Classic Indian mustard greens (Sarson ka saag)
Winter in Punjab and the neighboring Northern India see the fields transform into a sea of bright yellow flowers, the beginning of mustard season. The leaves are transformed in almost every kitchen into the seasonal delicacy, sarson ka saag. The mustard leaves are pungent, spicy and earthy, but packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants, making this dish both flavorful and nutritious. Traditionally, this dish is served with a large dollop of butter and a drizzle of cream and with ghee-bathed "makkai ki roti" or corn chapattis. For more on the origins of this dish click here.
This recipe sticks to the traditional core of the region. Mustard greens are combined with spicy radish greens, slightly bitter amaranth leaves and smooth spinach to bring the flavors together. Very rich from the butter and cream, this dish is sublime. Herby, spicy, and nuanced with flavors from the many greens, this version is beautiful. When I make this dish, usually, I have it just with the makkai ki roti and raw onion, and nothing else. This is not a hard recipe to make, you just need time for the extended cooking of the greens. A lot of kitchens do the fast cook method in the pressure cooker, I find that the flavors are not extracted and integrated well using this method. For this dish to be perfect, you need it to cook slowly and over time.
This is a wonderful cookbook from a star chef. The recipes are from all regions of India, and go from super simple to complex. every recipe that I have cooked has been amazing, I highly recommend this cookbook for those of us who want fabulous food on the table.
For more amazing recipes from this cookbook, click here.
1 lb mustard greens, taken off the stem and roughly chopped
1 lb spinach, stemmed
1/2 lb radish (mooli) greens, taken off the stem and roughly chopped
1/2 lb amaranth greens, stemmed
8-10 green chilies, chopped, or to taste
1 tablespoon ginger paste
4 tablespoons mustard oil
6 cups water
Salt, to taste
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons ghee or butter
Cream, to drizzle
TuAdd the mustard greens, spinach, radish greens, amaranth greens, green chilies, ginger, mustard oil, water and salt to a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour.
Remove from the heat, cool, add the cornstarch and purée with a hand blender or in a blender till very smooth.
Put back into the same pot and simmer for an additional hour, watching the liquids in the pan. You want the liquids to dry out till you have a very thick sauce. It should be almost solid. Taste and adjust salt.
To serve, heat and transfer to a bowl. Top with the ghee/butter and cream.