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