On every North Indian restaurant menu you will find saag paneer, or spinach with paneer. As delicious as it is, eating paneer isn't the healthiest for a meal at home. I love saag and in this healthier alternative, I skip the paneer and use fingerling potatoes instead. Using fresh spinach instead of frozen makes a world of difference.
Here is a tip for keeping spinach bright green while cooking, avoid covering the pan while cooking and your spinach will remain bright green instead of becoming dark.
Unlike aloo gobi, this dish has a gravy. For gravy based dishes, I like to blend the onion to a paste. Sometimes I also blend the ginger and garlic to a paste.
Heat oil in a large saute pan over moderate heat. First temper the whole spices like cumin seeds, cloves, and cinnamon in oil. Then add asofetida, ginger, and garlic and the blended onion.
Finally add all of the ground spices, except the garam masala. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until dry.
Then add the boiled potatoes, cook for a few minutes. Add water and let simmer.
To finish, add garam masala and remove from heat. Serve hot with roti and yogurt.
2 bunches spinach, washed and stems removed
2/3 lb fingerling potatoes, washed and scrubbed
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 onion, blended
1.5 tbsp ginger, minced
1.5 tbsp garlic, minced
1 green chile
1 tomato, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red cayenne pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp garam masala
Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add salt and potatoes and boil for 10 to 15 minutes until tender when pierced but still intact. Drain and once cool enough to handle, peel skin and slice into half or quarter.
Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed saute pan over moderate heat. Once the oil is shimmery, add cumin seeds, and once start to brown, add cinnamon and cloves, cooking for 30 seconds. Add blended onion, ginger, and garlic, and let cook for 2 minutes until it starts to separate.
Add green chile and tomato, and let cook for 2 minutes until dry. Stir in turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, and red cayenne pepper, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add potatoes, stir to coat well, and cook for 2 minutes.
Add half of spinach, turn with tongs until starts to wilt. Add remaining spinach, toss with tongs, until wilted. Season with salt and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with garam masala, stir to combine well. Remove from heat.