Punjabi Sarson Ka Saag (Greens and Spices)

Sarson ka saag recipe

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
230 Calories
9g Fat
32g Carbs
9g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 230
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 586mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Protein 9g
Calcium 220mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A typical Punjabi (North Indian) dish, sarson ka saag is made with wilted greens and is commonly served over flatbread, such as makki ki roti (Indian maize flatbread), as well as a dollop of fresh butter.

Sarson ka saag is common in Pakistan as well as northern India. It is a sabzi, which means it incorporates leafy parts of vegetables and herbs. Many dishes from this region of India are made with dairy, and several are curry recipes where the food is cooked in a gravy. North Indian cuisine has been strongly influenced by the cuisine from central Asia as compared to southern Indian foods.


  • 1 bunch (1/2 pound) spinach (washed and finely chopped)
  • 1 bunch (1/2 pound) mustard greens (washed and finely chopped)
  • 2 green chilies
  • Dash of salt, or to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 large onion (grated)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger or ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (juice of 1/2 a lime or lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon Bengal gram flour or maize flour
  • Garnish: Unsalted butter

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for sarson ka saag
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  2. In a medium pot, mix the spinach, mustard greens, green chilies, and salt to taste. Add 1 cup water and boil until cooked.

    Mix spinach and mustard greens
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Mash the greens and mix well to make a coarse paste.

    Mash the greens
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  4. In another pan, heat the ghee on a medium flame. When hot, add the grated onion and fry until a pale golden color.

    Heat the ghee
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and fry until the oil separates from the masala (onion-spice mix).

    Add remaining ingredients
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Add the greens to this and stir until fully blended.

    Add greens
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Garnish with a dollop of butter and serve with makki ki roti (Indian maize flatbread).

    Garnish with butter
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  8. Enjoy!

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Tips for Cleaning Greens

  • The most time-consuming part of this recipe may be washing and chopping the greens, but by following a few steps the task will be efficient. First, take the bunches of spinach and mustard greens, one at a time, and lay on a cutting board. Chop off 1 to 2 inches of stem to remove any tough parts and make the greens more uniform in size. Submerge the loose leaves in a bowl of cold water and briefly swish them around to help remove any dirt. Remove the bunch from the bowl, dump the water (along with the dirt particles), and repeat the process until the water is clean. This can range from 2 rinsings to as many as 4, depending on how dirty the bunches are, to begin with. (Sometimes vegetables from farm stands are sold with a bit of the soil.)
  • Since in this recipe you are cooking the greens in water you don't need to dry them before chopping. To cut the spinach and mustard greens into fine pieces, gather the bunch (or a portion if too large) with one hand, lay on the cutting board, and, with the other hand, chop into small pieces using a sharp knife.

Recipe Variation

  • Sarson ka saag is the perfect base for adding other ingredients to make the dish more substantial. To keep it vegetarian, add fried cubes of paneer cheese, or for a one-dish meal, incorporate cooked chicken or lamb. Feel free to incorporate other greens often a part of this recipe such as radish greens, Chenopodium, and fenugreek leaves, if you can find them.