Indian palak matar (or matar palak, if you prefer) is a flavorful vegetarian and vegan Indian vegetable dish of spinach and peas in a spicy tomato-based sauce. In this recipe, the palak (spinach) and matar (peas) are spiced with a heavy blend of Indian spices including cumin seeds, coriander, chili, turmeric and a bit of tamarind. You can leave the tamarind out, if you don't have a source for it, without changing the authenticity of the dish too much.
Because this palak matar recipe uses vegetable oil instead of ghee, it is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free (just be sure your spices are gluten-free).
For a spicier dish, add some sliced green chilies in along with the cumin seeds in the first step, or for a non-vegan dish, you can pan-fry a bit of Indian paneer cheese (or a vegan tofu paneer substitute) to make a palak matar paneer.
Scroll down for more vegetarian and vegan Indian food recipes to try at home.
- 3 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 4 cups fresh spinach or 1 box frozen spinach, thawed
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon. garam masala
- Pinch turmeric powder
- Salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
- 1 cup green peas, either canned or frozen and thawed
Over medium high heat, place the oil in a saucepan and add the cumin seeds. Allow the cumin seeds to "pop", which will take about a minute or two.
After the cumin seeds have popped, reduce the heat to medium, then add the tomato puree, stirring to combine well. Next, add the spinach and heat until spinach has well wilted, about ten to fifteen minutes.
When the spinach has wilted, add the remaining spice - the coriander powder, chili powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, salt, and tamarind paste, stirring well to combine.
Once the spices are well combined, add the green peas and cook for 5 minutes or just until heated through, stirring as needed.
Serve your Indian spinach and peas hot with plain steamed rice and naan.
Like making homemade Indian dishes such as this palak matar dish? Here's a few more vegetarian and vegan Indian food recipes to try:
- Vegetarian lentil sambar recipe
- Easy mint and cilantro chutney
- Baked vegetarian samosas with peas and potatoes
- Vegetarian coconut curried lentils
- Homemade vegan naan (Indian flatbread)
- Mixed Indian-spiced vegetables (subji)
- Fried paneer pakoras
- Indian tandoori-spiced grilled tofu
- Aloo matar (Indian spiced potatoes and peas
- Dairy-free vegan mango lassi recipe
- Even more vegetarian Indian food recipes