30-Minute Aloo Palak (Spinach and Potato Curry)
Here’s a quick and easy Spinach & Potato (Aloo Palak) curry that’ll get your family to devour a pound of spinach! This is a fan-favorite recipe that can be made in 30 minutes if you boil the potatoes separately. Naturally gluten-free, vegetarian (or vegan, if you omit the ghee/butter)!
“Oh. My. Word.Janis
Every bit as good as my local, and highly regarded, takeaway who also do commercial catering. I can’t believe I have made something so delicious, so easily.. I will definitely be back for more of your recipes.
Aloo Palak, or Spinach and Potato Curry, is one of the most popular vegetarian curries in Pakistani & Indian cuisine. It’s typically dry, or stir-fried, so that there isn’t any ‘curry‘ or ‘gravy‘ per se. (Another delicious dry curry to try is my favorite Baingan Bharta recipe).
I’ve tried cooking Aloo Palak in countless ways…With less onion, more onion, yes tomatoes, no tomatoes, tomato paste instead of tomatoes, butter at the end, without chopping the spinach (bad idea), adding potatoes before the spinach, less oil, more oil, covered, uncovered…andddd you’re asleep. 🥱
The method I’m sharing is the culmination of all my Aloo Palak experiments.
This recipe is:
- Delicious, like “I-can’t-stop-eating-spinach”-level delicious.
- Great for getting in a concentrated amount of spinach.
- Tested, perfected, and adored by hundreds, if not thousands!
Aloo Palak Ingredients
Rest assured, there are no extra, unnecessary, or hard-to-find ingredients:
- Type of spinach: Different types of spinach will require different cook times. Baby spinach cooks faster while bunch spinach takes a bit more time.
- Frozen vs. Fresh: Obviously, fresh is ideal, but frozen chopped spinach works just fine. The only difference is that you’ll have to sauté the frozen spinach for a bit longer to get rid of any extra water content. I read (and found agreeable) that because frozen spinach is more densely packed than fresh, you’ll only need 10-oz of frozen spinach for 1 lb of fresh spinach. But, I myself have tried this with 1 lb of frozen spinach and it worked very well.
- Quantity: The amount of spinach isn’t set in stone. You can decrease the amount of spinach without changing the recipe otherwise. (This is probably why the varying amounts of spinach have always worked!)
- Potatoes: Frankly, any potatoes could work since you’re boiling them on the side. If you’re going the traditional route of cooking the potatoes within the dish, then opt for Russet potatoes or red potatoes because of their quicker cooking time.
- Oil, onions, tomatoes, green chili peppers: Essentials for most South Asian dinner recipes.
- Garlic & Ginger: I crush mine in a mortar or pestle or in a food processor. You can also use garlic or ginger paste if that’s what you have on hand.
- Spices: You’ll need cumin seeds along with ground spices such as coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, and turmeric powder. Garam masala is optional.
How to make Aloo Palak
- If using fresh spinach, wash and pick the leaves. Tedious I know, but washing greens has always made me feel calm and connected to the earth.
- Finely chop the spinach leaves using a food processor.
- Tip: I use my food processor to chop the onion (pulse to chop so it doesn’t get all watery), tomato, garlic, and ginger.
- Boil the potatoes with some salt. Alternatively, you can leave the potatoes raw and cook them alongside the spinach (more traditional, less quick).
- Sauté the onion, then add the garlic, ginger, and green chili pepper. You want to get it nice and golden.
- Stir in the the chopped tomatoes, spices, and salt. Cook until the tomatoes soften and the oil starts leaving the sides.
- Add the chopped spinach and stir-fry to reduce down. Leaving the pan uncovered here ensures that the spinach retains its vibrant green color, taste, and nutrients.
- But, you want to make sure to get rid of any raw taste in the spinach. If it needs to cook further (which may be likely unless you’ve used baby spinach), lower the heat, add water, and cover to cook until it no longer has a raw taste.
- Toss in the boiled potatoes and stir to coat. Sprinkle in lime or lemon juice.
- As one reviewer said, use all your “willpower not to eat it all in one go”.
- To save time and stay true to the recipe’s 30-ish minute timeframe, boil the potatoes alongside while you start the curry. If you’d rather skip boiling the potatoes so they soak up more flavor, you can add them after cooking down the spinach. Add 1/4 cup water along with the potatoes, cover, and allow them to cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the cubed potatoes.
- If you have some dried fenugreek leaves (sukhi methi) on hand, add 1-2 tbsp along with the potatoes. This dried herb is often added to complement spinach curries such as Sarson ka Saag which is made with Mustard greens or Palak Gosht (Spinach & Meat Curry). It’s essential in curries like Mixed Vegetable Curry or Instant Pot Butter Chicken.
What to serve with Aloo Palak
Since Aloo Palak is a ‘dry’ curry, it’s typically eaten with roti, naan, or paratha. But it can also pair well with rice, a slice of bread, or just about anything you’d like. For another recipe that will have your family devour a pot of greens, try my Easy Sarson Ka Saag recipe!
More Tested & Perfected Vegetarian Curry Recipes:
- Cauliflower & Potato Curry (Aloo Gobi) – with a secret ingredient
- Easy Mixed Vegetable Curry
- Smoked Eggplant Curry (Baingan Bharta)
- Zucchini Curry (Toriyan)
- Okra (Ladyfinger) Curry (Bhindi)
Tried this recipe? If you have a minute, please consider leaving a comment telling me how it was! If you’re on Instagram, please tag me so I can see your creations. I truly love hearing from you. Thank you!
30-Minute Aloo Palak (Spinach and Potato Curry)
- 1 lb (2 bunches) organic spinach – fresh or frozen (See Note 1), thoroughly washed and stems removed
- 1 large (300 g) Russet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed or avocado
- 1 tbsp ghee (or sub butter), optional
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 green chili peppers (such as Serrano or Thai), slit in half
- 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 inch piece ginger, crushed
- 1 medium to large (~170 g) tomato, finely chopped
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4-1/3 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- ¾-1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp garam masala, optional
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
- Finely chop the spinach leaves using the pulse function of a food processor (See Note 2). You can do this in advance and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Set aside.
- Boil (See Note 3) the cubed potato with 1 tsp salt until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat oil and ghee in a large pan over medium-high heat and add the cumin seeds. Give them a few seconds to sizzle. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until slightly golden, about 5-7 minutes. Add the slit green chili pepper, garlic, and ginger and cook until the raw smell disappears, about 20 seconds. Add the chopped tomato, spice powders (except garam masala), and salt. Cook until the tomato becomes soft and the oil starts to leave the sides, about 3 minutes.
- Raise the heat to high and add the spinach. Stir-fry it until it loses its moisture, about 10 minutes. Add water as needed to prevent the spinach from sticking to the bottom. If you feel that it still isn't cooked, add 1/4 cup of water, cover, and cook on low-medium heat for an additional 5 minutes. It should no longer have any raw taste.
- When the spinach is cooked, add the boiled potatoes and stir to coat the potatoes with the spinach. Add garam masala and more salt, if needed. Turn off the heat and sprinkle lime or lemon juice.
- This is 2 bunches weighing around 500g in total before removing the stems.
- You can also use a 16-oz package of pre-washed organic baby spinach.
- Frozen spinach: Use a 10 to 16 oz packet of chopped, frozen spinach. No need to thaw, but you’ll need increase sauté time to account for the extra water.
- To boil the potatoes: Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with a couple inches of water. Stir in salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Check the potatoes for doneness in about 10 minutes. When they are tender enough so that a fork can slide easily through the center, they’re done. Drain and set aside.
- Alternatively: You can also add raw cubed potatoes after cooking down the spinach (Step 5). Add 1/4 cup water along with the potatoes, cover, and allow them to cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.