A veggie-filled mild and delicious curry perfect for kids! Indian spinach curry packs in the spinach but doesn’t taste like it. Add in chickpeas or chicken for protein and serve with brown rice for a wholesome family meal that is anything but boring.
Indian spinach curry is definitely one of my favorite meals of all time. It’s wonderfully rich and creamy but very mild as far as curries go. I’ve even lived in India and I still think this is up there among the tastiest of all Indian dishes. My version may not be perfectly authentic, but it’s tasty.
Time and again when we share Indian food with family and friends their favorite is usually “the spinach one.” You may have heard of it as palak paneer (when served with Indian cheese) or spinach saag – but whatever the name, it’s delicious!
If your family likes spicy, you can always up the spice! But I’ll include the bare minimum and you can go from there.
Why we love this Indian spinach
This dish is mostly spinach! Perfect for getting in iron, magnesium, and folate. A helping of this will also give you lots of vitamins K, A, E, B6, B2, and C. But you already know spinach is amazing, right?
We also love that this dish uses spinach in a different way – cooked and blended. Sometimes all kiddos need is a new way of eating a vegetable to like it. They may not even realize the “green stuff” is pretty much all spinach because it won’t taste like it. Give it a go!
And while we’re talking spinach – know you can use whatever type you like. I usually use a big standard sized bunch of large leaf spinach for this recipe, but you’re also welcome to use a bag of baby spinach. I’ve used both – the advantage of large leaf is that it’s cheaper and more like what I saw used by our cook in India, but the fibrous large leaves make the curry a little less smooth. So, if you want to make sure to have a smooth curry, opt for baby spinach.
We’ve also added a few sources of vegetarian protein, including Greek yogurt and chickpeas. Serving this with brown rice or whole wheat naan makes it a really well-rounded meal. Add in a homemade mango lassi and you’re fitting in all the food groups!
How to make Indian spinach curry for kids
If using large leaf spinach, chop about an inch off the end of the spinach bunch to remove excess stems. Don’t worry about getting all the stems, but removing some helps. Fill a large bowl with cold water and dump your spinach in. Rinse the leaves around with your hand to help remove dirt. Leave in the water until you’re ready to use.
Now more prep: chop onion and tomato, mince garlic, and peel and grate ginger. I used red onion here, but I’ve used white and yellow before and they all seem to work.
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Pour in oil and then dump in onion, tomato, garlic, and ginger. Saute these aromatics for about 5 minutes, until going translucent. Now add your spices. I used garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cayenne pepper. If your family can’t handle any heat, omit the cayenne pepper. Otherwise, use up to a 1/2 teaspoon for a fairly good spice (for me at least).
Spice substitution: If you don’t have coriander (probably the least common of the lot), simply replace the coriander and turmeric with 2 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder. Curry powder is typically made of mostly coriander and turmeric with a few other spices, so it will substitute nicely.
Once spices are added, saute for another 2-3 minutes. Now add in a half cup of water and remove your spinach from the water and add it to the pot. Stir everything around a bit and cover. Open and stir every minute or so until all the spinach has wilted.
Remove the pot from the stove and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Add the spinach mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. You will probably need to add more water to help the mixture to help it blend. I add about another 1/3-1/2 cup at this stage, for reference.
Pour the spinach mixture back into the pot and put back on the heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Rinse and drain chickpeas and add to the spinach (or add cooked chicken, if preferred). Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Now add Greek yogurt and mix until well combined.
Serve with a splash of cream on top for extra richness, if desired. Ladle over rice and eat with naan.