Spiced Creamed Spinach (Malai Sak)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Spiced Creamed Spinach (Malai Sak)

Spinach is one of the characteristic flavors of North Indian cuisine, and a spiced and creamy spinach dish is often found on tables as an accompaniment to all kinds of meals when in season. This lightly spiced creamed spinach is a modern adaptation of a Delhi-style "malai sak" in which flour and milk is used instead of yogurt to give the sauce a thicker and more pliable consistency, and is delicious served on its own as a vegetable side dish for North Indian meals, or spooned on rice or toast, scooped in a soft flatbread, or used as a filling in dosas. It also makes an incredible base for an Indian-style eggs Florentine.

You can also used defrosted frozen chopped spinach in this recipe, pressed through a strain to drain away excess liquid, though I highly recommend you purchase some fresh spinach for the full flavor experience.

Spiced Creamed Spinach (Malai Sak)Spiced Creamed Spinach (Malai Sak)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on March 24, 2008

A lightly spiced and wonderfully fragrant North Indian creamed spinach classic — delicious served as a vegetable side dish, spooned on rice or toast, scooped in a soft flatbread, used as a filling in dosas, or as an elegant base for my Indian-Style Eggs Florentine

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

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  • 3 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • pinch of asafetida
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk, heated
  • 10 oz (285 g) spinach, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • Melt the ghee or butter in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. As it melts, toss in the asafetida powder into some of the heated butter, wait a few seconds, then stir in the garam masala, coriander, cayenne, turmeric and nutmeg. Turn down the heat to moderately low, and stir-fry the spices for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

  • Whisking the spiced butter or ghee continually with one hand to avoid clumping, slowly sift the flour through a fine-mesh strainer into the pan with the other hand.

  • Slowly pour in the heated milk, while continuing to whisk. As the milk is blended into the butter and flour mixture, it will become a medium-thick sauce. Continue whisking to keep the sauce smooth until it reaches the desired consistency.

  • Add the spinach and use a fork to spread the spinach evenly throughout the sauce. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, and season with the salt and black pepper.

  • Serve hot.

Makes about 3 cups

Spiced Creamed Spinach (Malai Sak)


Sara said...

This spinach looks and sounds fantastic! Can't wait to give it a try. I'm sorry to see I missed No Croutons this month. I'm looking forward to seeing what April's theme will be.

Lucy said...

Just want to dive right on in.

Beautiful greens.

Peter M said...

Lisa, I want this as an entree now!

How can anyone not like spinach now?

test it comm said...

I am always on the lookout for new ways to enjoy spinach. This spinach dish sounds tasty.

eatme_delicious said...

I'm always looking for ways to incorporate spinach into my diet, but I have yet to come across an Indian spinach dish that I've liked. I will save this recipe for when I'm feeling adventurous!

Dori said...

Creamed spinach is one of my favorites...This sounds great!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Oh boy. I'd eat the whole plate right now if I could. I love spinach cooked South Asian style. Usually have it with paneer, but this looks terrific.

Neen said...

Yum. What cookbook?

Lisa Turner said...

Neen, I didn't exactly use a cookbook. Instead, I consulted a few recipes and came up with my own version.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This would make a great side dish with my chicken when I get around to making it:D

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe lisa - I made it last night, I used wholewheat flour and around 7 oucnces of spinach (as that was what I had available) and it was lovely, a slightly different color to yours but it was great. I will certainly make this again. tks niki

Anonymous said...


Who makes the best Garam Masala and where do you buy it? I have a recipe to make it, but in my smallish town, I can't find some of the ingredients, so the next time I am in Vancouver, I will pick up some ready made if I can.

Lisa Turner said...


I purchase my ready-made blend from a local store here in London Ontario called Grains and Beans. I buy it in bulk there and so do not know the maker. I don't know if you could say there was a best version, though of course, some are better than others. I recommend you visit an Indian grocery store. You might also want to consider stocking up on the ingredients for a homemade version while you are in Vancouver - stored in well sealed jars, the seeds and pods keep their freshness for a good many months.

I have posted a few recipes for garam masala previously that you might be interested in.

Fairlington Blade said...

Hey Lisa,

This is a couple of years on, but it looks great. I frequently make Saag Paneer and use a variant on Rocky Mohan's recipe. With Thanksgiving coming up this week, I was thinking of something along these lines sans Paneer. This recipe looks like just the ticket and I have a bit of garam masala left.