Monday, July 16, 2012

Punjabi Greens

The last few CSA boxes we've received have been blessed with gorgeous root vegetables, even in the midst of the drought the farm has been facing.  A few of the season's plants are beyond reviving...lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower....  The peas have given up.  The fennel has bolted.  It is a rough year for them.  Yet still they have managed to provided an astounding and tasty array of vegetables every week.  Never have I felt to connected to th4e food I prepare, nor so grateful for all of the hard work that goes into preparing it!

But the root veggies...beets, turnips, radishes!  They are small, sweet and such an amazing treat.  When we opened our box we were treated to an added bonus.   We were given the plant root and all  So many tasty greens!  These would not go to waste.

Rather than sauteeing them up with garlic as I am usually wont to do, I turned to an Indian cookbook to see what other recipes may avail themselves to these dark leafy greens.  I'd had wonderful luck with Paleek paneer and hoped for similar inspiration.

The recipe I fell upon was Sarson Da Saag...Punjabi Mustard Greens.  No mustard greens were to be had, but the jist of the recipe is the same.

adapted from the Everything Indian Cookbook by Monica Bhide

serves 4

The Ingredients:
1 lb assorted greens (mustard, collard, turnip, beet)
1/4 lb fresh spinach
1 small turnip, diced
3 cups water or vegetable stock
2 Tbsp ghee or oil
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste *
2 Tbsp cornmeal
salt to taste
butter for serving

*if you cannot find ginger-garlic paste, mince together equal parts fresh ginger and fresh garlic

The Process:
Combine the greens, spinach and turnip in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Add about 2 cups of water or stock and bring to a boil.  Cook until the turnips are tender, about 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and drain any liquid.  Allow the vegetables to cool slightly.

Using a food processor or bleder, puree the vegetables into a thick paste.  Set aside.

Heat the ghee or oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ginger-garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the pureed vegetables and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Sprinkle in the cornmeal and stir well to combine.  Add salt to taste.

Add the remaining water or stock to the skillet and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 25-30 minutes, adding more water or stock as needed to prevent the dish from dryin gout.

Serve hot, garnished with butter.

The Review:
The dish is traditional served up alongside a large plate of makki di roti.  I can certainly see why!  The creamy greens just scream to be scooped up by an accompanying  flatbread.

This is comfort food at its best.  The preparation brings out all of the best of these leafy greens, without weighing down with too much cream or butter.  I adore creamed spinach and other hearty Southern dishes, but on some sweltering days the extra dairy is just too much.  This dish was so incredibly filling, but light at the same time.

The original recipe called for frozen greens...thawed and drained.  I only had fresh on hand.  Either way this dish is a treat.

I do believe I have found my new favorite go-to recipe when I have extra greens on hand.


  1. I can't grow root vegetables (other than radishes) - the ground is too hard... But I have lots of chard. My spinach bolted last week LOL
    This looks delicious~

    1. Oh the joys of gardening! I'd love to know what you cook up with your home grown goodies!