Sarson da Saag – A Great Mustard Greens Curry from Punjab

Sarson da Saag with Makki di Roti
Sarson da Saag with Makki di Roti

Anybody growing up in India in the 1980s would remember Vijaya Butter’s jingle that went:

Gimme gimme gimme, Vijaya Butter
On idli-dosa even samosa,
M
akki di roti te sarson da saag
Wah ki swaad!”

I knew of Makki di Roti and Sarson da Saag even before that but it was this ad that made me want to eat it. And savour it soon I did because of the generosity of Kapoor Aunty. (For my non-Indian friends, we Indians address all older friends and neighbours as Uncle and Aunty or the Indian equivalents such as Mama-Mami, Kaka-Kaki, etc. etc. :-))

Kapoor Aunty lived in the same apartment complex as us and it is from here that we learnt some of the finer points of Punjabi cooking.

I have had Sarson da Saag many times after that but have never attempted to make it. Last Sunday, I was just completing my walk when I saw my regular sabzi-wala unloading fresh greens of all sorts. I was actually looking for Gongura but could not find any. Then I spotted Sarson, Bathua, Methi, and thought why not make Sarson da Saag.

I am glad I gave in to the impulse because I was able to make this delectable curry along with Makki di Roti. The perfect meal on a wintery Mumbai evening!

While the name is Sarson da Saag (or Curry with Mustard Greens), this dish as so many other greens (fenugreek, radish, goosefoot, and spinach) that not only is it super-delicious, it is also super-healthy!

Serves: 4 to 6

Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Sarson or Mustard Greens – 1 Large Bunch (~20 large leaves)
  2. Palak or Spinach – 1/2 Large Bunch (~ 8 Large Leaves)
  3. Mooli ke Patte or Radish Leaves – 1/4 small bunch (~ 4 Large Leaves)
  4. Methi or Fenugreek Leaves – 1 Packed Cup
  5. Bathua or Goosefoot Leaves – 2/3 Packed Cup
  6. Tomato – 2 Large
  7. Onion – 2 Large + 1 Small
  8. Garlic – 8 Cloves
  9. Ginger – 2″ Knob
  10. Green Chillies – 2
  11. Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  12. Hing or Asafoetida – 1 Large Pinch
  13. White Butter – 1 tsp (optional)
  14. Ghee – 1 tsp (Vegans can use oil)
  15. Maize Flour (Makki Atta) – 2 tbsp
  16. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Finely chop the small onion and set aside.
  2. Roughly chop the onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chillies and all the greens.
  3. Pressure cook the onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chillies and all greens with about 3 cups water.
  4. Let the greens cool.
  5. Drain the excess water, if any. Save about 2 cups of the water.
  6. Grind the greens to a coarse paste.
  7. Add maize flour, red chilli powder, asafoetida, and salt.
  8. Mix well.
  9. In a heavy-bottomed vessel, cook the greens paste along with 1 cup of the water saved in step 5.
  10. Bring to a simmer.
  11. In a wok, heat the ghee.
  12. Add the chopped onion and stir-fry till the edges start to brown.
  13. Add to the Sarson da Saag.
  14. Mix well.
  15. Garnish with white butter.
  16. Serve hot with Makki di Roti.
Sarson da Saag and Makki di Roti
Sarson da Saag and Makki di Roti

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