Aloo palak: potato and spinach curry in Pakistani style

A dish of aloo palak - Pakistani spinach and potato curry

Aloo palak is potato and spinach curry, and it is a well-liked vegetarian curry among Indian/ Pakistani cuisines. It’s almost always a must-have menu item at gatherings.

Aloo Palak

It’s such a versatile curry that you can cook it with gravy or dry it like a stir-fry. 

Whichever you decide, it’s surely a vegan dish that can satisfy your appetite. Serve it with roti/ chapati, naan bread, flatbread, or pitta bread. But I’d say enjoying it with rice is as good as well, if not better. 

Aloo Palak is almost always served at special occasions such as family gatherings, weddings, birthdays, Eid celebrations, etc. 

Spinach and potato curry - Pakistani aloo palak

And just like any food recipe, there are endless versions of how to make Aloo Palak.

The recipe I’m sharing with you is based on my sister in law’s recipe. But as always, I’ve tweaked the recipe. And I’m happy with it now as my family and friends approve of it too. 

What you need

To make aloo palak, you will need potatoes, spinach, spices and cooking oil. 

When it comes to spud, I think waxy potatoes such as baby potatoes, Charlotte, or Jersey Royals are best. 

Don’t use floury potatoes that you use for mashed potatoes. Because they will break and go mushy. And you don’t want that. 

As for the spinach, you can use either fresh spinach or frozen spinach. And some people like using tinned spinach too. Though I personally don’t like the canned ones as they are like pulp. 

Just like most Pakistani salan aka curry, this potato and spinach curry use basic spices such as onion, ginger, garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and coarse/ground black pepper.

But you need addition of herb for this curry. That is fenugreek leaves. 

You can either use dried fenugreek leaves or fresh ones. If you choose the latter, make sure you add them right after putting the spinach to cook. Because fenugreek leaves take along to soften. 

Last but not least, you need cooking oil.

I prefer using neutral ones like rapeseed oil or sunflower oil. But you can choose whichever oil you like. And if you prefer, you can also add a tablespoon or two of ghee towards the end of cooking. 

How to make 

There are numerous ways of making Aloo Palak, but the one I’m sharing here is the most practical way. And it has always given me good results.

First, fry your chopped onion with your preferred oil/ fat until translucent before you add crushed ginger and garlic.

frying chopped onions in a pan
onion and ginger garlic paste frying in a pan

Then you put all the spices and continue frying for about two minutes until the spices release aroma. Next, add chopped tomatoes and let them cook longer until you get a smooth masala (cooked spices).

spices and fried onions in a pan
chopped tomatoes and spices

Try to mash the tomatoes every now and again until your masala (spices) turn like a smooth sauce. And then put the spinach in, followed by potatoes and Kasuri Methi (fenugreek leaves).

If you use frozen spinach, you cook it first until it’s fully thawed and halfway cooked. Then you add in the fenugreek leaves/ Kasuri methi and the potatoes. 

masala sauce in a pan
frozen spinach in masala sauce
potatoes in masala sauce and spinach
kasuri methi on potato spinach curry

Leave it to cook until everything is fully cooked and all the juice evaporates.

And if you use fresh spinach, you add in the cubed potatoes and cook further until the spuds are half-cooked. 

It can take about 20 minutes to 30 minutes to cook Aloo Palak with a little bit of gravy. 

If you prefer it dry, just let it cook a bit longer. It takes another 10-15 minutes at medium-high heat for me to do so.

Ways to enjoy 

There are two basic ways of making this dish, dry curry and a curry with gravy/ juice. 

So you will want to serve your aloo palak with something that goes with it accordingly.

If you cook it as a dry curry, it will be best to enjoy it with roti/ chapati, naan bread, flatbread or pita bread. 

But if you cook it with a little bit of sauce/ gravy, it’s ideal for you to serve your aloo palak with rice. You can have it with either plain white Basmati rice or any rice dishes such as biryani rice, pilau rice, etc. 

But really, there is no restriction. You can eat your aloo palak however you want with whatever you like.

Menu idea for the occasional food spread

And just to give you an idea, this aloo palak is good to serve with the following menu. 

In fact, the menu below often appears in the occasional food spread such as Eid, weddings, family gatherings, etc. 

Thank you for reading the post. I hope you’re now wanting to try this aloo palak recipe. 

Let me know what you think about it in the comments below (leave in a reply box).

Last but not least, please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Take care and all the best.

Yield: 6

Aloo Palak

A metal dish of aloo palak - potato and spinach curry that cooked in Pakistani way

Aloo Palak, the potato and spinach curry is one of the classic curries among Pakistani cuisines. This vegan curry is delicious to enjoy with roti/ chapati, naan bread, pitta bread or rice.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 600 gr/ 21.16 oz spinach.
  • 300 gr/ 10.6 oz potatoes, cut in 1-inch chunks.
  • 150 gr/ 5.3 oz brown onions, chopped.
  • 1-inch ginger, minced.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 tsp paprika powder.
  • ½ tsp chilli powder.
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder.
  • 1 tsp coarse/ ground black pepper.
  • 1 tsp table salt (or according to taste).
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped.
  • ⅓ cup/ 80 ml/ 2.7 fl.oz cooking oil.
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves/ Kasoori Methi.

Instructions

  1. In a medium cooking pot, heat the oil and fry the onions at medium heat until it turns light golden.
  2. Then add in the minced ginger and garlic. Fry further for a minute or two.
  3. Put all the spices and salt in. Give it a stir and leave to cook until the spices smell fragrant.
  4. And then add the tomatoes in, stir well and let it cook with the lid on until the tomatoes are softened. Try to mash the tomatoes with the back of the spoon every now and again.
  5. When the masala/ spices mix becomes thick and the oil separates from the spices, put the spinach in the masala/ spice mix. Stir it well until all the green leaves are mixed thoroughly with the spices/ masala. Put the lid back on and leave it to cook at medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  6. Take care and keep checking the spinach to make sure it doesn’t stick at the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle the fenugreek leaves and stir the spinach well.
  7. Then add the potatoes in, mix well so that the potato pieces are covered with spinach and spices. Continue to cook with the lid on at low-medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fully cooked. 
  8. Enjoy your Aloo Palak with roti/ chapati, naan bread, or pitta bread. If you want, you can also eat it with rice.

Notes

  • If you don't have Kashmiri chilli powder, you can just use 1 tsp red chilli powder.
  • If you can get fresh fenugreek leaves, you can use about one cup of chopped fenugreek leaves. Sometimes I use fresh leaves if I can go to Asian shops. 
  • You can use any cooking oil you like. But I personally use either rapeseed oil or sunflower oil. I understand that traditionally, many Pakistanis/ Indians use ghee (clarified butter) for Aloo Palak. However, I’m not a big fan of ghee therefore I don’t really use this ingredient. If you like, you can partially use ghee for the oil. Or even use ghee for the whole portion of fat. 

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 157Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 473mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 6gSugar 3gProtein 5g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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