Palak Aloo (Potatoes & Spinach) Video from Sahib’s Restaurant

by Danielle Bussone

Vik Vatrana and his former partner, Chef Guvinder Singh, of Sahib’s Indian restaurant in Johnson City, TN, generously contributed this recipe for North Indian Palak Aloo, North Indian Spinach and Potatoes.


Before cooking this recipe, be sure to read the ingredient list carefully and have everything within reach so you won’t be scrambling for ingredients in the middle of the process.  This is a very quick dish to make.  Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of ingredients.  You are using many of the same ingredients in the sauces and the main dish.  This is very easy to prepare.  You’ll be an expert in no time!

The tomato and onion sauces can be made in advance.  If you are preparing them at the start of this recipe, you’ll need to add another 40 minutes to the cooking time. Many Indian grocers sell this sauce, the onion and the tomato blended together.

This dish is served with brown or white rice.  Prepare according to rice package directions and have hot and ready when the Palak Aloo is done.
North Indian Onion Sauce and Tomato Sauce

The onion sauce, along with Singh’s tomato sauce, is a base for many of his wonderful dishes. For simplicity, these can be made the day before.  They use the same spices so it is convenient to make the at the same time.

Ingredients for the Onion Sauce:

2 large onions
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 whole black cardamom pod
2 – 3 whole green cardamom pods
1 stick cinammon
1 teasp sweet paprika
1½ teasp garam masala
1 teasp coriander powder
1 teasp turmeric
½ teasp cumin

1. Chop onions and place in a 2 quart sauce pan. Add one cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Transfer to a heat-proof food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

3. Return to sauce pan and add all remaining ingredients. Cook on simmer for 30 minutes. Remove cardamon pods and cinnamon stick before using.
Ingredients for the Tomato Sauce:

2 (14.5 oz) cans whole or chopped tomatoes, no salt added
1 (14.5 oz) can tomato puree, no salt added
1 bay leaf
1 whole black cardamom pods
2 – 3 whole green cardamom pods
1 stick cinammon
1 teasp paprika
1 tbsp garam masala
1 teasp coriander powder
1 tbsp turmeric
1 teasp cumin

1.   Puree whole or canned tomatoes in food processor.  Add to sauce pan along with canned pureed tomatoes.

2.    Add rest of the ingredients and bring to a low boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove cardamon pods and cinnamon stick before using.
Palak Aloo
Ingredients for Palak Aloo:

¼ cup Indian tomato sauce (see recipe)
¼ cup Indian onion sauce (see recipe)
1 lb steamed spinach
¼ cup water
2 cups (about 2 medium) red or yukon gold potatoes (cut into 1 inch chunks)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 teasp cumin seeds
½ cup chopped yellow onions
½ tbsp fresh sliced ginger
½ cup tomato chunks
1½ tbsp garlic/ginger paste
2 cups fresh spinach
½ teasp salt
1 teasp ground cayenne pepper
¼ teasp ground cumin
¼ teasp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 cup water
½ teasp fenugreek leaves
½ teasp garam masala
chopped cilantro for garnish

1. The pound of spinach should be prepared in advance as well. In a large sauce pan with a lid, add 1/4 cup water and about half of the spinach. Cook on medium-high for about 3 minutes until spinach has wilted and is about half it’s volume. Add the remaining spinach and do the same. Remove lid and cook spinach until most of its water has evaporated and the spinach is relatively dry, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. At the same time, cut 2 medium potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Rinse. In another saucepan with a lid add 1/2 cup water and the potatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium. Cook for 12 to 13 minutes until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork. Drain immediately and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.

3. While these are cooking, prepare ginger/garlic paste by adding a bulb of whole garlic cloves, peeled and ends removed, to a food processor. To this add an equal amount in volume of peeled, sliced ginger. Process until the ginger and garlic are finely minced. You can also do this manually by chopping the ginger and garlic to a fine mince. Then using the flat part of your knife, smear the minced garlic and ginger into your chopping board. Scrape into a mound. This is your paste. Set aside. (Any excess you’ve prepared can be frozen in a baggie for future use.)
Now we are ready to make the Palak Aloo.

1. In a hot skillet, add oil. In one minute add cumin seeds. In 30 seconds more add chopped onion. Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft.

2. Add ginger slices and tomato chunks. Stir constantly at this point to prevent pan from browning. Add ginger-garlic paste.

3. Add fresh spinach. Continue to stir as spinach likes to stick to the pan.

4. Add spices, salt cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander and turmeric.

5. Add boiled spinach, potatoes and water. Stir to combine.

6. Add the onion and tomato sauces.

7. Add the fenugreek leaves and gram masala. Cook for 30 seconds or so to allow flavors to combine.

8. Serve with white or brown rice.

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