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Today we move on from Rawalpindi in Punjab, Pakistan to Punjab India. For the third combo of the week, I have one of the most famous food combos from the state of Punjab, sarson ka saag with makki ka roti. This combo is favorite among the locals in Punjab, both in India & Pakistan. Saag is green leaf vegetable curry. Sarso is mustard and sarson ka saag is mustard leaves curry. Mustard leaves are seasonal and available only in winters. These leaves are bitter in taste and to mellow the bitterness, it is cooked with other leafy vegetables such as spinach. Bathua known as lamb’s quarters in english is also added to sarson ka saag along with spinach. Since I could not get my hands on bathua, I used only spinach.
I made makki ka roti to go with the saag. I made it over the weekend for myself and had some leftover saag. That evening I had only saag and Mr.U reluctantly ate it with roti. He liked the saag so much that roti & saag was his lunch the following day. He kept on saying that he liked this green curry and would not mind eating it once in a while. Next time I make it, I will cut back on butter but wonder if it would taste this good with less butter 🙁
Saag was very spicy and please adjust the seasoning to taste and I substituted mustard leaves with broccoli rabe. Next day this was my lunch; roti, sarson ka saag, beans fry, sliced cucumber and onion. Below is the Instagram picture of my lunch.
Makki De Roti recipe here
Sarson da Saag
Adapted from: Ribbons’s to Pasta
Cooking the Greens –
- 100 grams Mustard Leaves or Sarso, chopped or 2 ¾ cup chopped Mustard Leaves (I used broccoli rabe ~ Rapini)
- 50 – 70 grams Spinach, chopped or 1 ¾ cup chopped Spinach
- 2 – 3 Green Chilies (Though I used 3, I would recommend 2 chilies)
- ¾” Ginger chopped or 1 ½ – 2 tsp. chopped Ginger
- 1-2 Cloves of Garlic (I used 2 big cloves)
- 1 medium sized or 150 grams Tomato chopped, about ¾ cup when chopped
- 1 ½ – 2 cups Water (I used 2 cups but recommend 1 ½ cups)
- 1 – 1 ½ tbsp. Oil
- ½ medium sized Onion chopped or ⅓ cup chopped Onions
- 2 tsp.Ginger Garlic Paste
- ½ tsp. Coriander Powder
- ½ tsp. Chili Powder
- ¼ tsp. Garam Masala (I used store bought garam masala)
- 1 tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp. Jeera Powder
- 1 tbsp. Makki ka Atta ~ Maize Flour (I used yellow corn flour from the Indian store)
- 2 – 3 tsp. Butter (I used 2 tsp.)
- 1 tsp Butter + 1 tsp. Oil (can use butter instead of oil)
- ⅛ Hing ~ Asafoetida
- ¼ – ½ tsp. Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
- Cooking the greens – I used broccoli rabe instead of mustard leaves. Pluck the leaves and discard the stem. Trim the ends of the spinach. The measures listed in the ingredient list is after trimming and plucking the leaves.
- Wash the leaves several times to wash away the dirt from the greens.
- Take the green leaves, green chilies, chopped ginger, garlic and tomatoes in a pressure cook with 1 ½ – 2 cups water. I used 2 cups and after pressure cooking felt 1 ½ cups or less would have been sufficient.
- Pressure cook until the greens are soft and mushy. I pressure cooked for 5 whistles, reduce the flame to low and cooked for additional 3 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally. When the greens cool down, put in a blend and puree it. Do not make a fine paste and keep it on the coarse side. One can use an immersion blender to puree the cooked greens.
- Seasoning – Heat oil in a pan and saute onion until translucent.
- Add ginger garlic and saute until the raw smell is gone.
- Add coriander powder, chili powder, salt, cumin powder, garam masala and mix well.
- Add cooked greens, mix well and bring to a boil.
- Mix maize flour with 1 – 2 tbsp of water and make a paste.
- Gradually add maize flour paste along with butter and mix well.
- Reduce the heat and cook until butter floats and the curry reaches the required consistency. I cooked for about 7 – 10 minutes.
- Tempering – In a separate pan heat butter + oil in a pan. Add all the ingredients listed under tempering.
- Pour it over the saag and serve it with makki ka roti, sliced onion and cucumber, and a glass of lassi or buttermilk.
- Mustard leaves are bitter in taste and a good substitute is broccoli rabe, which is also bitter in taste. In fact, the Indian store where I do my groceries had labeled broccoli rabe as saag.
- To mellow the bitterness of the mustard leaves, spinach is used. 2:1 mustard leaves to spinach is used and if bathua is used, the ratio is 4:2:1 mustard leaves to spinach to bathua.
- A small piece of turnip can also be used. Chop and cook the turnip along with the greens.
- My saag was very spice and as we love spicy food, we relished it. Please adjust spices to owns heat tolerance level.
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