little boy) when I was weaning him. It is now one of his favourites as much as it is one of mine!

Saag aloo

To serve 6-8 as a side dish.

The ingredients:

Small waxy potatoes (chōṭē mōmī ālū / छोटे मोमी आलू) – 1kg
Fresh spinach (pālaka / पालक) – 200g
Onions (pyāza / प्याज़) – 2, chopped fairly finely
Garlic (Lahasuna / लहसुन) – 2 cloves, the fatter the better
Black mustard seeds (Kālē sarasōṁ kē bīja / काले सरसों के बीज) – 1 teaspoon
Garama masālā (गरम मसाला) – 1 heaped teaspoon
Cayenne pepper (lāla mirca / लाल मिर्च)- ½ a teaspoon
Salt (namaka / नमक)– 1 ½ teaspoons
Oil or Ghī (घी) – 1 teaspoon

The recipe:

  • Peel, chop and par-boil your potatoes.
  • Heat the oil or ghī in a shallow frying pan, and add your mustard seeds
  • Once the mustard seeds begin to pop, add your crushed garlic and chopped onions.
  • Once the onions have softened, add the par-boiled potatoes and the dry spices and salt.
  • Finally, add the spinach, then cover and cook over a low heat until the spinach has wilted.
  • Give it a gentle stir (you don’t want the potatoes to break up too much).

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