Spinach in clove-infused yogurt sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

The strong flavour of spinach is perfectly matched by the pungent sweetness of cloves in this unusual dish, Palak-dahi Ki Kari, which can be served hot or at room temperature. The yogurt should be thick-set, preferably Greek, so it doesn’t split when heated.


  • 400 g/14 oz spinach, fresh or frozen (thawed if frozen)
  • 200 g/7 oz/scant 1 cup Greek (US strained plain) yogurt
  • 5 ml/1 tsp gram flour (besan)
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 2.5 cm/1 in piece cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed to a pulp
  • 10 ml/2 tsp fresh root ginger, finely grated
  • 2 fresh red chillies, chopped (deseeded if preferred)
  • 3.75 ml/¾ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 10 ml/2 tsp ghee or unsalted butter
  • 5 whole cloves
  • Plain Boiled Rice and a lentil dish, to serve


  1. Put the spinach in a large heatproof bowl, pour over boiling water and stir until the leaves have wilted.

  2. Drain the spinach and rinse in cold water, then squeeze out as much water as possible. If you are using thawed frozen spinach, simply squeeze out the excess water. Chop the spinach finely.

  3. Whisk the yogurt and the gram flour together in a small bowl and set aside.

  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat and add the cinnamon and cardamom.

  5. When the cardamom pods puff up, add the onion. After a few minutes, add the garlic, ginger and chillies, and increase the heat. Fry for 8–10 minutes, until the ingredients are brown, stirring regularly.

  6. Add the spinach and salt and cook for 4–5 minutes, until heated through. Add the yogurt and 75ml/2 ½ oz/ cup water. Stir well, cover the pan cook for 3–4 minutes.

  7. Switch off the heat source and keep the pan covered.

  8. Melt the ghee or butter and add the cloves. When they start sizzling, switch off the heat and cook for 25–30 seconds.

  9. Pour the oil over the spinach, stir and cover. Let it stand for 10–15 minutes, then serve with Plain Boiled Rice and a lentil dish.

Per portion Energy 237kcal/980kJ; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 8g, of which sugars 6g; Fat 20g, of which saturates 7g; Cholesterol 15mg; Calcium 256mg; Fibre 0.9g; Sodium 379mg.