Heat oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan on medium heat. Add cumin seeds, dry red whole chili and let them sizzle for a few seconds.
Add asafoetida, garlic and saute for 30 seconds until the garlic start to change color to golden.
Turn the flame to low and add all the spices. Stir them well.
Add the potatoes, water and mix well with the spices. Turn the flame back to medium.
Cover with a lid and let the potatoes cook for about 4-5 minutes. The potatoes should be more than half done.
Add the chopped spinach and mix it well with the potatoes. Cook for another 4-5 minutes after adding the spinach.
Add the garam masala, dry mango powder and mix well. All the water added and from the spinach must be dried by now.
Serve Aloo Palak with roti or paratha.
For Instant Pot:
Heat the instant pot on sauté mode and follow the first 4 steps as above. Add the chopped spinach leaves on top of the potatoes. Do not stir. Press Cancel and close lid with vent in sealing position. Pressure cook for 0 minutes at high pressure. Quick release the pressure and open the lid. There will be some liquid. Add garam masala and dry mango powder to the curry. Now turn on sauté mode and sauté for 1-2 minutes. This will help to dry any leftover liquid. Aloo Palak is ready to be served.
Onions: I do not add onions to this Aloo Palak. However if you like, add ½ cup chopped onions along with the garlic and sauté until golden brown before adding the potatoes. Spinach: It is important to add the spinach only after the potatoes are mostly cooked, so that the spinach does not overcook.Stovetop vs Instant Pot: The stovetop method for this Aloo Palak will give a dry texture, while the instant pot method has the convenience of less active monitoring needed. My preferred method to cook this curry is on the stovetop, as my family prefers a dry stir fry texture.