sarson ka saag recipe, how to make punjabi sarson ka saag recipe

sarson da saag

sarson ka saag - one of the indian recipe that is a labor of love, time and patience. sarson is the hindi/punjabi word for mustard and saag means greens.

saag is a punjabi term which means greens. so the english translations is mustard greens. so you will have palak saag, bathua saag and so on.

there is no shortcut method in making sarson ka saag. sorting the greens, washing them, chopping and then cooking them… blending them and again cooking them is a time intensive method.

and in today’s world of curry in a hurry, if you really want to savor the taste of an authentic sarson ka saag, then you do have to invest some time in preparing it.

the sarson ka saag recipe is very easy, it is just the preparation and the method that takes time. usually, i clean the greens one day before and keep them in the fridge in air tight containers. so half of the work is over. the next day then, it is easy to prepare the saag.

at home, we generally use 5 green leafy vegetables to make the saag. they are mustard, bathua (also known as chenopodium in english), spinach, radish and fenugreek. in the pic below all the greens can be seen except for fenugreek.

the flavor and taste in the saag, comes predominantly from mustard greens. the saag has bitter and pungent notes of the mustard which are subdued by the presence of bathua and radish.

after all the cooking and simmering what you get in the end is a creamy, green saag bursting with mellowness & flavors from all the greens. a bowl full of antioxidants and health.

winter is the time when the mustard and bathua are available in india. hence during this season, sarson ka saag is always made in the homes and hearths of north india, especially in punjab from where this traditional recipe comes from.

the sarson ka saag topped with homemade butter and served with makki di roti (flat breads from maize flour) is not only comforting but also warms up the palate as well as the body. this is a winter meal you see. so that extra topping of butter is alright. also the saag is served with an accompaniment of sliced or chopped onions and some green chilies.

sarson ka saag recipe

i always make sarson ka saag in bulk and keep in the fridge. when i need to serve, i temper the saag and then serve it.

from what i have observed is that the taste of the saag improves in a day and as it ages. mine usually does not last for more than 4-5 days. you can also freeze the saag. before tempering, thaw the saag.

the recipe i present here is the traditional way we make saag at home. the proportion of bathua to spinach to mustard that we use is 1:1:2. eg if you are using 1 whole bunch of mustard leaves then use 1/2 bunch of bathua and spinach in approximation. or for 1 kg of mustard leaves, use 1/2 kg of bathua leaves and spinach.

the other two greens, ie. radish and fenugreek are also added by the indian method of andaz meaning estimation. fenugreek is optional though.

this recipe works well for 8-9 serving portions and can be easily halved or doubled.

for the saag recipe it would have been much easier if i had not shown the step by step method. trust me… my work is more than halved when i don’t include step by step pics and the posting does not take much time. but when i make a step by step post, i spend a lot of time. the whole process takes 6-7 hours from cooking to working on the pics to posting the recipe.

in fact i wanted to shoot a video. but alone it is not possible. so i have resorted to step by step pics. my new kitchen has a great amount of light and the photos have come out great.

i am presenting the step by step method so that you atleast try to make saag in your home. it is not difficult. winter weekends or holidays are the best times, especially when you have free time.

lets begin step by step sarson ka saag recipe:

1: chop and clean all the greens.chop off the lower end of the mustard seems just a few centimeters from the base. the mustard stems can be tough. in this case you can discard the stems or keep them. if you keep them, then they have to be cooked really well so that they become soft. luckily, i had tender stems in the mustard bunch. all the greens, sorted and nicely laid on the table… all going in the fridge for the saag to be made the next day.

greens for sarson ka saag

2: washing the greens. this is the tough part. you have to really wash the greens, especially the mustard greens well to get rid of the mud or soil clinging to the stems. i did this task in batches.

washing greens for sarson ka saag

3: the washed greens go in the pressure cooker.

adding greens in pressure cooker for sarson ka saag recipe

4: adding our other veggies - radish, onion, tomatoes, ginger and garlic.

adding veggies for sarson ka saag

5: now adding some spice & salt – green chilies, red chili powder, asafoetida & salt. the saag is midly spiced and yet tastes so good.

6: pour water.

7: cover and pressure cook for 6-7 minutes or more till the greens become soft. you can also cook in a pan. cover and let the greens cook till they become soft.

8: now let the pressure settle in the cooker. open the lid… you see the greens, onions, tomatoes et all… all cooked well. let the green mixture warm or cool down.

9: then in a blender take some of the greens.

10: add maize flour. the maize flour helps in making the saag smooth as well as thickening it and does imparts its flavor to the saag.

11: blend till smooth. i usually make a smooth puree. some folks like a coarse texture. so you decide how you want your saag. i blended in batches. you can also use a hand blender for the same and blend in the cooker itself. if doing this then chop the greens before you pressure cook them. it is easier to blend with a hand blender then. the traditional way is to use a madani (the indian hand blender) to blend the greens.

12:  now pour the greens puree in a pan. i used the pressure cooker as while simmering the saag, it bubbles and splutters. so be careful and use a deep pan.

13: simmer and simmer for a good 25-30 minutes. stir occasionally so that the saag does not stick to the bottom of the pan. check the seasoning and add more salt if required. once cooled, the saag can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge.

14: so now after this comes the final touch… the saag is not ready to be served yet. we have to temper the saag. we always temper the saag with onions, but you can temper with some ginger, green chilies and tomatoes too along with the onions. heat oil or ghee and add chopped onions. the amount of oil/ghee and onions to be added depends on the portions of saag you will be serving. so for 3 servings, 1 to 2 tbsp oil with 1 medium sized onion is alright.

15: lightly brown the onions.

16: add the cooked sarson ka saag. simmer.

17:  serve the hot sarson ka saag saag straight away with makki di roti. the best is to serve with makki di roti. nothing beats this combination. but you can also serve sarson ka saag with parathas and steamed rice.

sarson ka saag

if you are looking for similar recipes then do check palak saag, saag paneer, palak dal, palak paneer and palak mushroom.

sarson ka saag recipe details below:

5.0 from 2 reviews
sarson ka saag
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
a winter staple in north india. comforting sarson ka saag aka mustard greens. creamy and delicious greens
Author:
Recipe type: main
Cuisine: north indian
Serves: 7-8
Ingredients (american measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
for the saag:
  • 1 bunch mustard leaves/sarson
  • ½ bunch bathua leaves/chenopodium
  • ½ bunch spinach leaves/palak
  • 1 cup chopped tender radish leaves/mooli ke patte
  • 2 to 3 inches white radish root/mooli
  • 1 cup fenugreek/methi leaves, chopped
  • 2 medium sized onions, chopped
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 inch ginger, chopped
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 7-8 garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • a generous pinch or two of asafoetida or ¼ tsp asafoetida powder
  • 2 to 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp maize flour
  • salt as required
for the tempering for 3 servings:
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 bowls of cooked saag
Instructions
  1. firstly clean and chop all the greens.
  2. then wash the greens well.
  3. in a pressure cooker or pan add all the ingredients listed under saag except for maize flour.
  4. cover the pressure cook and cook for 6-7 minutes or more.
  5. if cooking in a pan, then cover and let the greens cook till done. do check occasionally.
  6. pour the greens along with the stock and maize flour in a blender.
  7. blend till smooth.
  8. in another pan, pour the pureed greens.
  9. simmer for a good 25-30 minutes.
  10. in another small pan, heat oil or ghee
  11. add the chopped onions and fry them till light brown.
  12. add the prepared saag. stir and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  13. stir ocaasionally.
  14. serve sarson ka saag hot with some chopped onions, whole green chilies and a dollop of butter on the saag with makki di roti


{ 40 Responses }

  1. Meena says

    Hi Dassana Thanks for the lovely recipe. the pics look really good.
    This recipe looks very delicious and authentic
    Just wanted to ask can i boil the greens and vegies and keep it in fridge for a couple of days and then grind and cook it on the day we want to eat? Also one of my north indian friend once suggested to add brocolli as well in the vegies? what do u thonk?

    Thanks heaps for always replying. Really appreciate it!

  2. Evelyn claffy says

    We enjoy Indian food and I often go to your website whe looking for a special recipe. Your instructions are clear and we have never been disappointed with the results.

    I have a question you may be able to answer. I have tried to find my answer by cruising the internet with no results.

    I sent my husband out to our local Middle Eastern food for pita bread. He came home with this lovely, paper thin bread called sag. The sheets of bread were rectangles about 12inches by 8inches folded as one would fold a sheet of paper.

    It may not be Indian, but I can find no information on how to use it. Any suggestions? Thank you.

    • says

      thanks evelyn. the bread is actually saj. it is a middle eastern bread. they are cooked like the way we cook roomali roti (thin handkerchief like round breads) in india. if you type saj bread on google, you will get its recipe.

  3. says

    Sari umar sanu Sarso da sag yad rahega.
    Mai Kiran Kapoor de nal khaya si.
    I am fond of Sarso da sag since I had it with our relative as mentioned above, now we too make the same at home,we live in Vadodara Gujarat here sarso seeds are of bitter “Rai” kindly tell me if to drain out the water after boiling the sarso leaves as water is bitter ? Plz.tell us or give a tip on this as we drain out the water after boiling the Sarso,palak& bhatua leaves.are doing correct ?

    • says

      virendra, when i make saron ka saag then the mustard leaves are not bitter here. so i checked with my mil. she says her mil used to remove the water as the sarson used to be bitter. but then you lose nutrients. my mil suggest to reduce the quantity of sarson and increase the quantity of palak and bathua and with this method she does not throw the water and sarson ka saag is not bitter.

  4. Lavanya says

    Hi Dassana,

    I first came upon your website searching for the saag recipe. Now any recipes i need i first search yours. In fact your website is permanently open on my laptop!! The saag came out really well and was very useful for me as a long term option :) (what with cooking with a 7 month baby in my hands). How long can the saag be safe for storage in the fridge?

    Thanks,
    Lavanya.

    • says

      hi lavanya
      thanks for this positive feedback.
      you can safely use saag for 3-4 days, if kept in fridge.
      after 4th day, just taste the saag whether it is good or not.
      i have heard many people freeze the saag and use it for a longer period… but personally i have never tried this method.
      last time, my saag which was kept in the fridge got slightly spoiled on 5th or 6th day.
      i hope it helps.
      dassana

  5. geeta says

    I was looking for authentic punjabi Sarson ka saag and I got it. Today I made Sarson ka Saag. It’s become yummy and tasty. My mother and sisters also like this very much. Thank you Dassana Amit. For tempering I used dry red chilly also.

  6. Umamahesh says

    She is awesome. I failed in making modaks following her recipe during ganesh chaturthi. but that was my fault. whenever i need a veg recipe i look up her blog. so thank you very much. i would like to know the use of traditional cookware in making food.i mean the better way of storing foods to cooking them in vessels pots etc..

    • says

      thanks uma. i don’t know how i missed your comment for so long. there a lot of traditional cookwares available in south india like kerala, karanataka etc. though i use modern cookware, i also have clay and stone pots for cooking. again even iron kadhai is good as when you cook in it, some iron gets into the food. for storing after the bharni used for pickles, salt etc, next best is glass. steel jars are also good for storing.

  7. simran says

    I love your website!! your presentation n photographs are so good, a newbie like me can feel the clarity and the possibility of all that effort coming out right.

    • says

      instead of maize flour you can also use gram flour or besan. maize flour helps in thickening the saag and also tones down the bitter pungent taste of the mustard leaves. its better to add the flour.

  8. chakadu says

    OMG this was delicious! I found this recipe this morning and made it in about less than two hours. Came out really yummy. I did not have all the greens still the saag was superb!
    Thanks for the recipe.

  9. Seena says

    Looks great..
    I use mustard leaves, spinach, bathu, red chillies and spring onion under the list of saag…
    and tardka lega with plenty of chopped garlic, ginger, onion and bit of mustard seeds. It taste superb.

  10. PriyaV says

    Dassana
    now where did you manage to get the above two greens I mean the mustard , the bathua and the garlic chives is the second one same what is usually refered to in marathi as chandan batua. nice pictures again

  11. Chandra says

    Your instructions for cooking this saag dish are very easy to follow…………I am going to make it for myself and my sisters, as since our mother passed away, non of us have an idea as to how to replicate our dear mums dish!!! Thank-you and thank-you again!!!

    • says

      hi chandra, your comment brought tears to my eyes. i feel so touched & humbled as well. saag is easy to make, but a lengthy process. you will be able to cook a delicious saag for yourself and your sisters. hugs :-)

  12. says

    Lovely step by step tutorial Dassana! Very helpful for south indians like me :)
    Here in Karnataka we make a curry similar to dish called ‘Massoppu’ which is variety of greens cooked with lentils, mashed and seasoned. It’s so lite and flavorful.

  13. Mangala says

    Thanks for this… I dont get mustard or bathua…can i try it with methi palak and mooli ? how will that be ?

    • says

      you can make saag with methi, palak and mooli. just keep the proportion of methi and mooli less in the saag. methi can make the saag bitter. for 1 bunch of spinach, i would suggest 1 cup of methi leaves and a small piece of radish along with 1/2 cup of chopped radish leaves.

  14. says

    In most American restaurants, the classic dish is saag paneer–and as a result I never thought I liked saag. I just don’t care for it with paneer. I now know it is one of my favorites! Usually with poultry or meat, but I like chickpeas ok as well. And I love mustard greens. Looks fantastic.

  15. says

    I wish I could find all those leafy vegetables over here…Can you give me substitute for bathua leaves and sarson leaves…..very tempting to make it :)

    • says

      there is no substitute for bathua or sarson leaves. but saag can also be made from spinach and methi. so you can try making this way.

  16. says

    super… lovely step by step for the recipe… i hve never tried my hands at this… must surely make it some day… will let u know when i do make it.. lovely!

    • says

      sure and thanks for those words. do make the saag with makki di roti. it is an awesome combination and one that should be had at least once.