The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Low fat Saag Aloo recipe

saag aloo“A typical meal at home doesn’t consist of a main course and vegetables. Rather a pot of rice and a lot of side dishes,” Danny’s friend Dipak confided, a year or so ago.

I remembered the remark this week. Had I started making side dishes for curries and frozen some portions, I would now have a selection in the freezer for mid week meals. On days when I long to reach for the telephone and order a takeaway. I make a good raita but this has to be run up and eaten immediately. Why not add some other dishes to the freezer that could be prepared in advance?

Vegetable curries seem to work well. The combination of flavours textures and spiciness is satisfying. For us carnivores it distracts attention from the lack of meat.

We love Delia’s green lentil and egg curry once a fortnight with several chutneys and loads of papadums. Daily Bread and most Indian shops stock the traditional papadums (papadas/pappadums) on the pack – made by Natco) – much better and cheaper than the Sharwood ones. They can be prepared in the microwave in seconds or under the grill if a quick brown fox like Danny is in the kitchen.

Tonight I made Saag Alloo. D always orders this in Indian restaurants. The potato element appeals to an Irishman. I’d looked at a few recipes and most fried the onions and the potatoes.

As we are trying to cut down on fat I used dried onions, soaked in boiling water for five minutes (Daily Bread again). As Danny has a horror of excess cumin, I substituted Garam masla (this has cumin as an ingredient balanced with other spices).

The potatoes were simmered very slowly in the stock with spices. The dish was delicious and got the thumbs up from Danny who has savoured Saag Aloo across the globe.

Low fat Saag Aloo recipe (side dish for 4)


  • 1 inch (2.5cm) of fresh ginger peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 large garlic clove chopped fine
  • 1 heaped tsp of dried onion flakes (rehydrated in boiling water). A chopped fried onion would work equally well but we were targeting no fat this evening.
  • 2 tsp of Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp of vegetable stock powder dissolved in approx 250ml of water
  • 350 g of peeled, cubed potatoes
  • 200 g of fresh spinach
  • Salt (or a little fresh lemon juice) and ground black pepper to taste


  1. Bring your vegetable stock to simmering point in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and garam masala.
  3. Stir well and add the cubed potatoes. Simmer the potatoes very slowly, turning them over every now and then. The idea is to let them infuse the stock and spices. When they are soft and the spicey stock is thick (after about 20-30 minutes). Add a little more of the vegetable stock, or water if they appear to be drying up.
  4. When the potatoes are soft add the spinach leaves (washed and well drained) and let them wilt into the potatoes and spicy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Lemon juice can be substituted for salt for those on a low salt diet.

Low fat cooking tips and tricks:

  • Dried onions are a godsend to those on a low fat/no fat diet. They just need to be rehydrated (like dried mushrooms) and treated as raw ingredients from that stage. We use them a lot now we are trying to cut down our intake of fat and fried food.
  • Dried onions are great in any dish that takes at least 45 minutes to cook. If it is a quick ten minute dish pre cook them. I’m sure that they could be dried at home with a bit of ingenuity.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Marina

    Thanks so much for the tip about ‘frying’ onions in water! A good one and well worth a whirl.

    So pleased that you liked the saag aloo (with turnips!). Your meal sounds inventive and mouth watering. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave feedback. We are foodies and want feedback on our recipes, positive is always welcome and negative exercises our antenna and general culinary wherewithal.

  2. it was delicious – ‘better than anything you could get in a restaurant’ (my husband). Slight alteration had 4 small turnips in (well why not, they came through the kitchen door as I was cooking) which went well. Had it with roast chicken coated in coriander pesto and fresh picked french beans. Made an alternative sunday roast. Only the chicken and onions (and spices) weren’t home grown.

  3. did you know you can ‘fry’ onions in water, just put a bit of water in the pan and do like frying – works well. got that tip from an american friend of mine.

    just about to try your saag aloo on our garden pots and swiss chard,

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Kethry

    Thanks so much for the award. I’m delighted!

    Hello Emma

    Your recipe looks and sounds delicious. You have a brilliant blog, thanks for the nudge.

  5. Hi Fiona,

    I’ve been popping by a lot recently on my net travels, you have a wonderful blog…(I got the award yesterday too and you are on my list of inspiring blogs as well, I’ll be posting it today)

    My husband is Indian so we have a lot of aloo on the menu. I’ve never heard of ‘low fat’ Indian food, it’s a bit of a paradox really!! It’s something I would never have thought of, but I’m amazed at how you’ve managed so well. It looks fabulous…

    Take a look at this post of mine I submitted for the Grow your Own Event, it’s the first time I had used this mix of veg and it really works well. I’m sure you won’t have a problem making it low fat and you can omit the extra cumin for Danny! Also chapatis can be made without oil and dry fried, they are a little crispier but still good.

    I look forward to more of your ideas in Indian cooking.


  6. kethry

    you’ve done it again, you know. gotten me licking the screen – one of these days you’re going to owe me a new monitor… *sighs*..

    i guess in the meantime i’ll just have to tell you that I got given an award yesterday, (the brilliante weblog award) which i’ve to pass on.. i chose you. 🙂 thanks for a great blog! keep writing!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,245,769 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2023 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder

Skip to toolbar