Aloo Palak

Writing has become a little difficult as of late because of a raging battle inside my head.  Not a mental struggle, or an emotional tug, or an intellectual challenge, although those run their course all the time as well.  No, I literally have been plagued with headache after headache after headache for a week or more now.  The consistency reached full momentum a few days ago, but it had been building up—and thus simple things like typing have become quite cumbersome and mind-numbing at its worst.  Nevertheless I sit here now to share a few thoughts and exploits, in a brave attempt to conquer the pain and oust it from its reign.

And with that battle momentarily won, I move on to another battle I fought full-fledged, and also emerged the victor.  My opponent: spinach.   I admit I haven’t had the most loving relationship with the leafy green; for some reason I am very particular about overpowering or rather completely evaporating the raw spinach flavor, but I always end up unsuccessful for some ridiculous reason or another.  But not this time!  Yes, I regale in even the smallest of victories, and minutest of accomplishments.  For most people, spinach, or Palak, is a straightforward dish–to those people, I stick out my tongue.  My relationship with palak just needed some extra attention and effort, that’s all.

And now, I can happily share an incredibly straightforward recipe.  Perhaps you need it, perhaps you don’t.  If you don’t, you’re probably one of those folks at whom I just stuck my tongue out.  Don’t worry, it’s nothing personal.  We can still be friends.

Aloo Palak (Spinach with Potatoes)

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2-3 potatoes, diced into medium cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced or crushed
  • 1 tsp grated/crushed ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Cumin powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 bag frozen chopped spinach

In a small frying pan or skillet, dump in your frozen spinach and cook it on medium-low heat until it is all defrosted and slightly cooked through—you may need to add a bit of water to get it going, a few tsps, but make sure most of the water is cooked out.  Once this is done, set it aside until later.

In a larger pot, sauté your onions in a few tbsp of oil until translucent, then add the ginger, garlic, and tomatoes. On medium-low heat, slowly cook this through until the tomatoes have degenerated somewhat, then add all the spices and potatoes, making sure to fry the potatoes so they are golden and coated in masala on all sides.  This could take a few minutes, but once you have achieved that, add your spinach and some water—between ¼ to ½ cup –bring it to a slow boil then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer, letting the veggies bubble together for about 15 minutes or more.  Check on it once in a while, mixing it up and checking for taste.

Once done, you can dry roast a pinch of cumin seeds (just heat in a pan without oil until their aroma is fully released, but don’t burn!) and sprinkle them on top.

Because I have been diligent in keeping the boy away from rice for a while, I decided to let him indulge a bit, so I experimented by making some lemon garlic rice.  We’ll talk on that later. Not entirely perfect, but a good attempt, and a nice contrast to this.

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