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Sarson Da Saag or Mustard Greens is a highly nutritious recipe from Indian/Punjabi Cuisine. Green leafy vegetables, tempered with onion, garlic and some Indian spices, is a winter staple in Northern India.
Sarson Da Saag or Mustard Greens is a healthy preparation of mustard greens, and some other leafy vegetables, such as spinach, bathua or also known as chenopodium. Leafy vegetables are cooked and then tempered with some onion, garlic and some Indian spices in ghee or clarified butter. This unique preparation of saag or greens is a blend of leafy vegetables easily available during winters.
As a kid, growing up in India, I remember during winters, we used to eat saag or greens a lot. Greens were available fresh and in plenty during winters, and this was one of the reasons why we used to eat greens only during the winters. I remember my grandma use to make this saag. It was the best saag I ever had. She used different leafy vegetables to prepare the saag. The key ingredient of the recipe was mustard greens of-course, with some other greens such as spinach, bathua (chenopodium), and sometimes she would add methi leaves (fenugreek leaves), turnip or radish greens as well.
Traditionally, saag is cooked in a open pot. It is true that cooking greens in a open pot does help prevent greens from losing its color and also helps in preserving its nutritional values. Somehow, I feel this process is quite time consuming. Being a busy mom I need quick fixes, but at the same time I make sure the authenticity of the dish is preserved to its core. I find cooking saag in a Instant Pot or a pressure cooker, much easier than the traditional open pot method. While pressure cooking does reduce the cooking time, the risk of food being overcooked cannot be ignored. Understanding the right technique and key things that can help cook food faster without overcooking is very important, while using a pressure cooker. Overcooked greens not only lose its vibrant color but most importantly, loses its nutritional values as well. I attempted few times to work through this recipe to get the right color, texture and most importantly preserving its nutritional values. And here I am sharing my quick and easy version of this wonderful preparation of Sarson Da Saag. Though this recipe is much loved during the winters, I can eat this anytime of the year 😍
What is Sarson Da Saag?
Sarson Da saag is a dish mainly prepared using sarson or mustard greens, and with some combination of other greens as well, depending upon the availability of the greens. Greens of choice such as spinach, methi leaves (fenugreek leaves), turnip greens, bathua (chenopodium), collard greens, radish may also be used in combination with mustard greens. The key thing to remember is that the main flavor comes from mustard greens in this recipe. Since mustard greens have a very pungent and have slightly bitter flavor, to compensate for this bitterness other greens are used in combination. Many a times it is difficult to find all the greens, but mustard greens and spinach are easily available where I live all year round. Therefore, I like to use the combination of these two greens to make Sarson Da Saag. I normally take 3:2 ratio for mustard greens and spinach. Sometimes, I also add some turnip greens and some radish, in addition to spinach. It gives this dish a nice flavor.
How to clean and prep Sarson?
It is very important to clean the greens thoroughly prior to use. I prefer to soak the greens completely in cold water for 10 mins, and let all the grit/dirt settle to the bottom. After 10 mins, remove the greens, and discard all the water. Repeat this process for at least 3-4 times or until you no longer see grit/dirt coming off. Let the excess water strain through colander, around 5-10 mins. Chop the stems finely and leaves roughly.
How to prepare Sarson Da Saag?
Once you have done the prep work, this recipe comes together in just under 10 mins in a Instant Pot. Add mustard greens – stems, leaves, chopped spinach, onion, ginger, garlic, green chili, some Indian spices, water and cook on manual / pressure cook mode (high) for “0” mins. Yes “ZERO” mins only and this is not a typo 😊 Followed by a quick pressure release. Quick pressure release helps preserve the green color and also prevents greens from being overcooked. Thus preserving its nutritional values to its best.
Once the greens are pressure cooked, using a immersion or hand held blender, blend the saag until desired consistency. I like some texture in the saag, therefore I pulse the saag few times, till I get the desired consistency. You can puree the saag also.
Turn on the saute mode, add some maize flour and cook for 2-3 mins. Maize flour gives a nice creamy texture to saag. On a stove top, prepare some tempering with some onion, garlic, red chili powder in ghee and add it to saag. Enjoy this winter special greens Sarson Da Saag with classic combination of makke di roti (flatbread prepared with maize flour) or with some Indian bread such as roti, paratha or Jowar Bhakri / Sorghum flour flatbread.
Tips and Tricks
- Why add mustard greens-stems? Mustard greens stems are quite thick, and some discard the stems and use only leaves. I think stems have so much flavor and add great texture to this recipe. I chop the stems finely and leaves roughly.
- Why chop mustard greens-stems finely? Many of you might think why chop stems finely, the reason behind chopping the stems finely is that we will be pressure cooking all together (stems+leaves). Stems take longer to cook than leaves. If stems are chopped into big chunks it may not get cooked in the same amount of time as the leaves, resulting in under-cooked greens. Finely chopping stems assures that both stems and leaves get cooked at the same time.
- Why pressure cook for “0” mins only? Zero mins is all you need to cook the greens in a pressure cooker. Cooking longer would result in an overcooked greens.
- Why quick release pressure? In order to prevent greens from losing its color, quick release pressure is important. This technique helps preserve the green color.
- Why use maize flour? Maize flour gives saag a nice creamy consistency. You can also use bajra(millet) flour or jowar (sorghum) flour to get a creamy consistency.
How to serve Sarson Da Saag?
- Traditionally Sarson Da Saag is served with a dollup of butter, accompanied with some makke di roti (flatbread prepared with maize flour), some onion sliced, piece of jaggery and a glass of butter milk.
- I also like to serve saag with some Jowar Bhakri / Sorghum flour flatbread, tandoori roti, paratha or naan 😋
How to store and freeze Sarson Da Saag?
- Saag stays fresh for 2-3 days in refrigerator. Re-heat the saag and serve.
- You can freeze saag too. If planning to freeze the saag skip the tempering. Let the saag cool completely, divide it into freezer safe containers and freeze it. This will stay good for 2-3 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Prepare the tempering, add saag and heat it through. Serve hot.
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Mustard Greens / Sarso Da Saag - Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker
To be pressure cooked:
- 1 bunch mustard greens stems finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped (around 12 oz)
- 1 bunch spinach chopped (around 8 oz)
- 1 medium onion chopped (around 1/2 cup)
- 1 inch ginger chopped
- 5-6 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 green chili chopped (as per taste)
- 1/2 TBSP coriander powder
- 1/4 TSP turmeric powder
- 1 cup water
- salt to taste
- 2 TBSP maize flour/ makke da atta
- 1 TBSP oil
- 1 TBSP Ghee
- 2 TSP cumin seeds
- 1/8 TSP asafoetida
- 2 TBSP chopped onion
- 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/2 TSP red chili powder as per taste
- 1/4 TSP garam masala
- 1 TSP lemon juice
Instructions for Instant Pot Cooking:
- Turn on Instant Pot. In the inner pot of IP, add chopped mustard greens - stems, mustard greens - leaves, chopped spinach, onion, ginger, garlic, green chili, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt to taste, and water. Close the Instant Pot.
- Turn on Instant Pot to manual / pressure cook mode (high for "0" mins, vent sealed.
- When Instant Pot beeps, quickly release pressure. Open the IP lid.
- (Optional) Using a hand blender or immersion blender, pulse the greens few times, until desired consistency. You can puree the greens as well.
- Turn on saute mode (high), add maize flour, mix well. Cook for 2-3 mins.
- Prepare the tempering on a stove top. On a medium-high heat, in a sauce pan, add oil+ghee. When oil is hot, add cumin seeds, asafoetida, garlic, onion. Saute until light brown in color, around 2-3 mins. Turn off heat. Add red chili powder, pour this tempering over greens.
- Add garam masala, some lemon juice. Mix well. Turn off Instant Pot.
- Sarson da saag or mustard greens is ready to be served. Enjoy!!
- How to clean greens? - checkout the discussion earlier in the post.
- Mustard greens stems are quite thick, finely chop the stems, roughly chop the leaves.
- Pressure cook greens for only "0" (zero) mins. Zero mins is all you need to cook the greens.
- Release pressure quickly, to avoid overcooking of greens.
- For thick and creamy consistency, bajra(millet) flour, or jowar(sorghum) flour may also be used instead of maize(corn) flour.
- For pressure cooker (stove top) cooking, follow the same instructions as discussed in the recipe. After the first whistle, turn off the heat. Followed by quick release pressure manually. Open the pressure cooker lid. Rest of the steps remain the same as Instant Pot.
- Tips and tricks - checkout the discussion earlier in the post.
- How to store and freeze saag? - checkout the discussion earlier in the post.
- Blend of different leafy vegetables such as spinach, methi (fenugreek) leaves, turnip greens, radish, bathua(chenopodium), may also be added in combination to mustard greens.
- Can I use frozen greens? - absolutely, follow the same recipe. However, you may have to add couple of minutes of extra cooking time for frozen greens. Alternatively, you could thaw the greens first and then use it the recipe, works just fine.
- Garam masala is optional, but it adds nice flavor to saag.
- Lemon Juice adds refreshing flavor to this dish.
- Traditionally, sarson da saag or mustard greens is served with makki di roti, but it goes well with any Indian bread - roti, paratha, naan or Jowar Bhakri / Sorghum flour flatbread.