Sarson da Saag (Mustard Green Stew)
Sorry for the silence but I was on the road and at a place where there was little to no connectivity. Hence the delay in getting this post out. Lack of connectivity for a period of time should be the subject of a post, but I digress.
Spring is a great time to get your greens. Spinach, Kale, Mustard – they are all in season. Besides tasting great, they pack a nutritional punch. So, it was with great pleasure that I picked up a bunch of mustard greens at the McKinney Farmer’s Market recently. There literally is one dish I know how to make with Mustard Greens. That is, Sarson da Saag. This traditional Punjabi dish is hearty stuff that is traditionally eaten with a maize flatbread (Makke di Roti) and lots and lots of butter. This is the quintessential comfort food of Punjab in Northern India eaten after a long day working in the fields.
While Punjabis in rural India can handle the sheer amount of fat that goes into the making of this dish, I could neither justify nor burn off that many calories. So I took a more healthy approach to making this classic. However, in all honesty, the dish does taste divine when it is dripping in grease. One epiphany that I had when I was making this dish was the similarity between rural Italian and Punjabi cuisine. They have both been traditionally agrarian societies and the cuisine uses fresh ingredients cooked with a minimum of fuss, relying on their freshness for flavor. Very different societies but a similar approach to food.
Anyway, here it is. Cook and enjoy with a bread of your choice. Works well with boiled rice too.
INGREDIENTS (enough for 6)
1 lb Mustard Leaves
1/4 lb Spinach Leaves
1 Large Tomato – diced
2 Green Chilies – chopped (use one if you can’t handle heat)
1 inch Ginger – peeled and chopped fine
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp Cornflour
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
2 1/2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/2 inch Ginger – peeled and julienned
1. In a large pot with 2-3 cups of water, add the Spinach, Mustard, Tomato and Chilies along with the ginger and salt.
2. Cover and simmer until the tomato looks pulpy and the greens have wilted.
3. Using a hand blender, puree everything that was boiling.
4. Add the cornflour, chili powder and 2 Tbsp butter to the mix. Add more water if needed, the Saag should be thick but runny, like a nice thick soup.
5. Cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
6. In a separate saucepan, heat 1/2 Tbsp of Butter and fry the julienned ginger in it for 2-3 minutes. Add to the Saag and you are done.