Saag aloo is a warm, comforting spinach and potato curry that’s a favorite at Indian restaurants, and it’s even better homemade! This easy recipe for authentic Saag Aloo, comes from celebrated Indian chef Madhur Jaffrey. Spinach and Potatoes are simmered with onions, garlic and mild curry spices until the spinach tenderizes into a delicious sauce for the potatoes.
I look forward to saag aloo whenever I go out for an Indian meal. It’s always listed as a side dish, but it’s definitely a main attraction for me. Cubes of potatoes enveloped in beautifully spiced tender spinach, with mild fragrant curry flavors.
Saag aloo can stand on its own as a satisfying vegan main dish for lunch or a light supper, but it’s more often served on the side with curries or grilled meat and chicken. I especially love serving it with chicken tikka masala, chicken ruby and lamb biryani. It’s a treat to have such an easy recipe for one of my favorite Indian side dishes.
Saag is a leaf-based dish that’s popular in India and Pakistan. It’s generally made with mustard greens or spinach or a combination of the two, but other leafy greens can be substituted. “Aloo” is Indian English for “potatoes.” The greens cooked together with the potatoes make saag aloo.
When I first came across the saag aloo recipe in my cookbook Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, I learned that in India it’s very common to combine potatoes into a dish with almost every grain, meat and vegetable. But Jaffrey says saag aloo is one of her favorite potato dishes. I can see why – I love it too.
Ingredients for saag aloo
Chef Jaffrey uses frozen spinach for her saag aloo, and she keeps the other ingredients and spices to a minimum.
- Frozen Spinach
- Russet Potatoes
- Yellow onion
- Mustard seeds (black or yellow)
- Oil, salt and pepper
HOW TO MAKE SAAG ALOO
- Defrost the spinach in boiling water. Then drain it, squeeze it dry, chop it, and set it aside.
- Slice and dice the onions, garlic and potatoes.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven, with a cover. Add the mustard seeds and cook them until they pop, about 30 seconds.
- Next add the onions and garlic to the pot and sauté them for a minute or two, until fragrant.
- Add the potatoes and the cayenne, and mix everything together.
- Next add the chopped spinach to the pot, along with a little water. Cover the pot and let it simmer over very low heat.
- In 40 minutes, you’ll have delicious saag aloo, ready to enjoy!
Here are a few delicious main dishes that go beautifully with saag aloo on the side:
- Indian Lamb Biryani
- Beef Rendang Brisket
- Sri Lankan Vegetable Curry
- Coconut Chicken with East African Flavors
- Chicken Ruby (From London’s Dishoom Restaurant)
Here’s the Saag Aloo Recipe. If you make this, I hope you’ll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think!Print
Saag Aloo: Indian Spinach and Potatoes
A delicious Indian spinach and potato curry with mild fragrant spices.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 55 mins
- Yield: 6-8 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: simmer
- Cuisine: Indian
- 30–32 ounces of frozen whole leaf spinach (3 10-oz boxes or 2 16-oz bags) note: you can use chopped spinach, but I have a slight preference for the quality of whole leaf spinach.
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (or substitute yellow mustard seeds – see notes)
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
- 1 ¼ teaspoons of salt plus more, to taste
- 1 ½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch to 1-inch cubes
- A pinch of cayenne pepper (use an extra pinch or two if you like a lot of heat)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Drop the frozen spinach into boiling water and heat, stirring, for a minute or two, just until spinach is defrosted and tender. Drain and rinse it under cold water immediately. Squeeze the spinach to wring out most of the water, chop it coarsely, and set it aside.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven with a lid. Add the mustard seeds and leave them to heat for 30 seconds or so. As soon as they start to pop, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, until the onions are slightly softened. Add potatoes and cayenne, and stir them through.
- Add the spinach, salt and ¼ cup of water. Turn heat up to get the water sizzling. Cover pot and lower to a very gentle simmer. Simmer gently for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Give everything a stir every 15 minutes or so, adding a bit more water if the pan looks dry.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot.
A note about mustard seeds: Jaffrey’s recipe calls for black mustard seeds. Sometimes it’s hard to find black mustard seeds, so I decided to test the recipe two ways – once with black and once with yellow mustard seeds. The black seeds are a bit more intense in flavor but both versions were absolutely delicious.
Keywords: spinach, potatoes, side dish
Originally published February 18, 2017. Updated September 14, 2021 with a few new photos, clarifying details and step-by-step instructions added to the written post and to the recipe. The same delicious recipe!