Sarson Ka Saag

Saag is a Hindi term for a dish prepared with leafy green vegetables (yes, I am back with my love for yet another leafy green vegetable). This time, it is with Mustard Greens or known as Sarson in Hindi. This beautiful dish originates from the Northern Indian state of Punjab and is a staple during the cold winter months. Every household is known to have its own recipe, just like any other traditional family favorite.



Mustard Greens have always intrigued me. They look similar to Kale but are much more delicate with their frilly, ruffled look. Unlike the Kale or Spinach, Mustard Greens have a sharp, peppery flavor which mellows after cooking but is still distinct. To further cut through the peppery flavor, these greens are cooked with a combination of other greens (Spinach in this case). Mustard Greens are packed with a variety of nutrients such as antioxidants, iron and calcium (just like its other green counterparts). And yes, mustard seeds come from the mustard plant! But that story is for another day.



The preparation of Sarson ka Saag has always intimidated me because to me it has always been a special, authentic Punjabi dish. And I did not want to try it and ruin the glorious dish that it is. But, with some research, some inspiration, my mum’s help and a slow step-by-step approach, the end result was an uber delicious and creamy Sarson ka Saag. My husband loves Palak Paneer and I am quite sure that he will love this saag too. And he can eat a larger variety of leafy greens. It is a win-win for both of us 🙂 While this dish is typically served with Makai Ki Roti (Rotis made out of Maize Flour), we decided to stick to simple rotis, just to relish the first time preparation of the Sarson Ka Saag.

Prep time10 minutes
Cook time30 minutes
Serves4

Ingredients

Vegetables and Greens

  • Mustard Greens – 1 bunch, roughly chopped
  • Spinach – 1 bunch, roughly chopped
  • Onions – 1 medium, finely chopped

Spices and Herbs

  • Garlic – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Ginger – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Green Chillies – 2 tbsp, finely chopped/crushed
  • Salt – As per taste

Other

  • Chickpea Flour – 2-3 tbsp

Oils

  • Mustard Oil – 3-4 tbsp

Food safety tip: Leafy green vegetables are notorious for bacterial contamination because of how and where they are grown, of course. So, make absolutely sure that every leaf is thoroughly washed by holding it under cold water for 30 seconds. If you placed the uncleaned leafs on a cutting board or in an empty container, make sure to wash them before re-using them.


Ingredient notes

  • Typically Maize Flour is used as a thickening agent. But since I did not have that readily available, I used Chickpea Flour and it worked just fine
  • Although any other cooking oil can be used, Mustard Oil adds a distinct, authentic flavor to the dish
  • Mustard greens are either available as bunch at Indian grocery stores or they are available as packed, washed and ready-to-eat greens at other US grocery stores such as Kroger, Publix or Whole foods
  • Bathua (Scientific Name: Chenopodium Album) is another green leafy vegetable that is cultivated in Northern India and is an integral part of traiditonal Sarson ka Saag. But I skipped it in this recipe because it is not readily available in the US

Method

  1. Place the roughly chopped greens in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Cook the greens for 5 whistles on a pressure cooker. If using an Instant Pot, you can cook the greens for 5-7 minutes on high pressure mode
  2. Once it is cooked, churn the greens either using a hand blender or another blender. The consistency is your choice, I like mine to be slightly chunky and not completely smooth
  3. In a pan, heat mustard oil
  4. To the heated mustard oil, add chopped garlic and ginger. Fry these until they have browned well
  5. Then add onions and green chillies and fry again until the onions turn translucent
  6. To this, add the churned greens, salt and mix well
  7. Add the chickpea flour, mix well to make sure there are no lumps
  8. Close the lid and simmer the saag on medium heat for 15 minutes
  9. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with a dollop of butter and red chillies and serve with hot rotis

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