Indian Spiced Dal and Sag Aloo – a Fusion of Flavors

It may come as a surprise to know that we consider Indian food to be part of British cuisine. In fact, chicken tikka masala was invented in Glasgow and is a classic British dish. But so often here, Indian dishes get a bit of a bad rap, because people just buy the lurid-toned, greasy curries from takeaways.

Real Indian food is a world away from the processed stuff that comes in foil containers. A while ago, I got myself a great Indian recipe book and since then, I’ve been delving into a world of beguiling spices, fresh vegetables, pulses, and beans.

Sag aloo (above) and dal (below)

Knowing how to make a few basic sauces, curries, and side dishes has opened up a whole world of flavors. I love how curries can be creamy and rich, spicy and tomato-y, fragrant and light, and how there is the perfect accompaniment to each main dish.

So for today’s recipe, I had to share something Indian. I settled on two side dishes, spiced Dal and Sag Aloo, because they are versatile basics, which you can partner with many curries, or simply just dig into for a light dinner.

Dal simply refers to a split pulse, often lentils, but since I had some yellow split peas hanging about in the cupboard, I went with those. It’s a warming, fragrant, lightly spiced dish, which is cooked until the pulses/peas have softened and fattened, taking in all the flavor of your stock.

Dal and sag aloo from India
My homemade dal and sag aloo

Sag Aloo is an Indian classic of potatoes and spinach, made with tender new potatoes, warming, bright spices, and fresh, young spinach leaves. Though it’s not entirely traditional, I also added some finely chopped fresh chili for an extra burst of color and spice.

These dishes are very economical to make, mostly using store-cupboard basics, plus you can stretch them out over several meals, by partnering them with rice, curry, naan, or even just a few veggies. This is how to make Indian Dal and Sag Aloo:

Indian spiced Dal and Sag Aloo

Two healthy, wholesome and delicious Indian side dishes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine British, Indian
Servings 4
Calories 200 kcal


For the Dal

  • 200 g yellow split peas/split lentils rinsed and soaked for at least 30 mins
  • ½ a large onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato passata homemade, or shop-bought with no added ingredients
  • ½ tsp each of garam masala & cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp each of tumeric and dried chilli flakes
  • ½ a fresh red chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 500 ml water

Forthe Sag Aloo

  • 500 g new potatoes
  • 50 g fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp each of tumeric & cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp each of dried coriander & ground ginger
  • ½ a red chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter


Forthe Dal

  • Finely chop the onion and garlic, and heat the oil in a medium saucepan.
  • Fry the onion and garlic with the all the spices, except the fresh chilli, until tender.
  • Drain the peas and add to the pan along with the water.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 30 mins, or until all the water is absorbed.
  • Stir in the fresh chilli and tomato passata.
  • Remove from the heat, allow to stand for a minute, and serve.

For the Sag Aloo

  • Chop the potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on their size.
  • Place into a large saucepan and cover with water.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and set to one side.
  • In a large frying pan, heat the butter, add the spices and chilli and allow to sizzle for a minute.
  • Add the potatoes and stir around to coat them in the spice mixture.
  • Stir in the spinach until it just begins to wilt.
  • Serve straight away.


Natural yogurt with some finely chopped fresh coriander stirred in makes for a great, simple condiment to these side dishes.
Keyword British, dal and sag aloo, indian

And there you have it, a delightful Indian feast that’s bursting with flavors and goodness! The rich and aromatic Indian spiced Dal, paired with the vibrant and comforting Sag Aloo, create a perfect harmony on your plate. I hope you enjoy foraying into this British-Indian unprocessed loveliness as much as I do!

Johanna Cleveland
About the author

Hi, I'm Kate, the creator of Happy Baking Days. I'm a food lover, recipe creator, and kitchen explorer. I have amateur baking knowledge gained from years spent in the kitchen with my grandma and mum, where I graduated slowly from dusting work surfaces with flour and licking the spatula to the finer arts of pastry and meringue. Now in my own kitchen, I put all those years of training into practice, experimenting with recipes and ingredients from around the world. Join me as I share my culinary journey and favorite recipes that make cooking a delightful experience.

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