How to Make Sarson da Saag: A Traditional Punjabi Delicacy

Sarson da Saag is a traditional Punjabi dish made from mustard greens and spinach, seasoned with a variety of spices. It is typically served with Makki di Roti (cornmeal flatbread) and is a favorite during the winter months. This hearty and nutritious dish is rich in flavor and is a staple in Punjabi cuisine. Here’s a detailed guide on how to make Sarson da Saag at home.

Ingredients

For the Saag:

  • 500 grams mustard greens (sarson)
  • 250 grams spinach (palak)
  • 100 grams fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maize flour (makki ka atta)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste

For Serving:

  • Makki di Roti (cornmeal flatbread)
  • Butter or ghee for garnish

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Greens

  1. Clean and Wash: Thoroughly clean and wash the mustard greens, spinach, and fenugreek leaves. Drain the water.
  2. Chop the Greens: Roughly chop all the greens.

Step 2: Cook the Greens

  1. Boil the Greens: In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the chopped greens and cook for 8-10 minutes until they are tender.
  2. Drain and Cool: Drain the cooked greens and let them cool. Reserve some of the cooking water for later use.
  3. Blend the Greens: Once cooled, blend the greens to a coarse paste using a blender or food processor. Add some reserved cooking water if needed to achieve a smooth consistency.

Step 3: Prepare the Saag

  1. Heat Butter/Ghee: In a large pan or kadhai, heat the butter or ghee over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  2. Add Aromatics: Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, and chopped green chilies. Sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add Onions: Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  4. Add Spices: Add turmeric powder and red chili powder. Mix well.
  5. Cook the Greens: Add the blended greens to the pan. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Thicken the Saag: Sprinkle the maize flour over the greens and mix well to thicken the saag. Add salt to taste.
  7. Simmer: Cover the pan and let the saag simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add some reserved cooking water if the saag becomes too thick.

Step 4: Serve

  1. Garnish: Transfer the saag to a serving bowl. Top it with a dollop of butter or ghee.
  2. Serve Hot: Serve the Sarson da Saag hot with Makki di Roti on the side.

Tips for Perfect Sarson da Saag

  1. Fresh Greens: Use fresh and tender greens for the best flavor and texture.
  2. Proper Blending: Blend the greens to a coarse paste for the authentic texture of Sarson da Saag.
  3. Simmering Time: Let the saag simmer for a sufficient amount of time to allow the flavors to meld together.
  4. Serving Fresh: Serve the saag hot with a generous amount of butter or ghee for a rich and creamy taste.

Variations of Sarson da Saag

  1. Addition of Radish: Add grated radish to the greens for a different flavor.
  2. Mixed Greens: Combine other greens like bathua (Chenopodium) with mustard and spinach for added nutrition.
  3. Spicy Saag: Increase the amount of green chilies and red chili powder for a spicier version.

Nutritional Benefits

  1. Rich in Vitamins: Mustard greens and spinach are rich in vitamins A, C, and K.
  2. High in Fiber: The greens provide a good amount of dietary fiber, aiding digestion.
  3. Antioxidants: The greens contain antioxidants that help in maintaining overall health.

Conclusion

Sarson da Saag is a beloved Punjabi dish that combines the goodness of leafy greens with the warmth of Indian spices. Making Sarson da Saag at home allows you to enjoy this traditional dish fresh and hot, especially during the winter months. By following this detailed recipe, you can create a flavorful and nutritious saag that will be a hit with your family and friends. Serve it with Makki di Roti and a dollop of butter, and relish the authentic taste of Punjab!

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