Saag aloo

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Saag aloo  is a North Indian dish made from spinach (saag) and potato (aloo) that has a uniquely delicious taste. It is perhaps one of the most popular Indian side dishes in the UK. It is ideal eaten with rice, lentil dal and another vegetable, meat or fish main course. You can also serve your saag aloo with the plain naan bread. Seasoned with black mustard seeds, grated ginger and turmeric, this dish will have your taste buds dancing all over the place. Double your portions and make a large batch of this delicious recipe as a vegetarian curry for 4 or more people. Saag aloo is basically fried potatoes dipped in spinach curry, and can be made with both spinach and mustard leaves, although spinach is more common. Saag aloo is commonly served hot, and topped with ghee (clarified butter).

Ingredients:

400 g fresh spinach leaves

2 tbsp vegetable oil

pinch of asafoetida (optional)

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp onion seeds

1 onion, peeled and finely sliced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

600 g floury potatoes, peeled peeled and diced into 2.5 cm cubes

1 tsp sea salt, or to taste

½ tsp cayenne pepper

squeeze of lemon, to taste

saag aloo

Preparation:

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the spinach and blanch for a minute. Drain in a colander and refresh under the cold running water. With the spinach still in colander, use a large spoon to squeeze out the excess liquid. Lay the leaves out on a chopping board and chop coarsely. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the asafoetida, if using, and the mustard and onion seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, add the onion, garlic and chilli. After 3 – 4 minutes, tip the diced potatoes into the pan and season with salt and cayenne pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes over a high heat, stirring frequently.

Add 4 – 5 tablespoons of water, cover and gently cook over a low heat for 20 – 30 minutes until potatoes are tender, stirring or shaking the pan every so often so that potatoes don’t stick to the base and burn. If the mixture looks too dry, add a little more water.

Uncover the pan and add the blanched spinach along with the lemon juice. Give the mixture a stir then cook for 1 – 2 minutes until the spinach is heated through. Transfer to a warm plate and serve.