A few posts ago I had written about how my coming to Mumbai changed my entire perspective towards food and especially widened my horizon as far as North Indian food was concerned. When in Mangalore, my only brush with North Indian food (mainly Punjabi food) was Paneer Butter Masala or Tandoori Chicken served with whole wheat rotis. I have to admit that I didn't eat out a lot until maybe I started to earn my own mega bucks, so yes my exposure to the variety available was very less. It is only when I stepped out of Mangalore that I got to experience the whole gamut of things that come under the term "North Indian food".
Although I love greens of all types, mustard greens or sarson ('sarso' with a nasal pronunciation) was something I had never tried cooking myself. Didn't do it this time either. This recipe is Roshan's as he simply loves sarson especially when they are cooked with chicken - popularly known as 'Saag Wala Murg' (chicken cooked in greens). No matter what your preference is - vegetarian or non vegetarian, these greens taste awesome as there is some amount of bitterness that is to die for (trust me!). Like all greens, a whole bundle of it will get pathetically reduced to a tiny pile that may not look as appetising as it actually tastes.
Sarson Ka Saag is perennially married to Makki ki Roti (Maize flour rotis/flatbread) and tastes out of the world when eaten as a combo, however chapathis tastes just as good. I experimented eating it with rice and watery daal too - a complete Mangalorean that I am and the experiment didn't fail - it tasted just as good.
Sourcing the greens at this time may be a little hard. For those of you who do not know how they look - I am sorry, I totally missed to click the pictures in time, will update this post shortly (or Google can help you). For the rest of you who know how they look, do grab some when they are in season and enjoy this lovely dish.
Sarson Ka Saag (Punjabi Mustard Greens)
Prep time: 15mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves 2-3
- 2 bunches (approx 400gm) of mustard leaves
- 1 bunch (approx 200gm) spinach/palak
- 1 big onion (finely minced)
- 1/2 tsp ginger paste
- 1-1/2 tsp garlic (finely minced)
- 2-3 green chilies sliced (adjust to taste)
- 2 long dry red chilies (whole)
- 4 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
- 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp maize flour (substitute with cornflour/cornstarch)
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 tsp sugar or jaggery (to get rid of any bitterness) *optional
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida/hing (optional)
- salt to taste
1. Wash and drain the spinach & mustard leaves and chop them. Transfer into a pan and boil them along with the green chillies and half a cup of water for 4-5 minutes. (leave the pan uncovered or else the leaves will change colour).
2. Remove pan from fire, drain excess water and allow to cool. Reserve the drained water for later use. Blend the leaves to a coarse paste.
3. Heat ghee in a pan, toss in the red chilies, onions and garlic, hing (optional) and sauté till brown.
4. Add ginger paste, coarse paste of greens, garam masala, maize flour, lemon juice, salt to taste, sugar or jaggery (optional) and reserved water (depending on the consistency/thickness desired) and cook on a slow fire till the oil starts to separate from it (approx 8-10mins). Remove from fire.
5. Garnish with butter cube and serve hot preferably with Makki Ki Roti (Maize flour rotis)