31 January 2013

Makki ki roti - Sarson ka Saag

Come winters and ‘saag - roti’ become a staple in our house. (along with Gaajar ka halwa - now that's another story altogether)

Here are my recipes for the saag and roti if you'd like to try it out.....
Saag is made with a combination of greens where mustard leaves are the dominant ingredient with an addition of spinach, bathua leaves etc.

Note before cooking:
The quantities may seem large but once cooked the leaves wilt to a much smaller quantity.
I use the stems of the mustard too -  if they are tough you can peel the outer layer like you would an asparagus spear.
You need a pressure cooker to cook this dish.
Put the cooker on the flame with about 1/4 cup water and as you chop the greens keep adding them in. Within minutes they'll wilt and all of it will fit in the cooker.
Wash all leaves well before chopping.
Bathua - Chenopodium album - and spinach are added in a very small quantity for a very distinct flavour.
Bathua can be hard to find so can be optional - instead I like to use a bunch of tender radish leaves. I sometimes add a chopped radish too.
As it is so time-consuming to prepare you can make this in bulk and divide it into portions and store in the freezer. Thaw and heat well before eating. It only improves with time.

To make the Saag:

List A:
1kg           mustard stems and leaves (sarson) chopped fine,
150gms     spinach leaves chopped fine,
100 gms    bathua leaves chopped fine,(optional)
4 tbsp        ginger-garlic paste
4-5            green chillies chopped fine - or according to taste,
1 tbsp        salt (you can always add more later)
1cup          water

List B:
100gm       cornmeal or makki ka atta,
2-3            diced onions,
2-3 tsp       chopped garlic,
1-2            chopped green chillies (optional),
2 tbsp        cooking oil 
2 tbsp        desi ghee

List C:
Dollops and dollops of home made white butter.
Sliced onion for salad.
green chillies for salad ..:)

Pressure cook all ingredients of list A for about 30 - 45 minutes on low flame.
Open the cooker and sprinkle about half of the cornmeal/ makki ka atta over. Mix it into the greens and place on fire without the lid, stirring well so the atta doesn't form lumps.
Add the rest of the cornmeal a spoon at a time. Let cook about 5 minutes or till you see the excess liquid all absorbed by the atta.
Now for some elbow-grease at this stage - while still on the fire, use a wooden 'madhaani', as we call it, to mash the saag up and make it into a paste. ( a 'madhaani' is a wooden tool used in Punjabi kitches to churn curd to make lassi) 
Yeah, that wooden thing in the middle of the picture below.....
(These day most people churn up the saag in a mixer/ blender which gives a very smooth paste that is unlike the texture of authentic saag - I like the coarser texture you get when you mash it by hand. The choice is yours.)

The tadka or tempering:
Heat up the oil, add the ghee into that. (this prevents the ghee from burning).
Add the chopped ingredients from list B and saute' till golden brown. Add the cooked greens and fry for a minute. Taste the salt and adjust if required.
You are done!!!!
Serve hot spooned on top of a makki ki roti and dollops of home made butter, slices of onion and slivers of gree chillies.Yum!!!!
Or ....

To make the Makki ki Roti:

This dough kneads up soft and fluffy and is difficult to roll out. You need to pat it with your hands into a flat roti. This roti is thicker that a normal wheat chapatti.
To make it easier you can add wheat flour in the 1:4 proportion.

For 4 rotis:

2 cups      cornmeal/ makki ka atta (depends on the size of the roti too)
1/2 tsp      salt - optional
1/4 cup     wheat flour - optional
warm water

Mix the warm water to the flour/ atta to make a dough. It will be a soft crumbly dough.
Pat out into rotis with your palms (dampen them first) to a medium thickness - maybe 3-4mm. 
Or you can pat them on a flat surface.
Or pat it out on a plastic sheet as the dough tends to stick to any surface. 
Better still, you can sandwich the dough in two sheets and roll it out with a rolling pin.
Also, you can pick the roti up with the plastic sheet and turn onto the griddle without breaking it. Peel off the plastic though  :)

Pat it out....
Or try a plastic sheet....
Cook on a moderately hot griddle till one side is half-done. Turn with spatula and cook other side and back to the first till all done and golden brown.
Spread with ghee or butter and serve with the saag.
Enjoy!!! hope you like this and try this out. I would love to see how it turned out for you!!!


  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe, always wanted to try it out. I did not get what is bathua leaves ?

  2. I am glad you like it, Anitha.
    Bathua is a leaf vegetable like spinach but has smaller pointed leaves. Up north in UP, Bhiar, etc it is used often for bhaji, raita, puri, etc.
    I think it is also called goose foot or lamb’s quarter. Hope that helps :)

  3. This is great! Thank you! I've been looking for a good greens recipe. Now to figure out the new-to-me and slightly puzzling names on the greens available at my local market. :)

    I wish I'd brought my tortilla press, both for these rotis and for all atta ones. Definitely going to fetch it back with me the next time I zip home.


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