THEME: #171 SAAGSAGA
When the #171st theme was decided as saag by the FoodieMonday/Bloghop group members, I was thrilled as I don’t even have one saag recipe on my blog. How did I miss posting it? But then how many times have I really made saag at home? Hardly. Most of the time its enjoyed at a restaurant.
What is saag? It basically refers to the leafy greens that are grown or sold in the Indian Sub Continent. The leafy greens which are found in abundance during the winter season may include spinach, amaranth, fenugreek, mustard greens, dill, kale, basella etc. These are used on its own or combined to make a wonderful pureed, partially pureed or finely chopped sabzi or curry. One can add anything from meat, chicken, chickpeas, potatoes to paneer to make the saag more filling. While the term saag usually refers to sabzi in different parts of India, I decided to stick to the Punjabi style.
Luckily I got mustard greens (sarson) this time at the greengrocer’s shop. Actually its the first time I’ve used sarson as its not easy to source them here. Some of you may remember the vadiya I used to make Vadiya da Pulao. Well, I had some left and wanted to use them up. Basically would have loved to make a paneer saag but hubby is not a fan of paneer. Just for two I wasn’t going to make 2 different dishes. The vadiya saag turned out really delicious.
For a good creamy saag, there is no shortcut in the amount of butter or ghee you use. Have the saag on its own or add add ons according to your liking. I served it with makki di roti and a cold glass of lassi – a super lunch time meal.
Its quite odd to make a winter dish when the sun is blazing hot! But then we never get winter here.. so guess any day is fine to make any winter or summer dishes. I have taken cup measurements for the greens which were chopped roughly and lightly packed in the cup. The amount is just a rough guidance, use whatever you like and whichever proportion. Here I’ve used the small fenugreek that we get in Mombasa as its not bitter. If you use normal fenugreek or methi, add less.
3 cups roughly chopped spinach (palak), leave stems separate
3 cups roughly chopped mustard greens (sarson), leave stems separate
1 cup roughly chopped fenugreek (methi)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2-3 green chillis
2 tbsp ghee
¼ cup fine yellow maize flour (cornmeal, makki atta)
1 tsp salt
1 cup urad dal vadiya
1 tbsp oil
about 1½ – 2 cups water
- Chop the tender stems of the spinach and mustard greens. Wash thoroughly.
- Wash the chopped leafy greens thoroughly.
- Add 1 cup water to a pan. Let it become hot over medium heat.
- Add the chopped stalks and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chopped greens and green chilis. Mix well.
- Let the greens cook for 10-15 minutes till they wilt and are cooked till soft.
- Blend the greens into a puree which is a bit rough in texture.
- Heat oil in a pan over low heat. Add the vadiya and stir fry them till they turn golden brown in colour.
- Remove the vadiya from the pan and put them on the side till required.
- Add ghee to the pan. Let it melt over low to medium heat.
- Add chopped onion and stir fry them till they become soft and turn light pink in colour.
- Add ginger and stir fry for a few seconds.
- Add garlic and stir fry till it becomes light pink in colour.
- Add the vadiya and ½ cup water.
- Cover the pan and cook the vadiya till it cooked. This may take 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the vadiya.
- Add the pureed green and makki atta. Mix well.
- Let the mixture simmer over low heat for 10 -15 minutes, stirring frequently so that the saag does not stick to the bottom of the pan. The saag should be thick and not runny. Add salt and mix well.
- Top the saag with some butter and serve with makki di roti or rotlo or parathas of your choice.
- Wash the greens thoroughly to remove dirt and grit.
- Add any greens of your choice.
- Add chickpeas, paneer, potatoes, mushrooms instead of vadiya.
- Don’t use too much water to cook the greens.
- I prefer to add the salt at the end so that it does not alter the colour of the saag.
- Add a generous pinch of sugar if you like.
- When using spinach alone, be careful how much salt you add.
- Add a bit of kasuri methi if you like.
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