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  • Sarson ka Saag
    Spiced Mustard Greens

    YIELD: 5 CUPS / 1.2 L
    TOOLS: You’ll need a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan or Dutch oven with a lid; a blender; a food processor; and a small sauté pan.

    When you drive into the heart of Punjab, the first thing you’ll be struck by are all of the green mustard fields dotted with tiny yellow flowers. I see it every time I travel to my father’s childhood village. It’s a sight you keep in your heart, and no surprise that this crop is the inspiration for many a Bollywood movie dance scene. If you wanted to take the state of Punjab and neatly wrap it up in one dish, it would be this one, served with a side of stacked makki ki roti (corn flatbread). Need I say more?

    • 4 tablespoons /60 mL ghee or vegetable oil, divided
    • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
    • 1 medium yellow or red onion, finely diced
    • 1 tablespoon plus 2 pinches salt, divided
    • 2 large bunches mustard greens (about 1½ pounds / 680 g), trimmed and finely chopped
    • 1 small bunch spinach (about 6 ounces / 180 g), cleaned and chopped
    • 3 tablespoons /30 g cornmeal
    • 2½ cups /590 mL water
    • 1 small red or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1–6 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed
    • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 2 teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 tablespoon butter or vegan margarine
    • Makki ki Roti (corn bread), Roti, Naan, or brown or white basmati rice, for serving
    1. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium–high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the ghee. Add the cumin seeds, the diced onion, and 1 pinch of the salt and cook for 2 minutes, until the mixture is opaque and slightly brown.
    2. Add the mustard greens, spinach, cornmeal, and water to the sauté pan. Reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. The greens will break down and the water will dry up a bit. Remove from the heat.
    3. Once cool enough to handle, transfer the ingredients to a blender and process the ingredients until smooth. Return the ingredients to the sauté pan, cover, and set aside as you prep the remaining ingredients.
    4. In the bowl of a food processor, grind together the chopped onion, ginger, garlic, and fresh chiles until the mixture forms a rough paste.
    5. In a small sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add the paste from Step 4 and the remaining pinch of salt. Cook for 4 minutes, until the mixture is slightly browned. Remove from the heat.
    6. Transfer this mixture to the sauté pan containing the greens. Add the Garam Masala, the coriander, the red chile powder, the turmeric, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt and stir until combined. Return the sauté pan to medium–high heat and cook for 5 minutes, until the moisture evaporates just a little. The ingredients may bubble and splash. If so, just cover with a lid.
    7. Transfer to a serving bowl and place the butter on top of the greens. Serve immediately with Makki ki Roti, or with Roti, Naan, or rice. You can be a little decadent with this recipe—it’s culturally acceptable!

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Alta Editions LLC.