Sarson Ka Saag Recipe: Unearthing The Indian Flavour

A recipe ancient and nourishing, Sarson Ka Saag is a culinary wonder worth experiencing this winter.

Published On Nov 27, 2023 | Updated On Mar 04, 2024

Image

The Earth of India is a rich resource from which sprout many colorful and delicious dishes. One of which is the world-famous Sarson Ka Saag, a North Indian staple during the cold season of winter. Grown and harvested in the South of Punjab, Sarson is also known as Mustard Greens. The word ‘Saag’ connotes a dish made out of leafy greens, among which, one of the most flavourful is Sarson. While the leaves of Sarson can be quite pungent and bitter, once mixed with Palak, they make for a heaven of a dish that will make you transcend. 

Ingredients:

  1. 500 grams of Sarson (mustard greens)
  2. 250 grams of Palak (spinach)
  3. 100 grams of Bathua (pigweed) or Methi (fenugreek) leaves (optional)
  4. 2-3 green chilies, chopped
  5. 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  6. 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  7. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  8. 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  9. 2 tablespoons of maize flour (makki ka atta)
  10. 2 tablespoons of ghee or clarified butter
  11. 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  12. 1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder
  13. Salt to taste
  14. Ghee or butter for garnish

Instructions:

  • Wash the mustard greens, spinach, and any other leafy vegetables thoroughly. Remove any tough stems, if necessary.
  • Boil the greens in a large pot of water for about 15-20 minutes or until they become soft and tender. Drain and let them cool.
  • Once cooled, blend the boiled greens to a coarse paste using a hand blender or food processor. Set it aside.
  • In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat ghee or clarified butter over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  • Stir in the grated ginger, minced garlic, and green chilies. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and the oil starts to separate.
  • Stir in maize flour (makki ka atta) and sauté for a few minutes, ensuring the raw taste of the flour disappears.
  • Add the coarsely blended greens to the pan and mix well. Stir in salt and red chili powder.
  • Cook the saag for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. The saag should thicken and become well-cooked. You can also add a bit of water if it gets too thick.
  • In a separate pan, heat some ghee or butter and pour it over the saag just before serving. This enhances the flavor and gives a traditional touch to the dish.
  • Serve hot with makki ki roti (corn flatbread) and a dollop of butter or ghee on top to present a Sarson Ka Saag- dhaba style!
Image

Did you know that Sarson Ka Saag was first mentioned all the way in the 3rd Century BCE? Appearing in the Jain text, Acharanga Sutra, this ancient dish has spanned more than two millennia, passing from generation to generation. Popular in Gujarat as Sarsav nu Shaak and as Sareyan Da Saag in Dogri, you will find it surprising to know that this delicacy has extensively proliferated throughout the country. All of its linguistic variants are rooted in the Sanskrit word for mustard, which is Sarshapa.

Today, you won't find a single Punjabi mother who does not know the Sarson Ka Saag recipe as it has become one of the most revered dishes enjoyed throughout India.

Image

Indian cuisine, despite being known for its distinct deliciousness, is also extremely rich in good nutrients that are beneficial to our health. For example, Sarson Ka Saag is rich in many essential foods:

Rich in Vitamins: Sarson Ka Saag is packed with vitamins, especially vitamin A and vitamin C. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and immune function, while vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports the immune system and helps the body absorb iron from plant-based sources.

High in Fiber: The leafy greens in Sarson Ka Saag are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and can contribute to weight management by promoting a feeling of fullness.

Low in Calories: Sarson Ka Saag is relatively low in calories, making it a great choice for those looking to manage their weight or reduce calorie intake while still enjoying a flavorful and satisfying meal.

An Iron Powerhouse: Leafy greens like mustard greens and spinach are rich sources of plant-based iron. While the iron in plant-based foods (non-heme iron) is not as readily absorbed by the body as heme iron from animal sources, consuming Sarson ka Saag alongside vitamin C-rich foods can enhance iron absorption.

Image

While Sarson ka Saag is indubitably delightful, it is rarely ever served or had by its own, especially when a rich tapestry of complementary dishes is right at hand:

Makki ki Roti: We all have heard about the notorious duo ‘Sarson da Saag aur Makke di Roti’ in Bollywood and beyond, and this marriage has a very good reason. Makki ki roti is a traditional corn flatbread that pairs perfectly with Sarson ka Saag. The earthy and slightly sweet taste of maize flour delightfully complements the spiciness of the saag.

Bajre ki Roti: This is another fantastic accompaniment that pairs beautifully with Sarson ka Saag. Bajre ki roti is a traditional Indian flatbread made from pearl millet flour, and its rustic, nutty flavor complements the depth of the Sarson ka Saag flavors.

Pickles: Spicy or tangy pickles, such as mango pickle or mixed vegetable pickles, also provide a delightful contrast to the saag's rich flavors.

Chaas (Buttermilk): A glass of chilled buttermilk is a refreshing and cooling beverage that balances the spiciness of the saag and aids in digestion.

Lassi: A sweet or salty yogurt-based drink like lassi can be a soothing and refreshing beverage to enjoy alongside Sarson ka Saag.

Jaggery: Some people like to enjoy Sarson ka Saag with a small piece of jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) for a touch of sweetness that balances the bitterness of the greens.

Papad: Crispy papad (thin, seasoned flatbreads) can add a satisfying crunch to your Sarson ka Saag meal,further enriching your 100% desi meal.


Photo: Shutterstock

POPULAR ON ZEST