SARSON Ka SAAG Aur MAKKI KI ROTI / सरसों का साग और मक्की की रोटी (Tempered Mustard Greens w/ Cornmeal Flatbread)


Punjabi cuisine is rich and robust; food that fits the lifestyle of the rural Punjabi way of life since most folk burn up loads of calories working in the fields. And it also justifies the liberal use of butter (home made), ghee (home made), cream besides buttermilk/ lassi (Home made), cottage cheese (home made) and yogurt/ curd (home made yoghurt) in their diet. (It is not the same anymore though coz machines have replaced physical labour and made the work easier. Physical labour is not that common but the food habits are hard to break!!)

Makki ki Roti or Cornmeal Flat Bread, almost always paired with Sarson ka Saag, is a classic example of the robust Punjabi cuisine. This quintessentially winter lunch is made in almost every Punjabi household. I have memories of sitting in the courtyard on a charpoy, basking in the winter sun and enjoying this hearty comforting meal with my brother and dad. Mum would skilfully and expertly handle the cornmeal dough, roll the rotis in the palms of her hands and cook them over a hot skillet before dishing them out to us with a dollop of white butter. Ah! Woh beete din aur palkya khoob the!
Makki ki roti is a little different from the regular whole wheat flour chapattis. They are essentially to be made using warm water and they do not roll easily. One can use dry flour to roll them out between parchment paper or butter paper but I make them the rustic way my Mum used to make, using my palms. You will notice here that the Saag that I cooked is not the pureed type that one finds in the restaurants. Mustard greens or the Sarson ka Saag in most families is cooked and then puréed before being loaded with cream and butter. In my view cooked that way, the texture and the flavour as well of the saag, is totally lost. I still have not been able to develop a taste for this sort of puréed Sarson ka Saag or ‘Ghotma Saag’ as it is traditionally called. Besides, Sarson  Ka Saag is a true manifestation of the robust Punjabi cuisine, it gives me another reason to cook and serve it in its rustic textural form. Feel free to puree it in the food processor but I would suggest you try enjoy it in its original textural form before that.
For the Saag


750 grams Sarson Saag (Mustard Greens with stalks)
250 grams Bathua or Bathu Saag (called Chenopodium in Englishdo not confuse it with amaranth) In case you can’t find Bathu, use spinach leaves with stalks
Salt to taste (I usually add ½ tsp while boiling and if it is less, adjust the amount later)
For Tempering 1 tbsp cooking oil
½ tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Red chili powder
½ tsp Turmeric powder
1 Green chili (finely chopped) 
½ tsp ginger (finely chopped)
1 tsp garlic (finely chopped)
1 medium Red onion (finely chopped)
½ tsp Garam Masala 1 medium Tomato (finely chopped or pureed) You can increase the amount of tomato to your liking
1 tbsp butter
Pick and clean the sarson before chopping it.   
Pick and clean the bathu (discard the thick centre stalk and use only the tender leaf stalks along with the leaves)
Fill a large pot with water and in batches wash the sarson and bathu together. Repeat the process at least 3-4 times or depending how much grit is there in both.  Let the greens sit in the colander for 15 – 20 minutes to get rid of excess water. Chop the saag along with the stalks. Transfer the chopped saag to a pressure cooker along with salt. (If the amount seems too much to fit in the pressure cooker, add what ever amount fits and keep the cooker on heat. Stir the contents after sometime. The greens will wilt and now you can add and adjust the next batch and pressure cook)
I pressure cook the saag and cook it for 7-15 minutes depending on how soft or hard the stalk is.  You can use a heavy bottom pot and cook it till the stalk is well cooked and easily mashes up when pressed between the fore finger and the thumb. 
To prepare the tempering, heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to crackle, add the onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies.  As soon as the onion begins to turn golden, add the red chili powder, turmeric powder and garam masala. Cook for a few seconds and added the tomato. Cook till the tomatoes have softened and oil begins to appear along the sides of the tempering. Mix in the tempering to the saag and cook the saag further on till all the water has evaporated and the saag is just moist. Add butter and serve. 
Note: Add no water while pressure cooking since the greens will release lots of water on their own. Note: Do not thrown the water that the saag releases upon cooking. Let it evaporate on cooking after the tempering is added to it.  For the Corn meal Flat bread


2 cups Corn meal 2 cups Warm water


½ tsp salt

¼ tsp carrom seeds
Butter to serve
Oil for frying
Parchment paper or Butter paper
Using one cup of water to begin for one cup of corn meal, to make the dough. 
Gradually add the water to the dough and keep mixing the cornmeal with the other hand.
Bring the cornmeal in your hand and make a fistif the dough stays together, you are doing fine, if not, add more water. 
The dough should be medium soft. Keep kneading the dough for 2-3 minutes. 
If you do not have parchment paper or butter paper, take fist fulls and make balls of the dough. Now, using a little flour start rolling the dough. The flat bread should be of the thickness shown in the pic or less if you wish to. 
If you have parchment paper or butter paper, roll the dough using a little flour and do as above. You can even cut out the dough using cutter to have even edges. 
Using just a little oil, grease a hot skillet and gently place the flat bread over it. Let it cook for at least 1 minute on medium low flame. 
Grease the top of the flat bread with oil and flip to cook. Use more oil if required.
Cook till both sides are golden brown. 
Serve hot with butter. 
Note: After I apply the butter on the cooked flat bread, I usually poke it with my finger so that the butter goes deep and is well absorbed by the flat bread.


Serves 4 

52 thoughts on “SARSON Ka SAAG Aur MAKKI KI ROTI / सरसों का साग और मक्की की रोटी (Tempered Mustard Greens w/ Cornmeal Flatbread)

  1. What an interesting meal this is. I have never been lucky enough to taste it but I sure would like too. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe and the instructions. I must pin this right now!!!

  2. If u did not say it is saag and roti I would have thought it is some fancy baked stuff :)) Taruna, love the way u give a unique twist to Indian food..
    I am surprised how the vertical ones are sticking together without falling apart.

  3. I would definitely try the non pureed form of sarson ka saag but for sure want saag to be on the side of makki ki roti….Nice pictures….Keep the good work going…

  4. Really unique way of presenting this, I love it! Saag is one of my favourite dishes, you made this dish look very yummy. I think I will use your recipe once again. thanks!!

    1. Thanks dear 🙂
      I can never get enough of this dish. It is my favorite meal during winters and I always order it even at restaurants when it is in season.

  5. I adore your cornmeal flat bread. I have never tried cornmeal like this… I must share this with my Mum and play around with it. 🙂

  6. Love your unique and beautiful presentation. This is the perfect time to eat this. It’s so cold here and what could be better than this. Yummy!

  7. The most authentic Punjabi food made to look so fancy and good.
    I love makki ki roti, it’s one of those things I cannot stop eating but is quite a filling one too.

  8. What an interesting and delicious looking meal. Quite unique and absolutely delicious looking. It’s like a savory ice cream sandwich. 🙂 Just as good, but completely different!

  9. such a classic punjabi dish.. my mom makes this stuff, and I love it. really nice presentation.. such a cool idea. 🙂

  10. So cute and I am sure that taste as good as it look…love the flavors!
    Thanks for the recipe and hope you are having a wonderful week 😀

  11. Nice – Would love to share with all my foodie friends – If you’re interested then head over to FoodFotoGallery dot com and submit one of your food photos (without watermarks, please).

Comments are closed.