Last weekend was fun! The whole gang was invited to a friend’s housewarming party on Sunday where we danced, drank and stuffed ourselves till gills. Towards the end, me and S, we were both dead and were looking at each other on which one of us would drive back home. It was him at the end of course!
Because of this, yesterday was a total relaxation day. I dragged myself out of bed and the only real task I did was to take a shower. No cleaning, no elaborative weekend cooking and no outings. We were both tucked on our individual couches all day, watching our individually favourite TV series.
For breakfast I whipped up a quick basil & potato frittata with bread and lunch was a simple khichdi (Lentil & rice savory porridge). For dinner, I wanted to make something easy and light on stomach. Because, hello hangover! So I opted for Paalak Alu w/chapatti.
Paalak alu is a simple side dish made of spinach and potatoes. This is also very close to the restaurant style Saag alu where Saag means green vegetables or paalak (spinach) in this case. It is a fairly easy and quick dish to make, usually ready in less than 30 minutes from scratch
The way I make this is with loads of onion and tomatoes to get a lot of flavours in spinach. I like to keep onions a bit crunchy and not overly caramelised or mushy.
Also, this is not one of those recipes where you puree the spinach. I just chop it roughly in small bits, wash well and add to the potatoes in the wok. Just in 10 minutes, its wilted and mixed well with the rest of the ingredients.
It is rather a healthy side dish with all the benefits from spinach and potatoes complimenting each other and making this an apt choice for the days where you want to have something light and easy, yet nutritious. Pair it with chapattis or coconut rice would do good as well. Keep some raita aside and you have great, well balanced meal ready in less than half an hour.
It is quite a mild dish, not heavy on spices. Which again makes it very light and easily digested meal. You may add more spices like coriander powder, dry mango powder (khatai) etc. into it if you like.
Cuisine: Indian dry side sidh, can also be served in mains
Serves: 2 -3
Nutritional benefits: Very good source of vitamin A, iron, potassium. Good source of carbs and fiber.
What you need?
- 250-300 gms spinach leaves (roughly 3 big bowls packed)
- 2 medium sized potatoes (I used maris piper potatoes)
- 2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped roughly
- 2 medium sized onion, chopped roughly
- A small piece of ginger, grated or minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt to taste- about 1 tsp
- 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used mustard oil)
How to make?
Peel the potatoes, dice in small equal sized cubes. Soak in warm water for about 10 minutes, keep aside.
While the potatoes are being soaked, heat oil in a wok/pan. Throw in the cumin seeds and when they start to sizzle, add bay leaf, minced ginger and garlic. Fry for about 15 seconds just till garlic starts browning, and add in chopped onion along with all the other spices. Cover the pan and cook it for 3-4 minutes.
Add in the tomatoes and cook further for 3-4 minutes, at low gas, stirring a few times in between. Then add the potatoes with a few drops of water only if required. Mix and let it cook for about 7-8 minutes till the potatoes are almost done. Stir a few times in between.
While the potatoes are getting cooked, roughly chop the spinach leaves and wash them twice to get rid of the dirt. Squeeze the water out as much as you can and keep aside.
Check the potatoes, they should be about 90% done by now. Fold in the spinach leaves into the wok and let the dish cook for about 4-6 minutes on a medium flame. Stir in between.
Finally, check the potatoes should be done. There might be some water at the bottom because of the spinach so you might want to dry that out by cooking without the lid for another minute or so. check the seasoning and adjust. Serve immediately with roti or rice and some raita aside.
You may squeeze some lemon juice on top while serving. It also helps in retaining the green colour of the spinach
Do not overcook the spinach. It not only drains out the nutrients from the greens but also fades away the shiny colour.
I wouldn’t recommend skipping garlic from this recipe since it goes very well with spinach. Also I would advise to keep ginger in since spinach is a gas producing vegetable and ginger helps to balance it out.
For more healthy side dishes ready under 30 minutes, check these out: