Friday, 3 January 2014

Sarson Ka Saag

Sarson Ka Saag
Makke ki roti, Sarson ka Saag and Chas
Sarson (Mustard) leafs are tangy in taste and fresh leafs when are cut exude the smell of mustard. In northern India Sarson ka saag is very popular in winters. Season leafy vegetables like Bathua/Chinopodium Album (lambs quarter/Melde), spinach are added to mustard leafs and then cooked to make Saag. Most popular in Punjab the combination of Sarson ka Saag and Makke (Corn flour) ki roti has caught up the taste of taste buds of people all over India. Rich in calcium, Iron, and many micro nutrients like vitamin A, Vitamin B Sarson ka saag is extremely tasty. I love to eat this saag not only with Makke ki roti but also with Jowar (Sorghum) flour roti (Bhakri) also. In winter season it is helpful in fighting the biting cold of north and dollop of butter provides not only taste but the most required calories in winter season especially by farmers and people doing out door work. Nature has gifted us seasonal fruits and vegetables so make maximum use of them and avail health benefit.
Preparation Time: 30 min.
Cooking Time: 45 min
Servings: 8 Large servings 
Ingredients Required For Making Sarson Ka Saag:
  • 250 gm. Fresh Mustard sprigs/Sarson (One Medium size bunch)
  •  250 gm. Spinach sprigs (Palak)
Palak (Spinach)
  •  250 gm. Bathua (Melde) sprigs
Bathua (Melde)
  •  100 gm. Onion
  • 50 gm. Garlic Paste
  • 50 gm. Ginger Paste
  • 250 gm. Red Ripe Tomatoes
  • 2 Teaspoon Dhuli Urd Dal (Urd dal without chaff)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 7-8 Whole Red chilies
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chili powder to taste
  • 2 Teaspoon Garam masala
  • 50-75 gm. Makke ka Aata unrefined corn flour (8-10 teaspoons)
Directions For Making Sarson Ka Saag:
  • Cut onions and tomatoes finely.
  • Clean Sarson, Bathua, Palak of roots/yellow and decayed leaves/Hard stalk.
  • Wash all green leaves in running water three or four times to ensure all dirt is removed from them.
  • Cut all three leafy vegetables finely.
  • Place all three cut vegetables in a thick bottom container add ½ teaspoon salt and cook till it starts boiling.
  • Cook on low flame by covering the container for 5 min.
  • Switch off the gas and let the vegetables cool.
Boiled Leafy vegetables
  •  Heat oil in a thick iron wok and once the oil is hot add urd dal and 2-3 whole red chilies. Cook till it gains light pink color.
Dal and Whole Red Chilies in Oil
  •  Add finely cut onions and cook on low flame till they become soft and transparent not brown.
Onions sauteing
  •  Add garlic and ginger paste and stir. Cook for 2 min. with stirring.
  • Add makke ka aata in little proportions and keep on stirring to avoid from burning of flour.
  • Add red chili powder and mix.
  • Add finely cut tomatoes and stir. Cook on low flame till the mixture starts leaving the edge of wok. 
  • Once tomato onion mixture is cooked then add the mixture of boiled leafy vegetables and mix nicely. The water of the boiled vegetables will be enough to mix the mixture in the wok. 
Boiled vegetable added to mixture after flour is added
  • Add salt to taste and mix.
  • Cook on low flame and keep on mashing. Mashing will make the vegetable soft and smooth.
  • Add water in little by little ( a time) and cook on low flame for 25-30 minutes with mashing occasionally. 
Water added and being cooked
  •  Mashing and continuous stirring avoids the vegetables to settle down and burn.
  • The cooked vegetable should look uniform and have thick consistency not dry or watery.
  • Add garam masala and mix.
Saag ready for tempering
  •  Take the Sarson Saag in a bowl. Heat ghee in a thick base container. When the ghee is hot add cumin seeds, hing and whole red chilies.
  • Cook for a minute. The seeds will splutter and the chilies will gain dark color. Tempering is ready. 
Tempering for Saag
  •  Pour the tempering on the saag and cover it. Covering the saag after pouring the tempering helps retaining the flavors in the saag.
Sarson Ka Saag
  •  Serve hot saag with dollop of butter, Makke ki roti  and chas.
  • Always discard the leaves with holes as they have mites in them leaves.
  • Hard stalks should never be taken the fibers in them do not get cooked.
  • While boiling the vegetables care should be taken not to over boil them. Too much boiling will cause them to turn very dark in color and loose the flavor.
  • Care should be taken that corn flour (Makke ka aata) should not form lumps.
  • Do not add too much water at one go to reduce your work, water should be added in small portions as and when needed.
  • If some vegetable settles at the bottom then either scrap it immediately. If it has been settling for long time do not scrape but while removing the cooked vegetable take care that it is not scraped to the serving bowl.
  • Add salt less in the starting as it can be put after tasting before removing from wok and tempering.
Suggested Variations:
  • 6-8 inches of carrot and radish one small turnip can be cut fine or grated and added along with boiled leafy vegetable mixture.
  • The stalk of whole red chilies should be removed or some crack in the chili should be made to avoid it bursting during making of tempering.
  • To increase the green color 5-6 sprigs of cilantro can be added along with the rest of the vegetables during boiling.
  • Corn flour (Makke ka aata) can be roasted before adding this gives a lovely flavor.
  • For quick making of saag the boiled mixture of leafy vegetable can be made to coarse paste in grinder/mixer before adding to the wok with onion tomato mixture.

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