Try Our Healthy, Traditional Sarson Ka Saag Recipe
Try our yummy, nutritious sarson ka saag recipe.
Makki ki roti aur sarson ka saag! It can’t get more Punjabi.
The picture in my mind even as I write these words is of bright yellow flowers swaying in the cool breeze, young girls in phulkari dupattas, young men wearing pink, yellow, green turbans dancing to the beats of a dholak and somewhere in the background is a train puffing smoke meandering through the fields… a scene straight out of DDLJ.
Sarson ka Saag (mustard greens) has been a quintessential part of Punjabi cuisine for ever. This is traditionally served with makki ki roti, ghee, gur and chaas.
Imagine the livid green, yellow, golden brown and white colours in front of you, how appetizing can it get. The earthy flavours and rich nutrients make it a must have every winter.
Sarson leaves provide only 34 Kcals for 100 gms and a whopping 16 mg of Iron, 2,622 micro grams of Carotene, 33 mg of Vitamin C. Add to this the goodness of gluten-free Makki ka atta which for 100 gms gives 349 Kcal, 2.3 mg Iron, 348 mg of phosphorus, and 20 micrograms of Folic acid.
The antioxidants in mustard greens is second only to kale, and the isothiocyanates, which support detox at the celluar level, are the most in mustard greens.
Here’s a yummy recipe for you first!
Sarson ka Saag - Recipe
Here’s the list of ingredients:
- Clean and wash all the green leaves thoroughly. If you plan to cook in an open pan then chop the leaves finely.
- Slice the garlic and chilli fine and add it to the saag along with ginger.
- Add the salt and pressure cook it for 15 minutes or cook in an open heavy bottom wok till the leaves are cooked. This will need to be stirred occasionally. The water from the leaves is enough to cook it there is no need to add extra.
- Once the leaves are well cooked they can be ground in a blender or the old fashioned way, with a pestle.
- Heat oil /ghee, fry the asafoetida, add the onions green chilli and fry till it is golden brown in colour, add the red chilli powder and add it to the saag.
- Cook on a slow flame till the required creamy texture is reached.
- Serve hot with a dollop of white butter and Makki ki roti.
Note: if you find the taste bitter a small piece of gur can be added along with the tadka
This is my way of cooking it at home, so have a bowl full of nutrition before the season ends.
My first memories of eating this wonderful meal is in my (nani) grandmother’s home surrounded by cousins, uncles and aunts. She would cook it in an earthen pot and chula fired by either wood or coals. Because the quantities were large, the preparation itself was a story.
Sarson, palak (spinach), bathua (pigweed), and small amounts of methi (fenugreek) and cholai (green chickpeas) would be bought fresh from the vegetable growers khet (fields).
Then started the process of diligently separating the stalks and grass from the leaves. Every one pitched in, while discussing the family gossip. Again a DDLJ moment!
Washing was another big thing to ensure no mud was left on the leaves. Big tubs of steel were filled with water and the leaves washed diligently 2-3 times. Once complete the leaves were chopped and put into the pot along with salt and ginger and green chillies. This was slow cooked, with an occasional stir in its own water, till it reached the desired creaminess, which was usually late at night, so we would eat it the next day after a tadka of onions and topped with white butter or ghee, both homemade.
Atta or flour for makki ki roti came from the fields was sweet, full of flavour and chaas was always the accompaniment. The loving patience that went into cooking and serving this meal added to the taste making it awesome.
Today, when I travel through Punjab, there are many dhabas that make this meal.
Two of my favourites are Sukdev Dhaba in Murthal and Giani ka Dhaba at Dharampur on the way to Shimla, but they aren’t a patch on homemade saag in any Punjabi household minus the pressure cooker.
(Rupali Datta is a clinical nutritionist who has led teams in corporate hospitals. She has an in-depth knowledge of health care, food and nutrition – both in wellness and diseases.)
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