Like creamed spinach? Then you’ve got to try this Indian version known as malai palak. It’s a recipe for a simple side dish made from spinach, garlic, onion, cream, and spices. It’s rich enough to taste almost indecently indulgent so chances are you won’t have trouble convincing your family to take second helpings.Angie Zoobkoff

Bowl of Indian creamed spinach on black wood

Indian Creamed Spinach ~ Malai Palak

4.50 / 6 votes
This recipe for Indian creamed spinach (also known as malai palak) is from our restaurant Rasika. It's a quick weeknight dinner–you can make the included version as aloo palak or palak paneer, as well.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories247 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Thai green chili or jalapeno
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground dried fenugreek leaves


  • Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add half the spinach to the boiling water, stirring well until it wilts, about 15 seconds. Using a spider strainer or mesh spoon, transfer the spinach to the ice water and repeat the blanching process with the remaining the spinach.
  • Drain the spinach well and transfer it to a blender. Add 1 cup of water and blend into a fine, bright green purée.
  • In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the oil until it shimmers. Add the cumin seeds and garlic and sizzle until the garlic browns, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. (The garlic will make the onions look browner than they really are.)
  • Stir in the ginger, green chili, and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds. Add the spinach purée and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Be careful; it will sputter like bubbling lava.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the cream, salt, and fenugreek leaf powder. Return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Serve hot.


Variation On Malai Palak

To make palak paneer, simply add 2 cups cubed paneer (a 12-ounce package) along with the cream, salt, and fenugreek leaf powder in step 5.
To make aloo palak, simply add 2 cups cooked potatoes cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes along with the cream, salt, and fenugreek leaf powder in step 5.
Rasika Cookbook

Adapted From


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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 247 kcalCarbohydrates: 16 gProtein: 5 gFat: 20 gSaturated Fat: 6 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 17 mgSodium: 680 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 Vikram Sunderam. Photo © 2017 Shimon & Tammar. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

It was wonderful to make this Indian creamed spinach in my own kitchen, as I very often order it at Indian restaurants. Cumin seeds, onions, garlic, and ginger—all heavy hitters in fabulous flavor and aroma—really come through in the gorgeously colorful dish. It’s rich tasting but pleasantly light with just 1/4 cup cream. You and your guests will keep reaching for the serving spoon for more.

To make this an even quicker weeknight dinner, I used pre-washed baby spinach and blanched and puréed it the day before with an immersion blender right in the bowl—then I just covered and refrigerated. Easy peasy. I decided to make the variation with paneer as I had never cooked with it, and I’m so glad I tried. It was delicious, and the cheese made the dish heartier.

Select a Tester

The variation, palak paneer, is one of my favorites when eating at an Indian restaurant, so I was very excited to give this a try. I was really pleased at how easy it is to prepare and absolutely beautiful to serve. The results of the “wilting” are immediate and present a lovely, dark green color. Overall this was easy to prepare, delicious, and beautiful.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I’ve never made it before, and it was very easy. I made a smaller batch because I thought it seemed like so much spinach. It was not too much spinach – next time I’m making the whole thing!

    1. Meghan, that’s wonderful! And spinach is the great shrinking vegetable. So much to make so little.

    1. Chrissy, sorry it wasn’t to your liking. Are you sure you used 1/2 teaspoon and not 1/2 tablespoon? One-half teaspoon is rather a small amount for all that spinach.