The very first time I ate Sarso Ka Saag (Mustard Greens Curry) was in a restaurant. My friend had ordered it. I went with the typical chicken butter masala. I was not much of a food fanatic. And used to order only those dishes that I was acquainted with. My friend, being a Punjabi, couldn’t pass sarso ka saag. And as expected, she paired it with makki ki roti. When the food arrived, my facial expression offended my friend a little. To me, it looked like blob of green with yellow rubber-like breads. I was so ignorant back then. I did take a couple bites but was not too impressed.
You grow up eating certain kind of meals and then when you marry someone from a different culture. And your palate starts discovering new flavors. There are so many different kind of dishes that I learnt to eat, appreciate and even cook, only after I met Arvind. Sarso ka Saag is one such example. It took a while for me to enjoy those flavors. Or you could say that my taste bud matured with age.
This classic Punjabi dish is one of a kind winter specialty. Sarso ka Saag may not appear as one of those pretty looking dishes, but you have to get pass the look and give it a try. Mustard greens have the rich peppery flavor. With the other spices and combination of greens that go in the preparation, the saag comes out wonderful. There is not much texture hence makki ki roti is a perfect pairing combination. It is not fluffy like other Indian breads, but more rustic.
The mustard greens we get here are quite tender so it doesn’t take a long time to cook. And the flowers are so pretty that I couldn’t resist adding it as a garnish. These flowers are edible and you could add it while preparing the saag too.
- 1 bunch mustard greens
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ inch ginger, finely chopped
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium size tomato, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/8 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 dry red chilies
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/8 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon corn meal
- Boil enough water in a pot to boil both the greens. Drop the mustard greens first as it will take more time than spinach. Once the mustard greens softens, drop the spinach and boil for couple more minutes. Drain the greens and once cooled enough, blend it to form a smooth or coarse puree.
- In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee and drop the bay leaf, garlic, ginger and onion. Sprinkle some salt, turmeric and sauté for a couple of minutes, or until the onion is mildly brown in shade and the raw smell is gone.
- Add tomato, followed by cumin powder, coriander powder and chili powder. Cook for a couple of more minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked through.
- Pour the pureed greens and give it a stir. Check for salt and add any, if required. Cook for a couple more minutes and finally sprinkle garam masala and corn meal. Give it another stir and cook for one more minute. At this point, give it a taste and if you prefer it spicy, add more chili powder.
- Once you are ready to serve, heat one tablespoon of ghee in a small pan, sprinkle cumin seeds and dry red chili. Once the spice sizzles, pour it on top of the saag and serve warm.
If the leaves are rough and too large, you might need to chop it roughly and cook it for a longer time.