Aloo palak: potato and spinach curry in Pakistani style

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ALOO PALAK

Aloo Palak, the potato and spinach curry, is one popular dish among Indian/ Pakistani cuisines. It’s almost always served at special occasions such as family gatherings, weddings, birthdays, Eid celebration, etc. 

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

The recipe that I’m sharing with you is based on the authentic aloo palak recipes that I learned from my Pakistani sisters in law and my Gujarati friends. But as always, I’ve tweaked the recipe, and I’m happy with it now as my family and friends approve it as well 😊. 

Spinach and potato curry - Pakistani aloo palak

What is Aloo Palak

Aloo palak literally means potato spinach. So it’s a curry dish using those vegetables.

Some people put more potatoes, some others put more spinach in it. However, the aloo palak that you get at restaurants and weddings has more spinach in it. So it’s more spinach curry with potatoes kinda feel. Which I love.

Because I’m a bit like the old Popeye. I love my spinach 😄.

Just like many traditional Pakistani/ Indian curries, aloo palak also uses ghee (clarified butter). But I find it too much. So I don’t really use ghee, if not never. Yet, my curries still taste yummy. And hopefully a bit healthier due to less fat in it. 

The Pakistani way of cooking aloo palak uses the fenugreek leaves, Kasuri methi, as one of its ingredients. This herb gives a distinguished unique fragrance to the dish. 

How to enjoy Aloo Palak

There are two basic ways of cooking this dish, dry curry and a curry with sauce.

So you would want things to eat with your aloo palak accordingly.

If you cook it as a dry curry, it will be best to enjoy with roti/ chapati, naan bread, flatbread or pitta bread. But if you cook it with a little bit of sauce in it, it’s ideal for you to enjoy your aloo palak with rice, either plain 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 😉.

The main ingredients for making Aloo Palak

Potatoes

Needless to say, this one ingredient is the most important. Otherwise, the dish won’t have the name of Aloo in it 😆. As aloo means potatoes in English.

As you may know that there are many types of spuds/ potatoes. But for this aloo palak, I suggest you go for the waxy types NOT the floury type. The reason is that the potatoes will hold their shapes when they are cooked and have a firm texture to bite. 

I personally use Charlotte, Desiree, or Jersey Royals potatoes.

Spinach

You can use fresh spinach or frozen spinach. Since the pandemic lockdown started, I have been using frozen spinach more often than not. The dish comes out as tasty.

For the photos in this recipe, I used frozen spinach. 

Onions

No-fuss about the choice of onions. You can use brown/ yellow onions or red onions. They’re both good.

Ginger and garlic

You need to pound/ crush the ginger and garlic into a paste. Or, you can chop them as finely as you can. 

Tomatoes

You will only need one medium size of tomato for this recipe. If you can’t get a fresh tomato, you can use ⅓ of canned tomatoes. 

Spices

There are five basic spices that I use in almost every curry dish I make. They are ground turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, and ground/ coarse black pepper.

For chilli powder, I prefer Kashmiri chilli because it has a vibrant red colour with a mild heat. Whilst the regular chilli powder is not as red and is hotter in taste. 

And when I don’t have Kashmiri chilli powder, I use a mix of regular chilli powder with paprika powder as the substitute

Herbs

Coriander leaves are used for garnish in most of the Pakistani curry dishes. But for this aloo palak, you will need another herb which is Fenugreek leaves or Kasuri Methi to put as an ingredient in the curry. 

Oil

Feel free to use any cooking oil you prefer and love. I personally use either rapeseed oil or sunflower oil.

Pakistani aloo palak - potato and spinach curry

How to make Aloo Palak

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 until translucent before you add in crushed ginger and garlic.

Then you put all the spices and chopped tomatoes and let them cook further until you get a smooth masala (cooked spices) before you add in your spinach and potatoes.

If you use frozen spinach, you cook the spinach first until it’s fully thawed and half-way cooked. Then you add in the fenugreek leaves/ Kasuri methi and the potatoes. Cook until everything is fully cooked. If you prefer the dry curry, you cook it until all the sauce evaporates.

If you use fresh spinach, you add in the cubed potatoes and cook further until the spuds are half-cooked. Lastly, put your spinach and fenugreek leaves in, and cook until the leaves wilted and all the sauce evaporated (for dry curry). 

The recipe

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

Aloo Palak

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

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.

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

  • Here in the UK, there are 2 types of spinach that I usually use for this recipe. One is Asian spinach that has big leaves. I normally buy them at Asian shops. Another one is frozen spinach that I buy from ordinary supermarkets. For this recipe, I used the frozen chopped spinach. You can use fresh spinach at the same weight measure.
  • If you don't have Kashmiri chilli powder, you can replace it with 1 tsp paprika powder + ½ tsp regular chilli powder. But if you prefer your curry to be hotter, you can use 1 tsp paprika powder + 1 tsp chilli powder. You can also use 1 tsp chilli powder when you don’t have paprika 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 get the chance to 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 so 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 oil. 

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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Related posts

Thank you for reading up to this point. I hope you’re now wanting to try the recipe. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below. I’m sure others would love to know too.

Feel free to share the recipe and pin it in your Pinterest. And before you leave, don’t forget to check my other recipes that you may love.

Happy cooking.

All the best.

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