3 Easy Ways to Cook Spinach with an Indian Touch

The health benefits of spinach are a legion, and spinach in your salad, soup and pasta is always a winner.

In India, we like our food spicy, but when it comes to spinach, most dishes are prepared mild. That is to say, we rely more on the aroma and fresh-color quotient of a spinach-based dish rather than the “hotness.”

So if, so far, you have resisted trying Indian cooking for the reason that it is too spicy or hot for you, these delicious spinach-based dishes should change your mind!



Aromatic Stir-fried Spinach with Steamed Rice

Serves 4

4 cups spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
½  teaspoon cumin seeds
½  teaspoon mustard seeds
1 heaped teaspoon garlic, chopped fine
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped fine
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper power to tasteA bowl of steamed rice (enough for 4 people)

Heat the oil. Add the seeds first, and as soon as they start crackling, put in all the ingredients one by one, and stir well, keeping the heat to medium-high. Keep stirring until the spinach wilts and is mixed well with the spices. This should take just about 5 to 7 minutes. Mix the hot spinach with freshly steamed rice.

Note: let the spinach retain some of its crunch and its green color. Cooked too long, it loses not only its nutrients, but also its visual appeal.



Spinach with Dal

Serves 4

2 cups yellow mung dal (picked over, washed)
5 cups of water
2 inch piece ginger, grated
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped fine
1 tomato, chopped fine
1 teaspoon clarified butter (ghee) or olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed and finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the dal in water, along with salt and turmeric powder. In another large, deep pan, melt the clarified butter. Fry cumin seeds until they crackle, then add ginger, garlic, tomato. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the spinach leaves and stir well. Pour the boiled dal into this pan, and mix well, cooking for another minute or two.  Serve hot, with rice or bread.



Spinach with Paneer

Serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups spinach, washed
1 big tomato, chopped fine1 tablespoon garlic, chopped fine
1 teaspoon ginger, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
Salt to taste
1 ½ cup paneer, cut into cubes

Heat the oil. Add onions and fry them until they turn a deepish brown. Add garlic, ginger and togmatoes. Stir well and keep cooking until they hold together in a mass. Add the spinach and the spices, and toss well for a few minutes, until the spinach is integrated with the onion-tomato “masala.” Now add the paneer cubes and toss well.

This delicious, protein-rich dish is popular as “palak paneer” in India. You can make it spicier by adding a fresh green chilli to the proceedings. I generally omit the use of turmeric in this recipe so that the green of turmeric plays up beautifully against the white paneer cubes.


William C
William C6 months ago


W. C
W. C6 months ago

Thank you.

Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ

Thanks for sharing

Mary T
Mary T1 years ago

thanks for sharing the recipes...love spinach and Indian food

Jayasri Amma
Jayasri Amma3 years ago

Thank you!

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey3 years ago

Thank you Shubhra. The Spinach with Dal looks especially good.

Terry Wheeler
Terry Wheeler3 years ago

Where does one get Dahl?

feather w.
Feather W3 years ago


Laurie Mazzeo
Laurie Mazzeo3 years ago

Spinach is my favourite veg. Especially like the Italians prepare it ..superb

Julie W.
Julie W3 years ago

I've made the spinach dahl several times, and decided I prefer it as a soup. I just add stock or water - it's delicious and a good filling soup.