Sarson ka saag, is one of my favorite Punjabi dish. And also the one which involves a lot of time and patience, but the end result is so much worth all the pain. It is usually made in large quantity and then eaten for upto a week. Well, at least in my household and my relatives/friends’ families I have seen this trend so I am sure others must do it too. The prime reason could be since it takes a lot of time anyway to cook this so you are all exhausted and can’t be bothered to do the whole thing over and over again every week or so. Plus, its heavy and you can’t have too much of it so you end up eating smaller chunks every day. Moreover, its damn tasty and super healthy and as they say in Punjab – its taste manifolds with time .. So there ! I have listed all the reasons I know to make this typical Punjabi dish at least once every winters.
Sarson is the hindi word for mustard and saag means greens, and hence the name – Sarson ka saag. Honestly, there is no shortcut way of making this dense saag – You have to sort the greens, wash them, re-wash and then repeat 3-4 times, chop and finally cook… Then comes blending and then again cooking with the tadka.. Phew ! It defiantly is time consuming. Although the recipe itself is not that tough to master, if you ask me. You may find it tedious the first time, but if you spread the whole procedure in two days then you won’t feel the pang.
The most common and delicious combination is – Mustard greens, Spinach, Bathua, radish and carrot. Some people also add fenugreek leaves to it, some add turnip instead of radish and so on. Every household has its own recipe. The recipe I have explained here is from my family and I love it every time I prepare and savour it 🙂
You may wonder, what is the use of adding radish, turnip or carrot to the Saag. The answer my friend is- to subdue the bitterness of the green bunch we have used. Of course you can omit any of the stuff you like, it totally depends on your taste and liking. But if you are trying this first time, I would highly recommend the combination I have used in the same proportion. We also use some maize flour ( make ka atta ) in the preparation, which gives the smoothness and texture to the whole dish.
We Punjabis are a sucker for anything which is topped with lots of butter and this Saag is no exception. So whenever you plan to make it, please indulge yourself with extra layers of butter ( homemade if possible ) and its best bud Makke ki roti; without which Sarso ka Saag is like eating spread without bread.
Since Winters are about to be gone, say good bye to chill with this Saag, and keep yourself warm and healthy 🙂
What you need?
To cook together:
Mustard greens – 2 bunch/ 2 big bowlful
Spinach leaves – 1 bunch / 1 big bowlful
Bathua – 1 bunch / 1 big bowlful
1 carrot – medium sized ( chopped roughly )
1 radish- small sized ( almost 4-5 inches long, chopped roughly )
A small piece of ginger- 1 inch in size
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar – optional
Other things to be added to this mixed after its cooked, before blending
½ cup Maize flour ( make ka atta ) , mixed with ½ cup water
1 cardamom pod
2 large tomatoes – chopped small
2 large onions – chopped small
5-6 big cloves of garlic – minced
1 small piece of ginger – sliced small and thin
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tsp red chili powder , turmeric, coriander powder each
1 tsp garam masala – or more if you like
Salt to taste
Salt to taste
Sliced ginger – optional
Loads of butter 😉
How to make ?
- First of all, wash all your greens at least 3-4 times in fresh water. Its best to use two big pots fo rinsing instead of placing the greens under running water. It cleans the leaves properly, and in less water than otherwise required
- Keep them all in a big pressure cooker, the biggest you have really ! Then add all the other vegetables and spices with 4 cups of water. Turn on the flame, and cook it for 3-4 whistles, take the lid off when the pressure eases off.
- Meanwhile, chop all the other ingredients for tempering and keep them ready.
- Once the green mixture comes to room temperature, pour in maize flour + water mix into it and stir well. It should be well absorbed before you proceed to the next step.
- Throw in the cardamom pod and blend the whole mixture using either hand mix, or your food processor. It would come out as a smooth dense paste. Don’t overdo the blending, just 3-4 pulses should be good enough, overdoing will result it watery paste which wont taste good.
- Now, in a pan heat the oil and butter together. Sizzle in cumin seeds for half a minute
- Add minced garlic, sliced ginger juliennes, bay leaf all together and sauté for 1-2 minutes on low flame.
- Add onions, and fry till pink brown. On medium flame for 5-6 minutes.
- Last, add the chopped tomatoes, throw in all the spices and cook it covered for next 5-8 minutes, until it gets all mushy and cooked
- Add this to the cooked Saag and mix well. Cook it further all together for 7-8 minutes till one boil, and then turn off the flame.
- Smother with more butter, and ginger juliennes on top and onions rings on side. Serve with Naan or Makke ki roti followed by a piece of Jaggery to accomplish the traditional serve.
My notes and some tips:
- This is one dish which doesn’t taste that good with rice, but you never know.. 🙂
- Although addition of butter is totally optional, it provides the intense warmth and authentic taste to the dish. Moreover, this dish is usually prepared and eaten in winters so adding butter provides extra energy to the otherwise vitamin rich curry
- You may prepare the saag in abundance and then refrigerate it. temper small portions individually each time you want to have it. it can be kept upto 10 days in fridge, and the taste and texture will only get better with time.
- You may also grate some paneer on top just before serving, as a garnish
- Squeeze some lemon juice over onion rings to enjoy them even more with saag
- Simply avoid butter and use if you wish to have a VEGAN version of this Saag