Nothing is more iconic and a better representation of Punjab’s love for food than Sarson ka Saag and Makki di Roti. The seasonal winter food is known for the abundance of flavour, nutrients and colour; just like the land and people it belongs to. Sarson ka saag is a rustic dish devised for the laborious lifestyle of Punjab’s farming community.
Prepared with generous amounts of ghee and served with jaggery on the side, it’s served with makki di roti makes it a healthy dinner combination for the cold north Indian winters. For the complete experience, you must top makki di roti, made from maize flour, with a generous dollop of makkhan. The saag is made with mustard greens, which is the source for mustard seeds—the crop is one of the most important agricultural produce for India. The desi mustard, grown in both India and Pakistan, has a smooth textured leaf. There is also the curly-leafed mustard, which is found in India, Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries. It is a bit rare compared to the desi mustard and has an earthy taste.
1. Rich in antioxidantsMustard greens are a powerhouse of antioxidants, which include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Vitamin E, and phytonutrients such as phenols. The antioxidants present in mustard greens help, provide protection against cell damage caused by free radicals.
2. Excellent source of IronGenerally, a small amount of spinach is added to sarson ka saag when cooking. Spinach contains Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, and Vitamins B6, B9, and E. Mustard seeds, on the other hand, are a good source of Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, and Manganese.
3. Contains Dietary Fibre
Leafy greens are known to be a good source of fibre, and mustard greens are no exception. An adequate amount of fibre aids in smooth bowel functions and can help prevent constipation and colon cancer.
4. Aids in controlling cholesterol levelMustard greens are known to be efficient in decreasing bad cholesterol levels in the body. When consumed in adequate amounts, it can help you balance your cholesterol levels.
5. Is gluten-freeIf you are on a gluten-free diet, makki di roti is the best option among Indian breads. It is made of maize flour, which has fewer calories than wheat flour. The flour is also high in protein and starch.
6. Helps the body deal with anaemiaCorn is rich in Vitamin-B constituents, which are beneficial for hair, skin, and heart. Corn also contains Vitamin B12, folic acid and iron which are good for your red blood cells and can help keep anaemia at bay.
The next time you want to experience something that will give you winter feels straight from Punjab, you know what to order for.
If you’re keen on making this dish at home, check out our recipe for Sarson ka saag here.