Makki di Roti and sarson da saag is a match made in heaven. This is the most commonly prepared lunch in Punjabi households in winter due to the abundance of green leafy vegetables. It is also enjoyed throughout Haryana and Himachal as well. This has become such a popular dish today, that it is easily available in North Indian restaurants all over the country and abroad as well.

People make several variations of the sarson da saag and I am sticking to the basic recipe for now. I will, however, keep highlighting the variations within the recipe. For example, a lot of people boil half a radish or a turnip (shalgam) while boiling the leaves to give it more substance and thickness. It also renders that pungent flavor that these veggies have and goes very well with the mustard leaves.

I also add spinach leaves in my saag as without adding them the flavor of the mustard leaves alone is very overpowering and might not be liked by all. Adding spinach leaves lowers that due to the high moisture content in it. You could also add some methi leaves as well since they give a nice flavor.

COOKING TIME: 45-50 minutes

Sarson da Saag

1. Mustard Leaves (Sarson ke patte) – ½ kg
2. Spinach leaves (palak) – 250gms
3. Bathua & Methi – 100 gms
4. Ginger – 5 inch piece
5. Green Chillis – 2-3
6. Chickpea flour (besan) – 1 tablespoon
7. Onion – 1, medium
8. Tomatoes – 3, large
9. Garlic – 4-5 pods
10. Dry chilli – 2
11. Cumin – 1 teaspoon
12. Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
13. Coriander powder – 1.5 tablespoons
14. Ghee – 2 tablespoons
15. Salt – to taste

1. Remove the stalks from all the leafy veggies. Also remove any yellow-ish leaves.
2. Thoroughly wash the veggies under running water. You might need to wash them twice or more depending on how dirty they were.
3. Roughly chop the leaves and add them to a big pressure cooker.
4. Don’t worry if you have a lot of leaves, just press them and add more.
5. Add peeled and chopped ginger and 2 chillis as well. You might add a half a radish or turnip if you like.
6. Place the lid and keep it on a high flame till one whistle. Lower the flame and allow it to cook for 4-5 minutes and then remove it from the heat.
7. Once the pressure is released, open the lid and allow it to cool for 3-4 minutes.
8. With a hand blender, blend in the boiled saag. You could keep a slightly grainy/chunky consistency if you like or make it into a smooth puree.
9. In a bowl, take a tablespoon of besan and add ½ cup water to it and mix well.
10. Add this slurry to the pureed saag mix and keep it on a low flame. You could cover the saag with a plate and keep stirring constantly every 3-4 minutes.
11. Allow it to thicken slightly and the besan to loose its rawness.
12. On a separate flame, place a pan and add 2 tablespoons of ghee to it.
13. Add some cumin seeds once the ghee is hot and allow them to crackle.
14. Add the red dried chillies and then add finely chopped onions and keep stirring.
15. In the meantime, puree 3 tomatoes along with a few garlic pods.
16. Once the onions have started browning, add the tomato-garlic puree to it.
17. Also add some turmeric and coriander powder.
18. Allow it to cook on low heat for 5 minutes or so till the tomatoes are perfectly cooked and leave the sides of the pan.
19. Once the saag is cooked on low flame for 10-12 minutes, the besan would have cooked properly, add the tomato-onion tadka to it and mix well.
20. Serve hot with a dollop of ghee along with makki/bajre ki roti, lassi and some gur/jaggery.

Isn’t this such a hearty meal?