Sarson ka Saag

Sarson Ka Saag:  spicy mustard greens, a quintessential winter staple in Northern India. Served with makki ki roti + gud.

sarson ka saag recipe

What is Saag

Saag is the general term for cooked down greens, acing it, is finding the perfect balance between the greens you use and the spices you temper it with. Sarson ka saag or saaron da saag is saag made with mustard greens, a leafy winter green. It’s something I’ve come to enjoy more as an adult. Everyone has their own special recipe that their family makes. In my version, I give it a second tadka of caramelized crispy garlic in butter just before serving, it goes so well with the earthy rustic saag.  

makki ki roti and sarson ka saag sarson ka saag recipe

Sarson ka Saag Memories

In the heart of winter, memories of my family’s kitchen flood my mind, and the distinct aroma of sarson ka saag takes me on a journey back to simpler times. Growing up in a Punjabi household this delicacy wasn’t just a meal; it was a tradition, a culinary legacy passed down through generations.

The process of making sarson ka saag was a ritual that unfolded in our busy kitchen. I can still see my parents and Dadima meticulously cleaning mustard greens, the rhythmic sound of the iron tawa sizzling as they cooked the saag, blending it with other greens and spices.

The flavor of sarson ka saag isn’t just about the ingredients; it encapsulates the warmth of familial bonds and the rich agricultural heritage of Punjab. Sarson ka saag transcends being a mere dish; it has become a vessel carrying the essence of many of our farming roots. Bitter notes of mustard greens, the earthy spices, and the comforting texture create a combination of flavors that define winter evenings. Today, as soon as the cold nips at us, a simple plate of sarson ka saag and makki ki roti transports me back to the heart of those cherished moments, evoking a sense of nostalgia that is as timeless as the dish itself.

saag ingredients saag ingredients saag tadka

Focus on ingredients

  • Mustard Greens: most often found in winter these come in bunches at the South Asian market or you can find them pre-washed and bagged in the salad aisle of your conventional grocer.
  • Alternatives to mustard greens include: Broccoli Rabe / Rapini or Kale.
  • Spinach: I like to use equal parts palak/spinach to whatever other green I’m using.
  • Fenugreek: methi; has a sharp flavor that pairs perfectly with the other greens, if you’re able to find bathua (a weed like green that grows alongside sarson) you can use that instead 
  • Daikon: mooli or Indian radish has a peppery flavor that works really well in saag.
  • Makki ka atta: cooked down greens tend to separate so to solve that problem we add an “alar”, a thickener such as makki ka atta that helps bring it all together. If you don’t have makki ka atta you can use some toasted besan to help bind the saag. 

saag ingredients sarson ka saag recipe

Amounts of greens

When you see 10 cups of greens you may think to yourself that this recipe will feed your entire neighborhood, it won’t, trust me. Greens wilt down significantly and in the end you’ll be left with enough saag for 4-6 people. It’s enough for the time you’ve spent making it but not too much that you’re freezing packs of it away.

makki ki roti and sarson ka saag

Sarson ka Saag
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sarson Ka Saag: spicy mustard greens, a quintessential winter staple in Northern India. Served with makki roti + gud.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4-6
  • Sarson Ka Saag: spicy mustard greens, a quintessential winter staple in Northern India. Served served with makki roti + makkan.
  • Saag
  • 16 oz mustard greens, 2 bunches or 10 cups
  • 16 oz baby spinach, 10 cup
  • 1 cup fenugreek leaves; fresh or frozen
  • ⅓ cup daikon; mooli
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ginger; grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic; grated
  • 2 cup water
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon makki atta; corn maize
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ tablespoon ghee
  • ¾ cup onion; finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger; grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic; grated
  • ¼ teaspoon hing; asafetida
  • ½ teaspoon jeera; cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dhaniya; coriander powder
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely sliced
  1. Thoroughly wash all greens, dry and roughly chop.
  2. In a large pot add mustard greens, spinach, daikon, green chilies, ginger, garlic, water and salt. Cover and cook this mixture down for 20-25 minutes until everything is soft and tender.
  3. Using a hand mixer or potato masher blend slightly, the saag should a semi blended consistency.
  4. Mix in the makki ka atta, cook for another 5 minutes; taste for salt and adjust if needed, set aside.
First tempering:
  1. In a small pan add oil + ghee. Once hot add in cumin seeds and hing, when they sputter add in chopped onions.
  2. Allow the onions to turn pink and golden before adding the ginger and garlic. Once the raw fragrance goes away add the coriander powder, turn off heat and add immediately to saag. Mix well.
Second tempering:
  1. Before serving melt butter in a small pan and add in two whole dried red chilies and sliced garlic. Caramelize until garlic starts to crisp up. Remove from heat, add to saag and enjoy!
  1. Saag tastes best when served alongside makki ki roti, mooli ki churri, and a side of gud.



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