Sarson ka Saag – Makai ki Roti

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Punjabi food is wholesome and full of rustic flavour. The custom of cooking in community ovens or tandoors prevails in rural pockets even today. The cuisine is characterised by a profusion of dairy products in the form of malai, paneer and dahi. The dals are a speciality of this type of cuisine, made of whole pulses like black gram, green gram and Bengal gram.  They are cooked on slow fire, often simmered for hours till they turn creamy and then flavoured with spices and rounded off with malai for that rich finish. The food is simply delicious. The most unique thing about cooking in a tandoor is the smoky flavour that the food gets making it tastier. Moreover it is a healthy way of cooking since minimum fat is required and the food generally gets cooked in its own juices thus retaining its natural flavours. Besides it is not only easy to digest, it is also very hygienic.  In conclusion one can safely say that it is through tandoori cooking that Indian cuisine first got globally acknowledged. So here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Mustard chopped 2 cups
  • Spinach leaves (palak) chopped 1 cup
  • Ghee 2 tablespoons
  • Dried red chillies 4
  • Ginger-garlic-green chilli paste 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Gram flour (besan) 1 tablespoon
  • Butter 2 tablespoons
  • Maize flour (makai ka atta) 2 cups
  • Refined flour (maida) ½ cup + for dusting
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon
  • Carom seeds (ajwain) 1 teaspoon
  • Ghee for cooking

Method:

  1. Place mustard leaves and spinach leaves in a deep non-stick pan. Add 2 cups water and place the pan on heat. Let it boil for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and strain. Reserve the stock. Put the boiled greens in a bowl and mash with a masher.
  3. Heat ghee in a non-stick pan. Break the dried red chillies and add, saute till their seeds crackle.
  4. Add ginger-garlic-green chilli paste, mix well and sauté for a minute. Add mashed greens, mix and sauté well.
  5. Add reserved stock, little by little, mix, cover and cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Use the entire stock reserving about 3-4 tablespoons.
  6. Add salt, mix well, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Dry roast gram flour in a small pan on low heat till fragrant. Add it to the reserved stock, mix well and add to the pan with the greens. Mix well, cover and cook for a minute.
  8. Mix maize flour, refined flour, salt, red chilli powder and carom seeds in a bowl. Add sufficient water and knead into a soft dough.
  9. Add butter to the greens and mix well. Remove from heat and set aside.
  10. Heat a non-stick tawa.
  11. Divide the dough into equal portions, wet your palms and shape the portions into balls.
  12. Dust a worktop with refined flour, place the balls on it and flatten them to make medium thick rotis.
  13. Place roti, one by one, on the hot tawa and cook the underside for a minute. Flip, drizzle some ghee on top and cook, turning sides, till both the sides are evenly done.
  14. Serve hot sarson ka saag with makai ki roti.