Friday, 30 March 2012

My Mothers 'Sarson Ka Saag' - Mustard Greens

It was my mothers 60th Birthday yesterday.  We went over for a good home-made celebratory meal and generous piece of Birthday cake.  I forgot to take my camera with me, so don't have any photographs to share, but both my brothers took loads, so hopefully I will get to share some next week.

I don't know if you've noticed, but there has been a distinct lack of foodie posts on my blog recently.  Yes part of the reason is I have been distracted with gallivanting around parts of Wales, the other is my other hobby: growing veg.  But the real truth is my mother.  One of the benefits drawbacks for a foodie and one that likes to cook is moving closer to family whom also like to cook from scratch; and their insistence to feed you or send you food over.  And this has been happening lots.  So with the exception of the 'Caerphilly Cheese, Leek and Potato Pie' I made a few days ago, not much cooking has been taking place in my new kitchen.

As well as Birthday cake, pilau rice, potato tikkia, vegetable samosas, pakoras ... one of the other homemade dishes we have been feasting on is authentic saag - mustard greens.  For many of my Welsh readers it will look like laverbread, but I assure you it is nothing like it.  It is only similar in that is it is an acquired taste.  In my childhood days and even in my youth, I did not like this jet green stuff much.  However over the years my tastes have,...well matured shall we say.  These days I would describe it as lush.  Its like deep green butter or Pâté if you wish, that you can lavishly smear your naan bread or roti with it and eat.
Although saag can be made with any green, proper Saag is made with mustard greens, not that stuff that is sold in restaurants and take-aways as Palak Saag which is spinach by the way.   My mother will say ‘real saag is king and palak is the prince’ and I think this is true to those who know the difference. If you interested to learn more about authentic saag, follow this link

I have to put hand on heart and say, I have not attempted to make saag for myself as it takes hours and its such a laborious cooking process. The closest I have got it by making a cheats version of it with Turnip Greens, its was lovely - but different.

Anyway, we have enjoyed my mothers rich homemade saag with plain basmati rice, with roti and with naan bread.  And guess what there is still loads more.  I am freezing the rest for another day. 

19 comments:

  1. Mmmm, saag :) I love your new header with the welsh dragon too Shaheen! x

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    1. Thanks Philippa.
      Its to mark my move to Wales from Scotland.

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  2. While I did not find a recipe for your mustard greens, I can tell you that we cook them often. It ain't difficult and it is delicious (though strong) and full of nutrients.

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    1. Thanks Stephen,
      Your recipe must be different from my mother. I agree it is not that difficult but it does take time, hours in fact to stew.

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  3. Really lovely post Shaheen. I never realised all this about saag so you have extended my knowledge and made me hungry at the same time!!

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  4. Best wishes for your mum's birthday. It's always very interesting to read your posts. Have a nice weekend!

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  5. Oh! I love my mom's food. Happy birthdays to your mother and enjoy the lovely meals that she cooks.

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  6. Sarson ki saag is a almost staple for Punjabi's in India. Punjab grows the highest Mustard and while they let the plant to reach full maturity to harvest the mustard seeds, the women pluck the lower tender leaves and make this saag for their husbands. Mustard leaves have the highest Omega 3 fatty acids and is very healthy. Currently my mustard greens in my garden have only reached a height of 3 inches. I should get around to make this saag once they grow to a decent size plants.

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    1. My mother sowed some seeds today at my Dads allotment.

      Like you I should get round to making saag myself too.

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  7. Happy Birthday to your mother!! :-)

    Oh my, this dish sounds wonderful to me! Coming from the Southern US, we are huge fans of mustard greens and their wonderful unique flavor. Could I perhaps persuade you to share your mother's recipe?

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    1. Astra,
      I will have to hover over my mothers shoulders the next time she makes it and then I will share the recipe. Promise, but she makes such a large batch, that I don't know how I would be able to capture it in a recipe enough for 4 - 6 people, I will try for youx Hope your keeping well. I will be over later in the week.

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  8. I've never tasted mustard green - well I don't think so - but it is nice that you are able to eat your mother's saag - even if you have less call to cook and bake. I know what you mean about family who cooks - my mum is the same and often we end up with so much food when we all cook - but it is great when you are too tired to cook and know someone else will. The other thing is that there are some things I make - such as kids birthday cakes - that my mum is not interested in. You have all those cute cookie cutters so surely you would be able to amuse your nephews that maybe they would not get from your mum!

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    1. Johanna, I do love how you always make me feel better. Yeah there are lots of things I make that my mother doesn't and yeah cookies is one of them :)

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  9. I always thought that saag meant spinach until I posted on it recently and was gently corrected. I do like the idea of exploring a mustard green version.

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    1. Thanks Liz,
      Yeah gently is sometimes the best way, but its not your fault, its misinformation by other people. The mustart green version is sublime, well I think so these days.

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  10. i always thought that saag meant spinach too...asin that it could refer to either that or mustard greens. :/

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