Saag simple

Sarson-Saag paneer (sarson ka saag) – The Punjabi delicacy

Table of Contents

Introduction

Traveling down memory lane, we, the people of the sub-continent have a deep connection with native food. The food originating from the villages makes our taste bud tingle and it is difficult for us to hold our hands back and stop digging into that delicious food before us. One of the dishes that brings our memory back and we recall the smell, the taste, the look as soon as it comes into our mind is Saag.

Imagine sitting on the floor with your family, a strong aroma comes breezing from the kitchen taking you back to your childhood and all thoughts surround your mind. It is “Sarson ka saag” with butter and “Makai ki roti”! You dive in there and the first bite takes you into food heaven.

Saag, a green vegetable that is highly appreciated in cuisines of the sub-continent especially in Punjab. It is mainly eaten with rice or “Makai ki roti” which is a flatbread made from corn flour. In different regions,

saag lovers enjoy it with rice and paneer (cottage cheese). In the early days, Saag was mainly a poor person’s food but as time passed by, it got famous amongst every caste and culture that tasted it. Punjabis gave it fame and blew life into this dish and now if one takes only a single morsel of it, they feel delighted.

Traditionally, Saag is cooked in mustard oil along with spinach, cream, butter, chilies, and fenugreek. A lot of people do not know the actual recipe to cook the perfect “Saag”.

They keep on trying over and over again but they still can not get that particular taste that they had in a restaurant. But, it is not anything to worry about because we got you covered! Here you will find a lot of recipes about how to make a perfectly delicious Saag and wow everyone sitting at the table.

Easy Saag recipe

You might be thinking that making Saag will be a difficult thing to do as it is something our ancestors have been making and it will be really hard for us to reach the level of taste they used to put in it. But, it is not as hard as you think! It can be so simple that you can make it every now and then once you learn how to execute it.

Although, you have to give in some time in making Saag as it takes a lot of washing and blending. If you have an event today, you can wash the greens a day before so it does not take as long as it does.

 How to cook it

The preparation will require these ingredients:

  •  Mustard leaves
  •  Chenopodium (Bathua)
  •  Spinach
  •  Radish leaves
  •  Radish
  •  Tomatoes
  •  Ginger
  •  Garlic
  •  Crushed red chili flakes
  •  Salt
  •  Green chilies
  •  Onions
  •  Maize flour
  1. You have to clean all the greens first very well so the dirt and smell wash away. Remember chopping off the tails of mustard leaves (Saag) as they can be hard and hinder that creamy texture of the dish.
  2. Add all of the green vegetables into a pressure cooker.
  3. With that, add all the vegetables, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, radish, and onions to the cooker.
  4. Sprinkle in the spices and salt according to your taste. Add in green chilies as much as you want.
  5. Pour water and cover the lid.
  6. Let the vegetables cook for 6-7 minutes or until all the greens and other vegetables get soft and mushy.
  7. Take the vegetables out and put them in a blender. (Do not blend hot vegetables for too long, keep on giving breaks in between to maintain the life of the blender)
  8. In that same mix, add maize flour so the paste gets a good velvety texture.
  9. After blending, pour the mixture into a big deep pan and let it simmer.
  10. Keep on mixing it and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes until it starts to bubble up and boil.
  11. Saag is incomplete without good tempering (Bhagar). So for that, you have to heat oil in a pan and add green chilies, onion, ginger, and garlic. Let it fry until the color changes to brown.
  12. Add in that tempered mix in the pan of Saag carefully not letting the oil splashback. Mix it up and make sure the oil stays on top so it gives a good look to the dish.
  13. Enjoy that piping hot Saag with “Makai ki roti” and go take a trip to your childhood reminiscing the good ol’ days when you used to have it.

Saag simple

 

Creamy Saag recipe

Who does not love that creamy texture in their cuisines? When it comes to desi food especially Saag, the involvement of cream makes it so delicious!

 Cooking method

All you have to take are these ingredients:

  • Spinach leaves (Saag)
  • Mustard leaves
  • Onion powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Garam masala
  • Tomatoes
  • Freshly grated ginger
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Heavy cream
  • Olive oil

To make this delicious dish, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. In a large skillet, add Saag and mustard leaves and pour enough water for it to submerge. Keep it on medium flame and cook it until the leaves start to soften up. Take them out once it cools down.
  2. In that same pan, add olive oil, tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, ginger, garam masala, and salt to taste. Cook it until the tomatoes get soft and dissolve in the mixture.
  3. Now chop the Saag and mustard leaves after it has cooled down and make small pieces of it.
  4. Blend the leaves till there are no lumps left
  5. Add Saag to the tomato mixture. Continue with mixing it slowly so it does not burn, turn the flame too low, and check the salt too.
  6. Let it simmer for 5 minutes until it starts to boil. Add cream and mix it gently so it incorporates all corners of the dish. Cook it for 5 minutes more and serve it hot with butter naan!

Creamy saag

 

Saag paneer restaurant style

It is an undeniable fact that we all love restaurant’s food. It’s something that we crave for day in day out, why? The reason is because the flavor they put in their food is irreplaceable and cannot have that same flavor at home. Do they add any special spices? Do they have a secret recipe that they don’t want anyone else to know? Well, we got that tracked down and we bring you the ultimate recipe of how to make Saag paneer restaurant style.

 How to make it

To make this delicious meal, you would need:

  • Spinach leaves (Saag)
  • Fenugreek leaves
  • Cottage cheese (Paneer)
  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Garam masala
  • Turmeric powder
  • Cumin seeds
  • Red chili powder
  • Heavy Cream
  • Salt

To ace this tasty recipe, you need to follow these steps:

  1. In a big pan, add in water to boil spinach and fenugreek leaves. Put the leaves chopped up into the water and boil them until they get soft.
  2. After boiling, strain the water out and put the leaves into the blender. Blend them well until they mix and dissolve together.
  3. Now, in another pan, pour in olive oil to fry the cottage cheese (paneer). Carry on frying the cubes of cheese till they get golden brown in color. Make sure that you stir them occasionally so that they don’t burn. Take them aside and let them cool.
  4.  In the same pan, heat up more oil and fry the cumin seeds till you can sense that aroma. Add onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and all the spices. Continue cooking it until the tomatoes and onions soften up and changes color.
  5. Add in the blended green mixture and stir well before adding the cottage cheese (paneer) cubes in it. Go on and mix it well.
  6. Lastly, add in cream and let it simmer for 5 minutes till you see that bright green color and smell that intoxicating aroma!
  7. Serve hot with “makai ki roti” with butter on top!

 

 

Saag paneer versus Palak paneer

We all must have been confused at least once in our life in between Saag and Palak. They both look similar, having leaves and after being cooked, they still look the same. So how can we differentiate between them? Now let’s rethink about Saag. It is a dish originated from India and if we take their reference, they consider all green vegetables as Saag. Therefore, Palak is also a kind of Saag, right? But, it isn’t that case.

Saag includes all the green leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek leaves, mustard leaves, radish leaves etc. The dish that is made in combination with all of these vegetables is called Saag.

On the other hand, Palak is just spinach. It is solely cooked with no other green vegetable and it has a complete different taste as well.

Both of them are delicious in their own way and have their own values. You can add in paneer in both of these dishes to make it tasty. You can differentiate by the color too if you are an expert as Palak will give dark green color while Saag will have a lighter shade.

This is Palak paneer
Palak paneer
 This is Saag paneer

 

 

Picture credits

All the pictures are taken from Pinterest and Istockphotos

Frequently Asked Questions

Palak is simply spinach whereas Saag is a combination of many leafy vegetables like spinach, mustard leaves, fenugreek, radish leaves etc.

Saag usually have mild spices. The main flavor is of the vegetables in it. When we add cottage cheese (paneer) we get a soft texture with cheesy flavor.

Paneer is known as "cottage cheese" in English and it is used in a lot of cuisines in India.

To be fair, no it isn't unhealthy. Palak is a very good source of iron which we necessarily need to include in our diet. Whereas, paneer (cottage cheese) gives us calcium and protein. So, it is a healthy dish but of course, if eaten in moderation

Paneer (cottage cheese) is packed with calcium as it is made from milk and is a very useful source of good fats.

Yes! You can store Saag paneer after you pack it in an air tight container and freeze it. You can have it a day after but do not keep it frozen for long as it will lose it's nutrients.

No, having Palak doesn't increase weight because it is easily digested as it have fiber and very less calories. But, if you eat anything in surplus, it will result in weight gain.

Having paneer (cottage cheese) late at night will not be the greatest idea as it is heavy and eating heavy food is not recommended before sleeping.

You can easily enjoy paneer in raw state! It comes well prepared and when eaten raw, it gives that creamy and cheesy taste.

It is called "Cottage cheese" in the USA as well.

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