Sarsoon ka Saag (mustard leaves) is a quintessential Punjabi dish, usually paired up with the makki di roti (corn flatbread) and eaten during winter evenings! Ah, the joys of makki di roti and sarsoon ka saag!
Thanks to Bollywood and commercialisation of Punjabi food, Sarsoon ka saag and makki ki roti needs no introduction. There are enough movies showing us the lead couple romancing in the fields where the yellow mustard flowers are in full bloom. While most food that get the attention might not stand up to their popularity, this particular does.
Like regular readers of this blog have heard multiple times, all my life I have tried to run away from my roots. I have done all I could to avoid anything that tied me to my “Punjabiness”. Whether it is avoiding food, language or festivals. Story is a different now, while I am growing older. But one thing I couldn’t avoid even in my most rebellious phase was this winter special dish.
Sarsoon ka saag and makki ki roti have a special place in my heart. It is a dish that I crave all year and which makes me do cartwheels for the arrival of winter. The gorgeous greens boiled and mashed (we call it ghotna, basically the hand mashed to a near puree consistency). The greens are then sauteed in ginger, onions, tomatoes & spices. Served with curd, salad, pickle, makki (maize flour) ki roti and a bit of shakkar (powdered jaggery) and ofcourse the trademark of Punjab – a dollop of white butter. I don’t think my young mind understood this but the dish is a fine example of balance of flavours and texture. And it provides the perfect nutrition for the bitterly cold Punjab winters.
Tips to make best Sarsoon ka Saag
I learnt to make saag from my mother, who according to me makes the best saag in the whole universe. But I am ok if you want to say your mother does, we can claim they are the best in their own universes. Jokes apart, here are a few things I have learnt from her which has lead me to make brilliant saag every time.
- The star of the show here really are leaves and if they are not perfect, your saag won’t be either. So select leaves which are green and don’t have many blemishes, or haven’t turned yellow. A fresh mustard leaf will also have a stem which isn’t very thick or split.
- We typically always mix bathua and some palak while boiling the saag. It adds a bit of body and cuts down on the slight bitterness of the saag. Now, my luck with finding bathua in Bangalore has been not great. So overtime I have figure out a mix of greens that work very well as bathua replacement. For every 100 gms of bathua replace it with 50 grams of khatta palak, 50 grams of radish leaves and a handful of dill leaves. It works as a perfect substitute, giving a very bathua like flavour and texture.
- Always throw in one chopped turnip while boiling the saag. I love the flavour twist it brings and this is not my invention, it has been followed in Punjab forever.
- Never ever grind the boiled saag in a mixer, always mash or like we say in Punjab “ghoto” with the help of a wooden madhani. Grinding it in a mixer will change the flavour a bit and also make the saag a bit stikcy and goey.
And if you keep these four things in mind, you will be all set to crack this delicious dish.
Makki Ki Roti
And if you want to learn how to make makki ki rotis, stay tuned! I have a complete Makki Ki Roti 101 coming up soon, where I will show you how to make it three ways!
Sarsoon Ka Saag
- 300 gms Sarsoon leaves cleaned and chopped
- 100 gms bathua leaves cleaned and chopped
- 100 gms palak leaves cleaned and chopped
- 1 small turnip (optional but highly recomended)
- 2 onions chopped
- 3 tomatoes chopped
- 2 inch ginger chopped
- 2 tsp mustard oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 2 Green Chilies
- Pressure cook the mustard, turnip, palak & bathua leaves with a little water, salt and turmeric. After one whistle, lower the flame and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Yes it takes a long time to cook. After 30 mins switch off the gas and wait for steam to escape fully before opening the cooker.
- After opening the cooker, coarsely mash the boiled leaves with the help of a potato masher or madhani (the wooden instrument to make butter out of milk). Keep aside.
- In a separate pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds and fry till they brown a little.
- Add ginge and green chillies to it and fry for one minute, add onions to it and fry it slightly brown in color.
- Add tomatoes and fry for about 5 mins till they start leaving oil.
- At this stage, add the chilli powder and the boiled and mashed leaves. Saute for about 5-10 minutes and serve hot with makki di roti.
If you make the sarsoon ka saag, share a picture with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook? I would love to hear what you have to say about it
PS – This is a post from Jan 2011 which has been updated with new photos and re-published.
Woww Mons! So much of travel – u know am J of u dnt u 😉
And wowie! U scheduled posts till the 31st – super cool 🙂
I luvvvvvvvvvvv sarson ka saag Mons. Thankfully, I get the leaves pretty often at a store nearyby – fresh ones which make my day 🙂
So nice of ur maid 🙂 Pls to prepare this one for me next time when I come over to ur place 😛 😛
Wishing u a gr8 time at alllll those places and weddings Mons 🙂
Look and feel good and come bk with loads of pics 😉
I want to make this but cant find these greens around here..Lucky you!!Looks tempting 🙂
this is the one dish/combo i’m DYING to eat 🙁 u let me know if u make this again and i will turn up at your doorstep even if i’m on the next planet!! please.
you have a nice holiday and take lots of pics!! have fun.
Have to try this saag sometime… heard a lot about it and yet to taste it!
very healthy and delicious sarsoon ka saag…
Looks great Mons..always wanted to make this..never did till now..you enjoy your vacation..
Praveen Kumar says
My favourite recipe with Rotis
Anjali Midha says
Sarso ka saag doesn’t really need any garam masala because all the leafy vegetables have such a powerful taste. You can skip the onions as well. Try and add only green chillies when you boil the vegetables and season with salt when tempering it with tomatoes. 🙂