Palak Saag - Indian Spinach Curry (dairy free)
Updated: May 27
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It's no secret in our home that I'm a big fan of Indian food. It is incredibly delicious and full of flavor. One of the other reasons that I love Indian food is that not only is it amazingly tasty, but it is packed full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory ingredients and other nutrients. Turmeric, for example, has well-known antioxidant and excellent anti-inflammatory effects. (1) And turmeric is just one of the tasty ingredients in this dish.
I will admit that, at first, I was too intimidated to try cooking Indian food. I had the impression that it took too long to make and was too complicated. Granted, there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the spices, but once you have them and have used them, it's a piece of cake. Many of the recipes are based on similar ingredients and spices.
The traditional Palaak Saag - the closest translation I could find would be "Spinach Curry" - is made with dairy (butter, cream, or sometimes yogurt). Since I tailor my recipes to be gluten and dairy-free, this dish has been modified to contain no dairy. Of course, if you tolerate milk products, you can add butter or cream to this recipe. I happen to think that it's very delicious on its own.
Spinach is a great source of folate in addition to containing vitamins A, C, and K. You'll also enjoy a boost of magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese, and calcium when you eat your spinach. Popeye knew what he was talking about. It's a super food!
I usually make this recipe using frozen spinach but you can certainly use fresh.
Let's get cooking!
Palak Saag Recipe
1 large onion diced
1 tbs of grated ginger
1 tbs of diced garlic
2 tomatoes diced
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of turmeric
2 pods of cardamom, 3 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 bay leave (whole garam masala)
1 tsp of fenugreek leaves or powder
1 tbs of olive oil
250 grams of frozen spinach (the ones I buy are cubed)
pinch of red chili powder (optional)
salt to taste
Turn the stove on medium and put oil in the pan and wait for it to get hot. Once you know it is hot, add the whole garam masala. Sautee the garam masala for about 30 seconds and then add the diced onions. Add a little salt to the onions to 'sweat' them a bit. Add additional oil if the onions are beginning to scorch. Sautee the onions until they are nearly brown. Add the turmeric and continue to sautee. Now add the tomatoes. Stir the onions with the tomatoes until the tomatoes are nearly dissolved. Add the coriander and cumin powder and fenugreek leaves. Add the spinach. If necessary, add a tablespoon of water to help the spinach to warm. Continue to stir the spinach until it is completely mixed in with the other ingredients. Add salt and taste to see if it is to your liking. Let simmer for another 15 minutes on low. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
I hope you enjoy this dish!