indian style creamed spinach

$8.41 recipe / $2.10 serving

I fell in love with a new blog last week, it’s called US Masala. Lots of delicious looking Indian dishes with gorgeous photos. Because I adore creamed spinach AND Indian spices, I immediately wanted to make this Palak Paneer.

Unfortunately, my homemade paneer (fresh cheese) didn’t turn out so stellar and I didn’t have all of the ingredients that were called for in the Palak Paneer recipe, so what I ended up with was basically just creamed spinach with an Indian flare. And I’ll admit, throughout the entire process of making this dish I kept thinking, “oh boy, this isn’t working out…” Until the end when it all magically came together and turned into the best tasting spinach I’ve ever had!

My cost got kind of out of control, so I flubbed there too. To stretch this recipe out further and reduce the cost per serving, you can serve it over rice, or add some cubes of cooked potatoes. The high cost was partly due to the fact that I got a little lazy and picked up half of my ingredients at Whole Foods instead of stopping at my regular grocery store. I definitely could have gotten a better price on some of these items (the tomato, spinach, and onion for example). Lesson learned.

But, I have to say it again, this is the best spinach I’ve ever had. Ever. You just have to get over the fact that it looks like green goop.

NOTE: Many have found this dish to be too spicy. So, I would suggest starting with 1/4 tsp cayenne and adding more at the end to taste.

Indian Style Creamed Spinach

Indian Style Creamed Spinach

5.0 from 14 reviews
indian style creamed spinach
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $8.41
Cost Per Serving: $2.10
Serves: 4
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.24
  • 1 large yellow onion $0.92
  • 2 inches fresh ginger $0.21
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 10 oz. fresh baby spinach $3.74
  • ½ tsp sugar $0.02
  • 2 tsp cumin $0.10
  • 1 tsp garam masala $0.05
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper $0.05
  • 1 large tomato $1.36
  • ½ tsp turmeric $0.05
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 cup evaporated milk $1.49
  1. Add the olive oil and two cloves of garlic (minced) to a large skillet. Peel and grate both the onion and ginger straight into the skillet. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until softened.
  2. While the onion, ginger, and garlic are cooking, place the spinach in a large pot along with one cup of water and ½ tsp of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until the spinach is tender (about five minutes). Turn the heat off and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor or blender (water and all) and pulse a few times to break up the spinach, but do not puree it.
  3. After the onion, garlic, and ginger have softened, add the cumin, garam masala, and cayenne. Stir and cook for about three minutes more. Dice the tomato and add it to the skillet. Stir and cook for about five minutes more or until the tomato has broken down.
  4. Stir the evaporated milk into the skillet. Add the turmeric and salt. Stir and heat through. Add the cooked and blended spinach along with all of the liquid. Stir, taste, and add more salt if desired. Serve hot with bread for dipping.


Indian style creamed spinach

Step By Step Photos

raw chickenBegin by adding the olive oil, minced garlic, grated onion, and grated ginger to a large skillet. I used a large cheese grater to grate the onion and a small cheese grater to grate the ginger. Any method you can find to chop these into small bits will work in place of cheese graters. Cook these over medium heat until softened.

cook spinachMeanwhile, add the spinach to a large pot along with one cup of water and 1/2 tsp of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until the spinach is tender (about five minutes of boiling).

add spicesOnce the onion, garlic, and ginger are softened, add the cumin, garam marsala, and cayenne pepper to the skillet. Stir and cook for a few minutes more.

stir cook spicesAnd then it will look like this (this is right about where I started to think that maybe the recipe wouldn’t turn out… but I stuck with it and am glad I did!)

diced tomatoCut the tomato into a small dice and add to the skillet. Continue to cook until the tomato has broken down (about another five minutes).

cooked spinachBy this time the spinach should be tender. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

blend spinachTransfer the cooked spinach and all of the water to a blender or food processor. Carefully pulse it a few times to break it up, but do not puree it.

cooked tomatoesBack to what’s happening in the skillet… the tomatos have cooked down and look like this. Again, I was thinking, “Oh boy, this isn’t pretty… I dunno if it’s gonna turn out.”

evaporated milkBut I kept going. Add in the evaporated milk…

turmeric and saltStir it all together and then add the turmeric and salt…

cooked spinachThe turmeric will make it turn a pretty bright yellow color. Finally, add all of the cooked/blended spinach and stir it all together.

indian style creamed spinachAnd then it will be beautiful and DELICIOUS! You can adjust the salt at this point if needed.

naan dipped in spinachNext I ate a lot of it with some fresh naan bread. YUM.

indian style creamed spinachThis dish has so much color and texture, both in terms of appearance and flavor. Truly amazing!


  1. Seema says:

    Tried this recipe with whole milk and cream. Had to simmer it a little more (for around 20 minutes in total) but turned out awesomely delicious. Everyone loved it :) Thanks for the wonderful and super easy recipe.

    The step by step photos really help to make sure you are in the right direction – great idea for posting recipes ! going to try others from your blog too.

  2. Jess says:

    This is the 3rd thing I’ve made from Budget Bytes and I am a huge fan! Telling everyone about you.

    So I made this for a get together with friends last night, as the host was making tandoori chicken and rice. It was a HUGE hit. I made this a bit more semi-homemade – used a can of diced tomatoes, frozen chopped spinach, garlic and ginger I bought pre-diced, pre-diced onion, and coconut milk – to save time and clean up. It got RAVE reviews from the dinner party.

    Well I made a double batch, not knowing how much I’d need for the friends, so tonight I plopped some of the left overs on pasta and had a DELICIOUS pasta dish. Added some ground turkey and it was a full meal.

    Thanks for all that you do!

  3. Sarah says:

    Tried a bit of a variation on this, because I didn’t have any spinach, but had a plethora of zucchini (it is summer, after all!). I grated about 10-11 oz of zucchini (3 medium-ish squash) on a box grater, and instead of cooking them separately, I added them to the sauce at the end of the cooking (at the same time as the evaporated milk). It turned out wonderfully! The spices in the recipe are great!

  4. Megan says:

    This was so delicious! I didn’t have any evaporated milk on hand, so I used whole milk and it was fantastic!
    I’m currently making this again with the coconut lentils and naan. Can’t wait!
    Side note – do you typically use evaporated milk? That’s not something I usually use and I’m not familiar with where I should/could be using. Would love any input!
    Thanks for these fabulous recipes! Looking forward to trying out more!

    • I really don’t use it a lot, but in many cases you can use it in place of higher fat milk for a creamy flavor with less added fat. :)

  5. celi says:

    This was so delicious!! Everyone loved it

  6. Sarah says:

    Made this along with the coconut lentils, and it was SO good! I was going to make naan bread to accompany it, but had leftover burritos. So I chopped the burritos up and toasted them with a little olive oil and lime and used them as dipping “crackers.” Absolutely fabulous and so much flavour!

  7. Sarah says:

    Such a fantastic recipe! I made it vegan by using about 1 C. of coconut milk and it turned out really good. It was devoured by all.

  8. Victoria says:

    First of all, totally in love with your site. The recipes are all so simple and delicious and I always have most of the ingredients on hand :)

    For this recipe, is there a way around blending the spinach? I don’t currently have a blender or processor.
    Maybe chopping the spinach before boiling?

    • Hmm, you could chop it I suppose, although that might make it difficult to drain. You could just leave the leaves whole and have the texture be more like an American creamed spinach. :)

    • Kathy says:

      I used frozen spinach which typically comes slightly chopped, stuck it in the microwave to defrost, stirred in the sugar and added some water. It’s really convenient and saves having to use a blender.

  9. Sarah says:

    I made this tonight with some leftover indian food. I like to use frozen spinach for dishes like this as it saves both money and time and doesn’t lose any nutrition. It was delicious! I was serving this with some indian food that was a little too spicy so I left out the cayenne all together and it was perfect. I also used half and half instead of evaporated milk. YUM.

  10. Just cooked this, together with the Quick Curried Chickpeas and Coconut Lentils, for my mum and her cousin. Second helpings and clean plates all around! Super delicious!

    I used frozen chopped spinach instead of fresh (putting it straight in to the pot, adding no extra water), and half-and-half/half cream instead of the evaporated milk. Heeded the warning about the cayenne pepper and only used about 1/4 tsp, but will probably chuck the whole lot in next time.

    Such a nice dish (as was the others). I’m looking forward to the left overs! :)

  11. martina says:

    Cooked! It just tasted so good :)

  12. I love Indian food but some of the dishes can be quite fattening so I was looking for a recipe with vegetables. This recipe turned out very good and everyone in my family loved it! To make it even less fattening, I substituted the evaporated milk with fat free Greek yogurt. It tasted very good. I also used half of a hot pepper in the recipe instead of cayenne pepper.
    Thank you!

  13. Jessica says:

    This was good but extremely spicy. Maybe there should be a warning on the use of Cayenne. :)

    • Ah yes, I put a warning above the first picture, but it looks like when I moved the website from its old home to the new one, it changed it from bright red back to black, so it’s not so noticeable! :) I’ll go fix that.

  14. I made this last weekend, planning to have it with a ground chicken version of your curry beef with peas and naan (since ground chicken was on sale for $3/pound). Thanks to a little too much multitasking, I cooked the spinach too long, and when I pureed it and added it to the pan…it looked like a Muppet had an accident with a blender.

    I thought it was ruined, but it tasted great, and I realized it would make a great sauce. I cooked the ground chicken with more of the spices I used with this, then added it and some peas to the spinach. It was a great sagwala-like dish! This happy accident will be something I make again, even though I also want to give the original recipe another try.

  15. Delicious! I paired it with your daal nirvana recipe and scooped them with some whole wheat pita bread (I was too lazy to make naan but will eventually for sure!). Not too spicy for me but I love my spices.

  16. seaward says:

    I’ve made this recipe a ton of times before, but tonight when I went to make it, there were no onions! And I really didn’t want to go to the store.
    I ended up tossing 2 diced potatoes with oil & curry and roasting them, to try and replace the onion. Didn’t work, but-

    The spinach mix + evaporated milk mix was pretty soupy without the onion, so I just dumped everything over a bed of rice to help soak it up.
    It was fantastic.
    I definitely recommend adding the curry potatoes.

  17. Jaav says:

    Don’t mind the other posters, this dish is not too spicy. It’s Indian, many dishes from the sub-continent are _far_ spicier. Great recipe.

  18. Enybe says:

    We made it last night and we loved it. We ate it with rice and some store-bought Naan bread.

    Thank you!

  19. Emily says:

    This is absolutely one of my favorites!! It’s a repeat in my home. Do you think this would freeze well? It makes so much I usually end up throwing some out, and I’d love to have some on hand when I start craving it.

  20. I should remember that you like your food spicy. LOL.
    I’d never cooked with cayenne before. My parents would put it on my thumb so I didn’t suck it when I was younger. It eventually worked.

    Delicious as always, just going to use less cayenne next time, my mother is on me about it!

  21. Josie says:

    You can also make your own evaporated milk from dry milk powder:

    2/3 cup dry/powdered milk
    3/4 cup water

    Mix the water and dry milk powder together. Use in place of the evaporated milk in any recipe.

    Yield: 1 cup (8 ounces)

  22. Tapati says:


    8 cups milk
    4 tbsp fresh strained lemon juice

    Bring milk to a boil, stirring to minimize sticking, then reduce heat, add lemon juice and stir. After ten seconds remove from heat. If curds don’t separate place on heat again adding more lemon juice if necessary. (I’ve never needed to.) Drain 1 and 1/2 hours in cheesecloth to use as a soft ricotta-like filling for lasagne or to fry with spices and tomato. You can also add herbs or spices in this stage.

    For a firm curd, after hanging for 90 min you can put it in a mold or a colander, still in the cheesecloth, and place a weight on it. I will leave it for at least 3 more hours until it seems firm enough to cut into cubes and fry for sag paneer. You can marinate it in oil and turmeric before you fry it. I noticed on food tv they profiled some ladies in NY who were making “ricotta” this way although it’s not the traditional method and fancy restaurants were buying their product.

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