This recipe has not only been requested by a close friend but is strongly inspired by a documentary series I have fallen in love with. It goes by the name “Raja, Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyaan” which translates to kings, kitchens and untold stories. Throughout the series, they explore different cuisines over regions in India, one episode focuses on Punjab where Sarson ka saag (mustard leaves & spinach) and Makki ki roti (cornmeal chappatis) are originally from.
So I wanted to recreate this combination with help from my mum, the whole experience was a lot of fun for me because it’s the first time anyone in my house including me has tried this take on saag. Whilst I’ll be sure to share my mum’s classic Aloo Saag (potatoes and spinach) with you guys one day, for now, I hope you’re inspired to try something different but equally appetising.
Serves 2-4 people
Sarson ka saag
- 300g fresh spinach (palak)
- 300g mustard leaves (sarson)
- 1½ tbsp salt
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- 60g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp green chilli paste
- 170g natural yoghurt
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
- 3 cloves chopped fresh garlic
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil
Makki di roti
Unfortunately, mum didn’t have a recipe for these golden discs of deliciousness so I managed to find a recipe online. This one is from Rachna’s Kitchen (link below) and turned out really well.
- 2 cups maize cornmeal
- 1 cup hot water (the recipe states 3/4 of cup but I felt a little more water helped bind the mix more)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
- To start, wash the spinach and mustard leaves thoroughly (worth taking the time to ensure you don’t get a mud infused saag). Chop into small pieces including the stalks of both as this adds texture to the final dish.
- Get the pressure cooker out and pop in the spinach and mustard leaves along with your butter, salt, red chilli flakes and green chilli paste. Pour in warm water to submerge 90% of the mix, it shouldn’t be drowned in water but have just enough to cook the spinach and mustard leaves. Seal and leave on to melt together on a low heat for a little over 1 hour. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you use a pot to simmer the ingredients over 2 hrs.
- Whilst the saag is cooking, use this time to make your dough for the makki di rotis, it’s pretty simple, you just mix all the dry ingredients. Then add the water slowly whilst you knead to create a smooth dough. Leave to rest for at least half hour.
- Fast forward, the greens will have all melted and the cooking water will be infused with the different flavours. At this point, we want to cook off the water and deepen the saag’s flavour. Separate the solids and liquids from the pressure cooker and put the saag solids in a pot over low heat. Don’t throw away the liquids, we’ll need that magic juice later.
- Grab a pan and add your sunflower oil, throw in the garlic and ginger frying them gently to a golden brown colour. Then we add this to the pot of simmering saag, the process is similar to adding tarka to daal where you get a spark of the hot oil meeting a softer form. Then balance things with some coolness as you add the yoghurt and mix thoroughly. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Magic masala juice time, reunite the liquid into the pot with the saag and leave uncovered to cook away the water and thicken. Under a high heat, this should take approximately 30-45 minutes but don’t give into the temptation to leave and come back. Things will end in dry and dry saag if you do. Your aiming for porridge like consistency so there is some moisture but it’s not too runny.
- Get a non-stick pan on the heat whilst you roll out your dough into circles (Rachna’s Kitchen has a really good technique of rolling the dough out between baking parchment to prevent sticking and get a thin roti). Cook over a high heat, spreading some unsalted butter or ghee (if you want to be old school authentic) on the roti as it cooks. More detail is provided in actual recipe (link above).
- Now it’s time to plate up, served best warm with the roti’s topped with more butter and sarson ka saag served with some fresh ginger to garnish. Enjoy with a cold glass of lassi 🙂