Winter greens and sarson ka saag
All good things come to those who wait. I think this saying must have been coined by a cook. I keep reminding myself of this when I am cleaning winter greens for sarson ka saag. It is such a time consuming process. Literally translated sarson ka saag means mustard greens. They are beautiful, dark leafy greens which have a slightly peppery flavour to them. They predominantly flavour the dish, but they are not the only ingredient. Traditionally bathua or chenopodium, spinach and some fenugreek (methi leaves) are added. I add radish greens, turnip greens and whole turnips, peeled. I also add carrot greens.
These are all the greens I got from the farmer’s market
Of course everyone has their own recipe of sarson saag. Here is how I make it. The rule of the thumb is 1:1:2
One portion of mustard leaves to half portion of bathua and half portion of spinach. To this mix I add half portion carrot greens, half portion methi and all the turnip greens attached to the one turnip I put in. To this mix I also add carrot greens and radish greens (one quarter portion each).
Step one : Chop and clean all the greens. Mustard stems are tough. It is advisable to discard them. Luckily I had really tender ones this time.
Step two : Wash and clean them. They have a lot of dirt in them. Take your time doing this.
Step three : Drain them well, add your turnip, radish, onion, tomatoes, ginger and garlic.
Step four : Add salt, green chilies, red chili powder, asafoetida & salt
Step five : Cover and cook well for four to five minutes. Let them stay in the pressure cooker until they are really tender.
Step six : Put them in your blender and blend them.
Step seven : Add some maize flour (not to be confused with corn flour). This is yellowish and coarse flour used to cook makki ki roti. I omit this step since I do not eat maize on my paleo diet. It does give a creamy texture to the saag. I find that adding turnips gives a similar texture so I use boiled turnip in place of maize.
Step eight : Put it back on low heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring in between to ensure it does not stick to the pan.
NOTE : After this step you can either freeze the saag for having later. I normally divide the saag into two portions. One I freeze for eating later. The rest I temper and serve.
Step nine : In a fry pan, heat some oil, add whole cumin whole coriander and some dry chilli, once they splutter, add grated ginger and garlic. Now add some chopped onions and coriander powder. Roast till onions are browned. Add the sag and cook.
- 1 bunch mustard leaves/sarson
- ½ bunch bathua leaves/chenopodium
- ½ bunch spinach leaves/palak
- 1 cup chopped tender radish leaves/mooli ke patte
- 2 to 3 inches white radish root/mooli`
- 2 turnips along with the greens
- 1 cup carrot greens chopped (optional)
- 1 cup fenugreek/methi leaves, chopped
- 2 medium sized onions, chopped
- 3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
- 2 inch ginger, chopped
- 2 green chilies, chopped
- 7-8 garlic, chopped
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- a generous pinch or two of asafoetida or ¼ tsp asafoetida powder
- 2 to 3 cups water
- 2 tbsp maize flour (if using)
- salt as required
- For the tempering of half the saag prepared
- One inch ginger grated
- Four cloves of garlic
- Half teaspoon cumin seeds
- Half teaspoon coriander seeds
- One teaspoon coriander powder
- One dry chilli
- Clean and chop all the greens.
- Wash them well
- Pressure cook all the ingredients apart from those listed under tempering. Do not add the maize flour for at least three whistles.
- Let it stay in the pressure cooker until cooled.
- Add maize flour and blend the greens along with the juices in your blender.
- Cook on low flame for 20-25 minutes.
- In another pan, first fry the seeds, add the ginger and garlic.
- Once that is cooked, add onions.
- Brown it.
- Add it to the saag.
- Serve hot with a dollop of butter (preferably white) on the top
- Goes well with makki roti.
- For a person on a paleo diet, it goes well with sama rice or little millet.