Winter Greens – Sarson ka saag
Mustard for most hindi film lovers is a field of yellow flowers to run through in slow motion. For foodies however it is a pungent kick in the taste that adds layers to any nondescript fish or vegetable. From Coleman’s mustard to the Bengali Sorshe Bata, mustard is a versatile little seed that can do wonders. Today we’re going to talk about mustard leaves and the quintessential Punjabi dish – Sarson ka Saag. A staple of the season, we bring you two recipes for Mustard leaves – the Punjabi version as well as a simple and distinct Bihari version.
Sarson ka Saag – Bihari style
1 bunch of Mustard leaves
3-4 Green chilis
8 – 10 cloves Garlic
1 tsp Mustard oil
Salt, to taste
Clean the leaves and chop the stems off. Soak the leaves in a bowl of salted water and leave for 15 mins. This will help clean them further. Now drain the water and wash the leaves thoroughly.
Steam the mustard leaves in a pressure cooker. You won’t need to add water. Place the pressure cooker on the a low flame and leave on for one whistle. Let the cooker stand for 5 minutes before opening. The leaves should be tender and cooked. Let them cool. Grind to a paste. In a food processor or with a mortar & pestle, grind the garlic and chili into a paste. Before serving add the garlic and chili paste, salt and a teaspoon of mustard oil.
Tip: Leaving the mustard overnight without adding the oil or the garlic chilli paste makes the mustard taste lovely after its been allowed to develop more flavors.
Sarson ka Saag – Punjabi Style
This recipe comes from a Punjabi aunty from our building society. Her food always smells and tastes heavenly.
2 bunches of Mustard leaves
1/2 bunch Spinach
8-10 cloves of garlic
4-5 Green Chilis (more if you like it spicy)
2 tbsp Makke ka atta (very fine corn meal)
1/2 large Onion
1 tsp Oil
Salt, to taste
Clean the spinach and mustard leaves. Soak the leaves in a bowl of salted water and leave for 15 mins. This will help clean them further. Now drain the water and wash the leaves thoroughly. Put the leaves, garlic, ginger, green chili and salt in a pressure cooker and give it one whistle. Take off the heat and let it rest. Once it cools, add the makke ka atta and mix well. Grind this mix to a paste.
Heat oil in a separate pan, added the finely chopped onion, tomato and maybe a little garlic if you like a garlicy flavor. Fry this till the onions and tomatoes are cooked. Pour this over the ground leaves and stir through for a few minutes before serving.
Tip: As is with the Bihari mustard, this one also tastes better the longer it is kept.