Ever since we moved to Delhi, Sarson ka Saag (Mustard Leaves) has become such a regular at our table during the winter that I hardly pay any attention - especially since I can eat only tiny portions because of the high fibre content. It was made the other day when A (my friend from Upstairs) had come over for a mid week lunch and she remarked that it was quite different. Tara (my girl Friday) has been making this for so long now that I couldn't even remember the exact recipe.
When I checked with Tara, she promptly showed me her book where I had written down a recipe 3 years back! It's simplicity personified - I now remembered that I had told her I didn't want any heavy garam masalas masking the flavours of the mustard leaves so there's only ginger, garlic and green chillies. There's spinach mixed in to mellow the pungency of the mustard and a little wholemeal cornflour (makki atta is Indian cornflour which has been ground to a fine consistency) to give it some consistency (though much lesser than the traditional version which is creamier because of more makki atta). I also didn't want the leaves to be pureed so it is just mashed roughly after being cooked and tempered with the spices and simmered briefly. I would say this is on the lines of the keerai masiyal which we make and I love the flavours of the greens bursting through instead of being drowned in heavy spices and cream.
Serve this with makki ki roti (flatbreads made out of Indian wholemeal cornflour) or just plain rotis and it makes for a beautiful meal!
Sarson ka Saag
Half a binch of spinach (200-300gms)
2 tbsp makki atta (Indian wholemeal cornflour, not refined cornflour)
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
2-3 green chillies, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1" ginger - chopped
salt to taste
1. Soak the greens in water and wash well in several changes of water till you get rid of all the dirt. I include the stalks if they are not too woody and tough.
2. Chop roughly and pressure cook for just 5 minutes (one whistle)- you can also cook on the stove top - Indian mustard greens are not very tender and I find the pressure cooker helpful.
3. Remove from cooker and mash with a wooden "mathu" (masher) or the back of a wooden ladle for a consistency which is not s fine puree but a coarse mash.
4. Heat 1 tbsp Ghee in a pan and add the garlic, ginger and green chillies and saute for a minute. Add the mashed greens and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the makki atta and simmer for another 5 minutes.
5. Drizzle the remaining Ghee over the saag and turn off flame. Serve with rotis.