Saag-Alu Potato & Spinach Bhaji
Aloo Palak ki sabji
It is a simple and tasty dish, best served with Indian breads like chapatti, nan or paratha. It is a dry (without gravy) curry, popular at Indian restaurants in UK. Here, it has been cooked with much less oil and not too hot. Serves 4
500 gm. spinach leaves (tinned or frozen spinach can be used)
150-200 gm. potatoes
1 large onion, peeled*
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
1-3 garlic cloves (optional), peeled
1-2 green chillies
2 tbsp. cooking oil (or mustard oil)
1 tsp. cumin seeds (or black mustard seeds or Panch Pooran)
A pinch of asafoetida powder
1 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
3/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. chilli powder (or 2 fresh green chillies)-adjust to taste
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
*Onions are optional in any dry vegetable bhaji, I usually make mine without any.
Adding a cup of chopped methi (fenugreek) leaves or 2 tbsp. of dry kasoori methi leaves with spinach, gives this dish a different, nice flavour.
Wash and chop spinach roughly.
Peel potatoes and cut into 1-2 inch pieces. New potatoes do not require peeling.
Grind onion, ginger, garlic and green chillies in a food processor. Alternatively, chop or grate finely.
Heat oil in a wok or deep frying pan.
Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder and let the cumin seeds splutter, not burn.
Add ground/chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Fry until onions are golden brown. My mum and I mostly use ginger alone, no onions or garlic is added at all.
Add turmeric, coriander powder, salt and chilli powder.
Add potatoes and fry for about 5 minutes, until aroma of spices rises.
Add spinach, mix well, cover and cook on medium-low heat, until potatoes are tender. Stir from time to time.
Stir fry on higher heat, until all water is evaporated and the vegetable looks a little shiny.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Sprinkle garam masala, sugar and stir well.
Quantities of spinach, potatoes and onions are only a rough guide. A little more or a little less of either will not matter.
No additional water is required, spinach releases enough of its own water.
Adding a little squeeze of lemon juice or a little bit of crushed lemon pickle at the end of cooking, enhances the taste and flavour of this dish.