I am a big lover of soups. And a much big lover of Spinach. So what do I do when I have a big bunch of Palak (Spinach)?! I can make Palak Paneer or if I want something heavy, I could prepare Palak Biryani. But what else could taste so enticing and fresh and vibrant – it is Palak Soup of course 🙂
Palak Shorba is an Indian styled Spinach Soup. Traditionally a shorba (soup) is prepared with a mix of Indian spices, cooked until their fragrance is heady in the soup and then strained off. Many restaurants offer Tomato Shorba – which is absolutely delicious. Personally, I feel that tomato and coriander seeds (dhania) combination is a match made in heaven. The aroma of fresh coriander with the tanginess of tomatoes makes the Shorba absolutely delicious. But the same recipe cannot be used for Palak Shorba for the texture of the vegetables is different.
I was not very sure if the coriander seeds and spinach would go together. But then, there are other magical ingredients – like the bay leaf, fresh cumin seeds, cinnamon and finally garlic! I cooked spinach in these tempered spices until cooked. The best thing about spinach is that it absorbs the flavor of almost everything we add in! But plain palak could be a bit bland (not that I would mind) so I added in some milk to bring in the creaminess. Once the soup was done, I used a bit of chilli oil with sautéed garlic to drizzle on the soup. It is not necessary at all but for someone who loves garlic a lot, it was brilliant.
Before heading to the recipe, showing off my fresh bunch of organic spinach – I love green and I love spinach 🙂 Spinach is a very healthy vegetable and do check out 33 health benefits of spinach to know more.
To make Palak Shorba | Indian Style Spinach Soup
What I used –
For Palak Shorba -
- Spinach/Palak, 1 large bunch (2 cups tightly packed chopped)
- Onion, 1 medium
- Milk, 1 cup
- Fresh Mint Leaves Chopped, 2 tsp
- Dried Bay Leaf, 1
- Cinnamon, 1” piece
- Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp
- Garlic Finely Chopped, 5 tsp
- Turmeric Powder, ¼ tsp
- Red Chilli Powder, ½ teaspoon (or less)
- Salt, as needed
- Oil/Butter, 1 tsp
For the Chilli Garlic Oil Tempering –
- Oil/Butter, ½ tsp
- Garlic Finely Chopped, ½ tsp
- Red Chilli Powder, a generous pinch
Prep Work -
1. Cut off any thick stems and clean the spinach leaves by removing any that are infested. Wash the leaves (and tender stems) in running water for two times to remove any grit. Drain the water and roughly chop. Keep aside.
2. Finely chop the onion and garlic pods. Set all the other ingredients ready.
How I made –
1. In a nonstick pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil/butter. Add cumin seeds, dried bay leaf, cinnamon and finely chopped garlic. As cumin seeds begin to splutter and garlic turns golden brown, add finely chopped onion. Fry until translucent.
2. Add roughly chopped spinach and mint leaves. On a medium flame cook until the spinach begins to leave water. Add salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Keep cooking on a low flame until spinach is cooked well.
3. Add milk and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Let this mixture cool down. Remove the cinnamon and dried bay leaf. Put the mixture in a blender and grind until smooth. Add water if the Shorba is too thick. Remove onto the pan. Heat on low flame for another 3-4 mins. Switch off the heat.
4. For making chilli garlic oil, in a small pan heat ½ teaspoon of oil/butter. Add finely chopped garlic and fry until slightly golden brown. Add generous pinch of red chilli powder. Remove from heat.
5. Serve the Palak Shorba hot with chilli garlic oil drizzled on top.
- Traditionally Shorba is a kind of clear soup. If desired, the blended soup can be strained. I loved the texture of thick Palak Shorba and not to remove any fiber goodness, did not strain the soup.
- Instead of red chilli powder, green chillies can be used. Sautee them along with garlic to remove any raw smell.
- Additionally, a pinch of garam masala can be added.
- Don’t cook the palak/spinach long after adding milk – it can curdle. Cook on low flame to avoid this.
- Chilli garlic oil drizzle is optional.
- Instead of removing bay leaf and cinnamon, it can be ground fine but the taste of them can be quite over powering for the soup and could add to the spiciness.
- Add water if the soup is too thick but while cooking spinach, don’t have to add any water as spinach leaves enough water to cook itself.