Saturday, 19 March 2016

Vegetarian Sarson Ka Saag, Potato, Paneer and Pea Pie

I made this Sarson Ka Saag, Potato, Paneer and Pea Pie filling during British Pie Week (7th - 13th March 2016)  and then lost Internet connection for five days so could not share the recipe with you then.  

I don't want to be pedantic, but many people make a mistake of thinking Spinach is Saag.  It is not and sadly many people of South Asian heritage continue to perpetuate this.  Why I am not sure, perhaps because they don't know their greens!  So let me tell you, Saag is mustard greens and Palak is Spinach.  See THIS blog link if you wish to learn more. 

Saag is a dish I used to resent eating when I was a child, all green and mushy.  Now there are days when I hanker for the siliky green thick sauce.  My way of cooking Sarsan Ka Saag is in no way authentic, as the authentic way is time consuming, so I rely on tinned Sarsan Ka Saag.  This recipe is my lazy version made with tinned Sarsan Ka Saag but the memories of eating it are rooted in my childhood days and evoke happy and carefree times.
Although you could eat this filling as a curry with rice or an Indian style bread.  The filling is actually extremely versatile as its not sloppy. 

So here are some suggestions: Make a Indo-Greek Spanakopita with filo pastry; Indian Samosas or individual small hand pies (see below).  Or wrap it in a Pakistani roti. Punjabi chappati or Mexican tortilla or slather it over an Indian naan bread and call it a pizza!   Or you could simply make one large pie and top it with puff pastry or make individual Pot Pies!  
I have to admit that I was partly inspired by the rather pretty Rejina Sabur-Cross aka The Gastro Geek  for this recipe.   A couple of years back she made Aloo Saag Pies.  We have similar ingredients, but our approach to making the filling is different.  She uses tamarind.  I don't but if you want you could dollop a tablespoon or two of sweet mango chutney, but its not essential. 

I used tinned Sarson Ka Saag.  there is no way I will ever attempt making saag from scratch at home.  See here why?! I either wait for my mother or sister-in-laws to make some and offer me some, or buy it in tins and then I adapt it to my taste.  I  won't begrudge you if you used tinned spinach - just call it Palak.... please.  I am sharing this with Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching for Spice; and Inheritance Recipes challenge co hosted by Solange at Pebble Soup and Coffee and Vanilla.  

Sarson Ka Saag, Potato, Paneer and Pea Pie Filling
Ingredients for the Filling
4 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 green chillies, finely sliced
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 x 800g can or 2 x 400g cans of Sarson Ka Saag or Spinach, drained of any excess liquid
frozen peas, defrosted
For the paneer or tofu
1 tablespoon oil
1 packet of paneer cheese or tofu (rmember to remove liquid), diced
Salt to taste
In a wide pan, heat the oil then stir in the onions and cook until tender.  When the onions begin to soften, stir in the garlic and the spices and cook for a couple of minutes, before stirring in the sliced green chillies, tomato puree and diced potatoes.  Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the water or stock and bring to a boil, cook on medium heat until the potatoes begin to soften.
Then stir in the tinned Sarson Ka Saag and cook for 15 minutes on medium heat for the flavours to mingle.
While the saag is cooking,
Method for the paneer or tofu
In a frying pan, heat the oil until hot, then pan fry the paneer or tofu until golden. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.

Stir the peas into the pot with the Sarson Ka Saag and then gently stir in the paneer or tofu and cook until the peas are done. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Turn off the heat and allot to cool before using in your recipe.  
See introduction of blog post above on various ways to use up this versatile green filling*


  1. Years ago, when trekking in Nepal, we always used to try and buy some Saag from the villagers, to go with our evening meal of rice and dhal. I loved it! you don't really see it on sale in the UK.

    1. We struggle in Wales too, I've known my mother and sister in laws to bring back bundles when they've visited big cities like Birmingham and London, but rarely find it here unless its homegrown.

  2. This sounds like a useful base dish to make if it can go in so many forms. I like your pie approach!

    1. Thanks Kari, its not wet like spinach so it holds better I think.

  3. what a shame your net connection went down - and how frustrating if you had a pie recipe lined up for pi day. And thanks for the lesson on greens - I need to learn more as I am sure I get confused - will need to look out a tin of the greens (I am sure there is an indian shop close by when we get home)

    1. BT has been terrible to be honest, and we are stuck with them until a new Internet provider comes to the valleys where I live. I hope you find some Saag when you get back home, but nothing compares to the fresh stuff.

  4. wow, you've really busted an urban myth here. Saag is not Spinach amazing never knew. Thank you for linking to #InheritanceRecipes

    1. Thank you so much Solange.
      Here's the link if you wish to know more about Saag v Palak. I wrote it when I first started my blog

  5. I have to admit to having always thought that saag meant spinach too so thank you for clarifying! I love paneer dishes so this sounds delicious. Thank you so much for joining in with #CookOnceEatTwice as well!

    1. Thank you so much. Its a common mistake and not your fault, as its what has been perpetuated and continues to be so. Here is link if you wish to learn more about Saag v Palak

  6. Oh, that sounds lovely!! Thank you for sharing with Inheritance Recipes.


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