Classic recipes are always so revitalizing! If you are waiting to redefine your dinner menu with some authentic North Indian flavors, this Sarson Ka Saag recipe is all you may want. Packed with rich flavors of winter leafy greens and superb textures that seem to linger on for a long time, this Punjabi Sarson Ka Saag recipe will surely be a winner at your dinner table tonight.
If you are looking for easy and quick ways to whip this recipe, I will remind you there are no shortcuts to classics. This recipe is labor-intensive, but the result makes it worth all the effort.
The best part of making this dish is that you can make it in a large batch and store it for later use. Just take a portion of the saag required for a meal and give it an excellent tempering, and it is ready to devour.
What’s more? This dish contains vitamins, minerals, and fiber associated with various health benefits and immunity-boosting properties.
So, once you indulge in this delicious Sarson Ka Saag, I am sure you will keep coming back for more.
What is Sarson Ka Saag?
Sarson Ka Saag is an authentic North Indian recipe famous for its exquisite taste and health benefits, especially during winter.
It is a blend of leafy winter greens that creates a creamy and enticingly flavorful dish that warms the belly and comforts the soul!
‘Sarson Ka Saag’ in Hindi means a blend of pureed greens.
Sarson is the Hindi name for mustard greens, and saag means pureed leafy greens. Hence, it is named so. There are many variations to the quantities and components of this recipe, but the one I am sharing here is the typical Punjabi Sarso da saag, right from the pind (village) kitchen!
The ratio used for making this recipe is 2:1:1, with 2 parts of mustard greens (Sarson leaves), 1 part of spinach leaves, and 1 part of bathua leaves (chenopodium album, pigweed, or Chakravarthi greens) blended to form this delicacy.
Reasons You’ll ♡ Sarson Ka Saag
This classic recipe of Sarson Ka Saag is an exquisite blend of winter leafy greens packed with flavors and texture, making it an irresistible dish. However, there are more reasons to love this classic delicacy. It is —
- Creamy, flavorsome, and irresistibly delicious
- Healthy and satisfying dish
- Easy recipe, though a little effortful and time-consuming
- Packed with vitamins and minerals
- Perfect make-ahead recipe
- Easy to scale up or down
The best part is that this gluten-free and vegetarian recipe can be turned into vegan too!
Sarson ka Saag Ingredient List
Leafy Greens — This recipe is prepared with mustard greens, spinach, methi (fenugreek leaves), and bathua. Every leafy green imparts its distinctive taste and makes the recipe utterly delicious. You can use a combo of white radish and broccoli in case bathua is not available. Besides an added spicy punch, you will get a flavor similar to bathua.
Ghee — Ghee or clarified butter adds an authentic taste of Punjabi Sarso da Saag to this recipe. You can use homemade ghee or store-bought one for preparing this recipe. But do not swap ghee with oil, or the recipe will lose its essence.
Onions — The onions render a sweet and spicy flavor to the Punjabi saag.
Ginger/ Garlic — Ginger and garlic play the ultimate taste enhancers that intensify the overall flavor of the Sarson ka saag. A must-add ingredient for this recipe.
Tomatoes — Chopped tomatoes added to this recipe lend it the needed tanginess.
Radish/ Broccoli — These are added to the recipe for more flavor and texture.
Green Chillies — Add these for hotness and the necessary spiciness because the saag tastes somewhat bland.
Salt — For seasoning the saag.
Turmeric — Added to the saag for a beautiful darker tinge.
Asafoetida —Hing/ asafoetida adds more flavor to the recipe and aids digestion.
Garam masala — A blend of aromatic and flavorsome spices, garam masala takes the flavor a notch up when added to this dish.
Cumin seeds — Added to the tempering for more flavor.
Dried red chilies — These dried whole red chilies make the dish spicier and uplift the aesthetics.
Kashmiri Red chili powder — This adds beautiful color to the Instant Pot sarson ka Saag.
Makki ka atta — Cornmeal roux is added to the recipe to strengthen its consistency. When added to this dish, roasted Makki ka atta enhances its overall flavor.
Sarson ka Saag Tips and Variations
Cleaning the greens is essential — Cooking Sarson Ka Saag is easy but time-consuming and labor-intensive. The leafy greens need to be thoroughly cleaned as they have soil clinging to the roots or sometimes even to the leaves. If not cleaned thoroughly, the gritty material will spoil the recipe. So, you must patiently clean the leafy greens before proceeding with the following preparation steps.
To save time — Making the Sarson ka saag is quite time-consuming, so to make it a little convenient, you can break up the steps and cover the process over a few days. Clean the leafy greens, blanch them a day in advance, and store them in the fridge. The next day, blend it, add the tempering, and serve the mouth-watering Sarson Ka Saag with Makki ki roti.
Chop the greens for a quick prep — You can chop them before boiling them for a quick preparation. Chopping mustard greens is preferable as the leaves are large and take more time to cook. However, you may add the spinach and fenugreek (methi) leaves as is because they wilt quickly in boiling water and, as such, cook reasonably soon.
Fresh and juicy tomatoes for perfect tartness — Fresh and juicy tomatoes added to the Sarson ka saag add ideal tartness to the recipe and take the deliciousness a notch up.
The texture of the saag — Some may prefer a coarsely-textured saag, and others may prefer a finely-textured saag. I like to keep it coarsely pureed, but if you prefer a fine-textured saag, blend it a little longer to reach your desired texture.
For thickening, the saag — You may feel a little watery after it’s pureed. To fix this, you may add Makki ka atta (cornmeal) to the saag. You will notice an instant change in texture after the cornmeal roux is added. You may add the cornmeal as is, but I prefer to add it after roasting it in ghee. This renders a nutty flavor to the recipe, which gives an exciting twist to the taste.
Adjust the consistency — The Sarson ka saag tastes best with a thick texture. Cornmeal roux is added to achieve the desired thickness. However, if you don’t prefer Sarson ka saag thick, you may always adjust the consistency by adding water to it.
For the authentic taste — The original flavor of Sarson Ka Saag is achieved when it is cooked in ghee (clarified butter) or butter (vegans may avoid). You may also cook the saag in an earthen pot to acquire the typical Pind (village) flavor! This is what I do when I want to enjoy the authentic flavors of this recipe.
Scale the recipe as needed — This recipe, as written, can feed 6, but it can be scaled up or down according to your needs. Leftover Sarson ka saag can be stored for a week in airtight containers.
Turn it vegan? If you want to turn this recipe into a vegan one, replace the ghee with an equal amount of vegan salted butter or white Makhan.
Substitute for Makki ka atta — If cornmeal or Makki ka atta is unavailable, replace it with an equal amount of chickpea flour (besan).
The traditional way of blending — Traditionally, saag is blended with mathani (a wooden hand-held blending stick with a whisker at one end). It blends the saag while retaining its texture. You can use a mathani or blend the saag with an immersion blender, but be careful to avoid over-blending it into a puree, or it will lose its taste and texture.
Substitutes for mustard leaves — Rapini, also known as broccoli rabe, is the closest substitute for mustard greens. So, you can use rapini if mustard leaves are unavailable. You could also prefer a combination of radish and broccoli florets. The taste will be pretty close to that of the mustard leaves.
Importance of blanching — Blanching is essential before preparing the saag as it cleanses the leaves’ outer surface and helps stabilize the color of the leafy green vegetables while protecting their flavor and texture. However, do not over-blanch the greens as it will leave a bitter taste in the saag. Cook it until it’s just wilted but has not turned mushy.
How to cook Sarson ka saag on a stovetop?
To cook the saag on the stovetop –
- Clean and blanch the winter greens, as explained above in the recipe. Drain and set aside.
- Peel, rinse, and boil radish and broccoli separately until soft. Drain and set aside.
- Allow the winter greens and radish + broccoli to cool completely.
- Coarsely blend all the vegetables. Set aside.
- Now, heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add chopped onions, ginger, garlic, and green chilies to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions are soft and fragrant. Stir in tomatoes and cook until smooth and tender.
- Add coarsely pureed vegetables to the earthen pot. Stir well to combine.
- Cover the earthen pot and let the saag simmer for 4-5 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Prepare the cornmeal roux and add it to the simmering saag.
- Lastly, prepare the final tempering and drizzle it all over the saag.
Serve hot with Makki ki roti and a drizzle of fresh ghee on top.
Let me know what you think!
Does this bowl of creamy Sarson Ka Saag seem alluring to you? If it does, then why not make this delicious recipe and indulge right in the flavors of winter greens?
Bring this classic to the dinner table tonight, and I am sure your family will love you for presenting this wonderful dish. If you are ready, let’s begin!
Should you make Sarson ka saag or any variation of it, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below.
And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
CRAVING FOR MORE? TRY THESE OTHER WINTER DELICACIES!
Follow the step-by-step instructions to make the best Punjabi sarson ka saag
Sarson Ka Saag
BLANCH LEAFY GREENS
- 1 lb Mustard Leaves sarson
- ½ lb Spinach leaves palak
- ½ lb Fenugreek leaves Methi leaves
FOR THE SAAG
- 2 tablespoons Ghee
- 2 small Onion chopped
- 1 inch Ginger peeled, rinsed, and roughly diced
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled, rinsed, and roughly diced
- 2 small Tomatoes rinsed and diced
- ½ cup Radish peeled, rinsed, and cut into rounds
- ½ cup Broccoli Florets
- 1 big Green chili rinsed and chopped
- – – Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon Haldi (Turmeric powder)
- ¼ cup Water
- 1½ teaspoons Coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
CLEAN THE SAAG
- Pluck the spinach leaves and methi leaves from their stems and set them in a bowl. Discard the stem. For mustard leaves – Use a sharp knife to slice the mustard leaves off the solid middle stem and then roughly chop the leaves into smaller pieces.
- Transfer the leaves to a huge bowl. Fill it up with water and salt (the salt helps to remove any impurities). Stir the leaves around a bit to loosen the lingering dirt or other impurities. Allow the leaves to soak in this saltwater for 3-4 minutes. This will help in settling all the dirt at the bottom of the bowl.
- Now carefully lift all the soaked greens from the top and transfer them to a fresh, clean bowl. Discard the dirt water in which the leaves were soaked. Now wash the greens thoroughly under running tap water 3-4 times until the water runs clear. Transfer the clean saag onto a kitchen towel to drain off the excess water.
BLANCH THE LEAFY GREENS
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then turn the heat off. Add the rinsed leafy greens to this pan. Blanch for 3 minutes. Then transfer the greens to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Let the greens sit in ice water for a couple of minutes, then drain.
COOK THE SAAG
- Turn the Instant Pot to ‘Saute mode.’ Once it displays ‘hot,’ add ghee to the insert. Add chopped onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions are soft and fragrant. Add roughly chopped ginger and garlic to the cooking onions and cook for another 2 minutes.Stir in tomatoes and cook until soft and tender.
- Next, add rinsed broccoli florets and radish to the insert. Add salt and turmeric. Mix until combined. Add 1/4 cup of water to the saag.
- Turn the Instant Pot off. Place the lid on the Instant Pot. Set the steam release handle to the ‘sealing’ position, select ‘Manual or pressure cook button’ and cook the Sarson ka saag for 5 minutes on HIGH.Once the pot beeps, immediately release the pressure by turning the steam release handle to the ‘venting’ position.Add blanched leafy greens to the insert. Stir well to combine. Now, press the ‘Saute mode’ and turn on the Instant Pot. Adjust the temperature to the ‘low’ setting. Allow the saag to simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Stir in coriander powder, and garam masala powder and mix until combined.
- After the cooking time is over, turn off the Instant Pot. Using a hand blender or mathani, blend the saag into a coarse puree. Set aside.
- In a separate pan, heat 1.5 tablespoons of ghee. Add Makki ka atta to the pan.Over medium-low heat, cook the cornflour until it’s lightly fragrant. Maintain the heat, and keep stirring frequently, or our roux may burn if left unattended. Add this cornflour roux to the saag. Mix until everything is well blended. Set aside.
- The highlight of this mouth-watering winter delicacy is its tadka. Do not skip this. Heat ghee in a separate pan. Add cumin seeds and whole red chilies to it. As the cumin seeds start to crackle, stir in the chopped onion and diced garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent and soft. Add Kashmiri red chili powder and mix to combine. Take the tempering off the heat and pour it over sarson ka saag. Mix until combined.
- For a wholesome meal, serve warm sarson ka saag with a dollop of homemade butter alongside Makki ki roti and ghee. It will nourish the body with all the vital nutrients it requires for the winter.
SARSON KA SAAG IN PRESSURE COOKER
- Add the rinsed leafy greens to a pressure cooker.
- Add radish, onions, ginger, garlic, salt, and turmeric.
- Close the lid and cook the saag for 5-6 whistles (25-30 minutes in a pressure cooker without whistle).
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow the steam to release naturally.
- Using a hand blender, blend the saag into a coarse puree.
- Instead of a hand blender, you can use a wooden whisk (mathani) to blend the saag.
PREPARE THE CORNMEAL ROUX
- Heat 1½ tablespoon ghee in a pan. Add Makki ka atta to the pan.
- Over medium-low heat, cook the cornflour until it’s lightly fragrant. Maintain the heat, and keep stirring frequently, or our roux may burn if left unattended.
- Add this cornmeal roux to the saag.
- Mix until well blended. Let the saag simmer on a medium-low flame.
- Heat ghee in a pan. Add cumin seeds and whole red chilies to it. As the cumin seeds start to crackle, stir in the Kashmiri red chili powder. Mix to combine.
- Take the tempering off the heat and pour it over sarson ka saag. Mix until combined.
- Warm and flavorful sarson ka saag is ready. Enjoy it with makki ki roti and some gajar shalgum ka achar.