Spinach bhaji

By | April 11, 2016

I’m posting more recipes in my attempt to learn to cook like my ma. I wasn’t planning on posting any recipes this month, but I’m busy gallivanting in New York and didn’t have anything else ready.

Today’s dish is a hearty, easy, delicious spinach bhaji. It’s not as glamorous as saag paneer and it’s never something I crave or ask my mom to make, but when she makes it, I definitely eat it. I know that’s not a ringing endorsement, but I can’t ringingly endorse everything or else my opinion will cease to mean anything.


2 big bunches of spinach. Yes, they’re sold in a bunch at my parent’s grocery store. I think it’s about 2 lbs.IMG_20160303_173522

2 tomatoes

1 onion

2-3 cloves of garlic


1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

salt to taste


  1. Cut the spinach finely.
  2. Wash the spinach a few times in cold water. There’s a surprising amount of dirt in spinach leaves.
  3. Yes, it’s better to wash the spinach after you cut it. You’ll do a better job that way.
  4. Dice the onions and garlic.
  5. Throw some oil in a big pan and add in the mustard seeds.
  6. When the mustard seeds “pop”, add in the cumin seeds.
  7. Let cook for a minute.
  8. Add in the diced onions and garlic.
  9. Let cook until the onions are translucent.
  10. Dice the tomatoes.
  11. Add in the tomatoes and the turmeric, chili pepper and salt.
  12. Let cook for a few minutes.
  13. Add in the spinach. It will look ridiculous and you won’t be able to stir without spilling. Don’t stir. Just crank the heat up on high and wait for the water from the spinach to travel from the spinach to the pan, reducing the volume greatly.
  14. Let cook for about 15-20 minutes. You’ll be able to stir it again after 5 minutes.
  15. Serve with cooked basmati rice.
  16. And thecha.
  17. And yogurt.


Price: $2.82

  • 2 big bunches of spinach – $1.60
  • 2 tomatoes – $1.00
  • 1 onion – $0.15
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic – $0.02
  • 1 tsp chili powder – $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric – $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds – $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds – $0.01
  • salt – $0.01

Acceptable deviations

I can’t think of any.

6 thoughts on “Spinach bhaji

  1. fingarblog

    “…when she makes it, I definitely eat it.” Perfect, I love this endorsement! I think we all know exactly what you mean. I haven’t been cooking enough lately, and so this is happening. Tonight.

  2. crystalwheel

    Hey Thriftygal!
    I’ve really been enjoying your blog and this recipe is one I’ll be trying soon. Re dirt in greens. Years ago a friend of mine shared this tip with me and I’ve used it ever since. Fill your sink with cold water and then just ONE drop of your dishwashing liquid. Swish around and then dunk your greens, spinach, collards whatever and all the dirt will just fall off! It’s amazing…there is a name for this… I think it’s called adhesion.. Anyway it’s breaking the water tension, maybe you’ll try it? Great job on your blog content!

  3. Linda

    hi thriftygal, I just had to comment…. I LOVE your Mom’s recipes & that you are sharing them with us. Thanks so much!

  4. Thriftygal Post author

    @Linda, Yes! thanks for that comment. @crystalwheel, love the tip and will try it! @fingarblog, let me know what you think!

  5. banyanbat

    Nice and simple recipe!! Some roasted sesame seeds thrown in to the tempering or while the spinach is cooking might give a crunchy feel to otherwise dull spinach. 🙂

  6. Unconventional Sustainability

    I usually don’t like dishes with cooked spinach, but this sounds very intriguing! This is very timely as I just started growing spinach in containers until the weather warms up enough to garden outside.

    I also love how you costed it out!

    I’m always looking for new recipes so I look forward to seeing your future posts! I’ve also been trying to get myself to make and then post a recipe on my site each week (assuming everything turns out well with the recipe!). I figure this encourages me to try something new each week, thus avoiding getting into a food rut!


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