Dinner Tonight: Palak Aalu, Palak Paneer's Cousin

The original goal was to make saag paneer (sometimes called palak paneer), an incredible Indian dish of spinach and freshly made cheese. It's time-consuming and not exactly a Dinner Tonight, but it would have been undeniably tasty. I was politely reminded of the massive bag of potatoes sitting on my counter and decided to incorporate them somehow. At the bottom of this Wikipedia entry on "saag," there was a mention of Palak Aalu, or "fried potatoes dipped in spinach curry." Done.

Searching for a recipe led me to a site called Indian Foods Co. I'll be honest—the only reason I picked this one is because it ended with a sprinkling of nutmeg. I'm not sure if that's authentic or not, but when mixed with the other spices of mustard seed, cumin, turmeric, and coriander, I couldn't imagine anything being wrong.

And I was right. The potatoes suck up the fragrant spicing, the spinach adds a surprising amount of creaminess, and the jalapeño brings some welcome spice. All you need is some rice to make this a satisfying vegetarian dish.

Dinner Tonight: Palak Aalu, Palak Paneer's Cousin

About This Recipe



  • 1 pound new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 cubes
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 2 tablespoons Canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg


  1. 1

    Rinse the spinach in a colander and then toss it into a large pot set over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. The spinach should wilt and reduce in size. Roughly chop the spinach.

  2. 2

    Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds, and cook, stirring often, until fragrant. This should take a couple minutes. Then add the turmeric, coriander, cumin, and jalapenos. Cook for another minute.

  3. 3

    Add the cubed potatoes and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the water and a pinch of salt, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes.

  4. 4

    Toss in the chopped spinach, stir well, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes. Grate the nutmeg on top and serve with rice.


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