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This recipe for Saag Aloo came from Sue Brewer who used to live in Brittany where she had her own gites to rent. Saag Aloo is a spinach based vegetable dish eaten in Pakistan and India which is now aslo very populra in Indian restaurants in the UK.

I asked Sue to do her own introduction . . . . .

"Originally from London my better half and I have lived in a little hamlet called Le Millet near Ploeuc sur Lie in France for the past three years. Although life in the Cotes d'Armor region of Brittany is quite idyllic there are some downsides, notably the price and strength of tea bags, unavailability of sliced back bacon (who can live without bacon sarnies) and finally the lack of Indian cuisine.

The first two things we must stock up on during our infrequent visits to England, but curries and bhajis - pas du problem!

I realised that the only way I was ever going to have an 'Indian takeaway' in France was to make it myself. Now this isn't as silly as it sounds; I always make the curries or whatever in large quantities and then freeze them in meal-sized portions. So Saturday night is still takeaway night, either sharing the meal with friends or to eat whilst watching some rubbish on the television - you know the sort of thing that's on TV on a Saturday night.

OK I do bring back the spices from dear old blighty as here in France they are rare and, if found, expensive (except for that awful pale yellow curry powder) but the rest is down to moi."

Ingredients for Saag Aloo

1 lb / 450 g spinach, well washed
3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
8 oz / 225 g onions, peeled
2 inches / 5 cm root ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
5 green cardamom pods
2 inches / 5 cm cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/4 tsp chilli powder (cayenne powder)
125 g yoghurt
1/2 tsp salt
2 lb / 900 g potatoes

How to make Saag Aloo

  • Put the washed spinach in a lidded pan with 2 fl oz water, bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain well and set aside to cool.

  • Cut the peeled onions in half and thinly slice. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, add the onions and fry over a high heat until reddish brown - almost crisp.

  • Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for 2 minutes.

  • Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and cayenne powder and fry for a further minute.

  • Stir in the yoghurt well, and heat until bubbling, add the salt and stir in 2 fl oz water.

  • Cut the potatoes into smallish pieces (roughly 2" x 2" / 5 cm x 5 cm) and stir into the spice mixture. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add a little more water if necessary during the cooking process to stop the pan drying out.

  • Chop the spinach finely, add to the potatoes and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.

You can make Saag Aloo in advance of the meal but it does not freeze well.

Serves 6

Sue Brewer