Sarson Ka Saag
Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
Serves: 4 persons
Sarson ka saag is a very popular traditional winter dish from Punjab, known popularly as SARSON DA SAAG in Punjab. It is basically a blend of mustard leaves (sarson) with spinach leaves, which gives it a creamy texture and a very distinctive taste. Sarson ka saag is nice green creamy curry which is served with makka ki roti.
Sarson ka saag is prepared and relished in winters, as mustard and other greens are easily available during winters and the quality of these ingredients is better in winters.
I’m from Uttar Pradesh. In UP, we make bhujia with winter’s green leafy vegetables like sarson, mooli or palak. My mother never made sarson ka saag at home. But, I had tasted sarson ka saag at my friends’ place and I loved it. But I didn’t know how to make it.
Just after my marriage in 1984, I visited my youngest sister-in-law for almost one month. My brother-in-law was in the Air Force, posted to an air force station called ‘Memaura’ near Lucknow. At that time, it was only an air force base and nothing was available nearby. There was nothing much to do. So, for shopping or recreation we went to ‘Hat’ (a local village market), once in a week, by bicycle to buy fresh vegetables market and various other things. By the way, I forgot to tell you that, at that time my husband was posted in Bombay, where vegetables were expensive beyond imagination like 20/- for 250gm of vegetable. Also, we didn’t get the local UP vegetables. So, whenever we visited UP, I loved to buy vegetables from the local market.
Now, coming back to my story. When I was going to the haat for the first time for the market with neighbours’ children, my sister-in-law warned me “Buy only the vegetables you require. Don’t start buying everything only because it is cheap. Don’t get tempted when you see cauliflowers selling for Rs.1 or lauki for 50 paise. I happily said “OK, Didi I will keep your advice in my mind.” But when I reached the haat and finished buying vegetables, I found that I had bought two bags of vegetables for Rs.25 only. I happily loaded the bags on my cycle and started back.
Soon, I reached home. I proudly told my sister-in-law that I had kept her advice in mind and had spent only Rs.25 on vegetables but when I started arranging the vegetables on our dining table I found that the vegetables had covered the entire table. Didi felt overwhelmed. She said: “What would we do with these vegetables? I think we should open a vegetable shop.” I felt really ashamed. Even today, I wonder at my innocence whenever I remember this incident.
You would be thinking if this incident has any relation with sarson ke saag. There is a deep relation. Next day morning, Didi told me that X, the wife of a Sikh officer was a good friend of hers. Didi then said: “X makes very tasty sarson ka saag. Take all your saag to her place and make sarson ka saag for all of us.” This very sweet punishment taught me the recipe for making authentic sarson ka saag.
I am sharing this recipe with you. I hope you would like it.
Ingredients for Sarson Ka Saag:
1. Mustard leaves (sarson ka saag) - 1 bunch (250gm)
2. Spinach (palak) - ½ bunch (100gm)
3. Turnip (shalgam)- 2 medium
4. Carrot (gajar)- 1 small
5. Onion - 2 medium
6. Garlic- 7 to 8 cloves
7. Ginger 1 ½ inch
8. Green chillies - 3 to 4
9. Tomatoes - 2
10. Cumin seeds - 1tsp
11. Hing (asafoetida)- ½ tsp
12. Red chilli powder - 1tsp
13. Salt to taste
14. Makka ka atta – 2 tbsp
15. Ghee – 3 tbsp
16. Butter – 1 tbsp
1. Chop and clean all the greens. Chop off the lower end of the mustard stems just a few centimetres from the base. Some mustard stems are hard, take only the soft part of stem and peel it. Put these peeled stem in the saag. This will give a very nice taste to saag.
2. Washing the greens is the tough. You have to wash the greens really well, especially the mustard greens to get rid of the mud or soil clinging to the stems. I did this task in batches.
3. Now take some water in a pan. When water starts boiling add washed greens with vegetables. Let it boil for some time.
4. Remove the boiled vegetables from the water. Let them cool.
5. Put all the vegetables in a mixer and make a paste. Keep this paste aside.
6. Now, chop the onion and tomatoes. Crush garlic, ginger and green chillies.
7. Now, take a wok and heat it. Put 2tbsp ghee in the wok and keep 1 tbsp aside for tadka ( tempering). When the ghee becomes warm add cumin seeds( zeera) and hing (asafoetida) to it. When zeera starts cracking add chopped onions. Stir it until the onions become pinkish.
8. Now add crushed ginger garlic and green chillies. Stir them for some time.
9. Now add chopped tomatoes. This is, however, optional if you don’t want to add tomatoes then you can skip this step.
10. Add salt and red chilli powder. Bhuno ( roast) this masala nicely until ghee separates from the masala.
11. Now, add saag paste in it. Add one cup of water. Mix it well. When saag starts boiling put the gas on simmer Let them cook at least 15-20 min.
12. Now take makka ka atta in a bowl. Add some water to it. Make a paste and add this paste to the saag. Mix it well. If you feel that saag is too thick, add some water to it. (If you don't have makka ka atta, use besan in place of that)
13. Now cook this saag on a slow flame for at least an hour. Stir occasionally.
14. The saag is ready when it becomes thick and creamy. Turn off the gas.
15. Remove the saag in a bowl.
Method for making Tadka:
1. Now make some tadka. Take a tadka pan add 1tbsp ghee to it. Add zeera and red chilli powder when ghee becomes hot.
2. Put this tadka on the saag. Put some butter on top of the tadka.
3. Now serve this saag with hot makka ki roti with butter. Nothing can beat this combination. But you can serve this saag with paranthas or rice also.
1. Never throw away the tender stems of mustard leaves. Peel them and add them with leaves. This will give a very nice taste to the saag.
2. You can add bathua or mooli ka saag also with palak and sarson. Because the flavor and taste in the saag comes predominantly from mustard greens. The saag has a bitter and pungent taste of mustard, which are subdued by the presence of spinach and bathua.
3. Always boil saag in an open vessel. Put saag in the water when it starts boiling for a few minutes. This will preserve the green colour of the sag.
4. It takes a lot of labour to make saag. So, make the saag in bulk and keep it in a fridge. When you want to eat it, take out a small portion add some water, heat it properly on a flame (try to avoid heating it in microwave) and put a fresh tadka on it. This will give a fresh taste to the saag.