Sunday, January 7, 2018

shalgam matar ki sookhi subzi

Turnips are not the favourite vegetable of many people I know, including my husband but there are some people who wait for winters so they can eat turnips. I have got some great feedback about the turnip recipes I have posted here, especially the shalgam alu matar ki subzi and shalgam bhien matar ki subzi that many of my readers have started cooking regularly every season.

shalgam matar ki sookhi subzi

Bringing you another shalgam matar ki subzi for you today and this one is a unique shalgam subzi that was shared generously by a lady who was buying turnips along with me and I sensed she loves turnips going by the way she was choosing them. The recipe is something I could never have imagined existed, with loads of coriander leaves and a hint of sugar, this turnip subzi has become my favourite now. I have already cooked it three times in three days to get this shalgam matar ki subzi well entrenched into my memory.

I love the recipe exchange that happens in the weekly vegetable market I visit. Most of the the times it is me who ends up giving recipe suggestions to people when they see me buying unusual vegetables like these turnip leaves for shaljam patta gosht or mongre (rat tailed radish), red cabbages etc. and end up asking how do I cook them. But I have realised that it happens both ways as I always feel free to ask people about how they are planning to cook something they are buying. There are smiles exchanged instantly as a reward and then the recipes just tumble out for our pleasure.

shalgam matar ki sookhi subzi

This shalgam ki subzi is a typical everyday punjabi recipe that is made without any onion and tomatoes, the lady who shared the recipe told me specifically that she loves this recipe because it is devoid of onion and tomatoes. She just suggested to dump everything together and cook covered till done. The generous use of dhaniya patta and this quick method was enough to make me try the recipe just as I reached home that day, armed with all the fresh ingredients needed. The only change I made in the recipe is the addition of peas and use of green garlic instead of regular chopped garlic she had suggested, both types of garlic work well I realised after the three trials I did.


(serves 2-3)
300 gm or 2 large fresh turnips (I doubt if the recipe will work with mature or shriveled turnips)
1 cup chopped coriander leaves with the stalks
1/2 cup freshly shelled peas (optional)
2 tbsp chopped green garlic or 2 tsp chopped garlic cloves
1 tbsp grated ginger
chopped green chilies to taste
1 tsp everyday curry powder (coriander, cumin, pepper and tejpatta powdered together)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp mustard oil


Clean and cube the turnips. Keep aside.

Heat the mustard oil in a pan and tip in the dry spice powders along with the chopped garlic, green chilies and ginger at once. Cook till everything gets aromatic, just about 30 seconds or so.

Add the cubed turnips along with peas and chopped dhaniya patta (coriander greens), mix well. The amount of dhaniya patta will feel too much at this stage but don't be alarmed as this is where the taste comes from.
shalgam matar ki sookhi subzi

Add the salt and sugar, mix well and cook covered at lowest temperature till done. It takes about 8-10 minutes to cook.

You can add some water to make a thinner curry and can add a dash of lime juice if you would like a little tartness. You won't need it if the turnips and peas are fresh because the quality of ingredients is a determining factor in this recipe.

shalgam matar ki sookhi subzi

This is one of those recipes of turnips that even the turnip haters would approve of, just as the husband did. This subzi pairs well with crisp hot parathas, khameeri rotis, kulchas and plain roti but I think we would love it with khichdi, rice and dal type of meals too.

Make this shalgam matar ki subzi now and let me know if you liked it as much as we did.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Recipe of chane ka saag or chane ke saag ka chokha

Chane ka saag or chane ka saag ka chokha has a wonderful complex flavour even though the recipe is quite simple. The complexity in the flavour is attributed to the mineral content of the leaves of chickpeas which taste savoury with a rich mineral taste when eaten raw. This saag recipe will leave you spellboud with its simplicity and complex flavours.

chane ka saag

Sadly, chane ka saag (leaves of chickpea plants) is not so common in the cities possibly because it needs some time to sort and clean before being cooked. Most people are busy with work and with nonsensical things too sometimes and consider the time spent on preparing food as a waste of time unfortunately. I have overheard some interesting conversations in the weekly vegetables market in my area when people talk about how they would want to eat the greens but wonder who will clean them.

chane ka saag

And then there are the vegetable vendors who come with a chopping instrument to cut the green right there for their costumers, but only spinach and mustard greens can be chopped like that because they are long stemmed and come in bundles, sometimes even methi greens. I wouldn’t ever think of getting my greens chopped like that, without cleaning them thoroughly in my own kitchen. Such pre-chopped greens loose all their flavour and of course the nutrients when they are rinsed in water before cooking so best to be avoided. Smaller leaves take time to sort and clean and that is the reason chane ka saag is not so popular despite being one of the tastiest green vegetable.

I have realised getting older now, that this kind of time spent on preparing food is quite meditative in nature and ensures healthy delicious food for the family.

Chane ka saag is not grown for the leaves primarily but is a byproduct of growing chickpeas. In the vegetative growth phase, before the flowers set in, the growing tips of chickpea plants are pruned regularly to make the plants bushier so it can bear more flowers and chickpea pods. In the rural areas and smaller towns, many women will be seen selling really fresh chane ka saag that they have plucked the same morning, so fresh that it is eaten in its raw form as well, just like a green snack. The taste of the fresh chane ka saag is savoury with a complex mineral punch on the palate, many people Just munch on the fresh chane ka saag by the handfuls and sometimes pound it with some salt and chilies for a coarse dry chutney.

I have grown chane ka saag Just for the leaves many times in my garden. You need to soak some black chickpeas and burry them under 1 cm of soil in a wide pot, it helps if you crowd them together, and keep it in a sunny spot. The leaves emerge in 3-5 days and grow about 6-8 inches tall in a month or so. Harvest them all and use to make any of the chane ka saag recipes from this blog. The whole plant except the base can be used in this case as it is tender and flavourful.

I have memories of such snacks from the holidays we used to enjoy in my grandmother’s village and how some women used to collect chane ka saag in their Aanchal (free flowing part of the sari, used in multiple ways in rural India) and come home to sell the saag instantly. A few saagwali ladies still come to our Banaras home bearing a large cane basket on their heads every morning to sell freshly plucked chane ka saag or foraged Bathua ka saag during winters and I go berserk whenever I am visiting.

I have already shared a few recipes of chane ka saag (saag is a generic name for all leafy greens as well as cooked leafy greens, used interchangeably) like this chane ka saag in a mustard gravy, chane ke saag ke pakode and chana saag dumpling curry, chane ke saag ka achar etc. The recipe I am sharing today is called just as chane ka saag in my home but some other people, especially from Bihar, call it as chane ke saag ka chokha of chane ke saag ki chutney as this recipe can be consumed like chokha or chutney too. I have used this recipe as a dip and as a spread as well with wonderful results.

chane ka saag

This recipe of chane ka saag is so simple to prepare that you may feel like dismissing it in the first glance. But trust me the complex mineral taste of chane ka saag is enhanced so beautifully by the raw mustard oil and green chillies and garlic used in the recipe. Some people tend to use the green garlic for this recipe but I avoid that because the taste of chane ka saag itself is so rich that it doesn’t need any meddling. But go ahead and use green garlic if you like, minor flavour variations make a big difference sometimes for individual palates.

To clean chane ka saag you need to pluck the tips including tender stem and discard the hard stem, I prefer to shuck off all leaves from the hard stem too as this saag is so difficult to come by in the cities and is quite expensive too. This sorting of the saag takes some time and then you need to wash the leaves in several changes of water, I suggest you soak the leaves in a deep vessel for sometime so all the dirt settles down and then wash with several changes of water.You don’t need to chop the saag for this recipe.

250 gm chane ka saag cleaned and sorted
¼ cup water
¼ tsp salt (or more to taste)
10 cloves of garlic
5-6 green chilies or to taste
1 tbsp raw cold pressed mustard oil
Use 2 tsp mustard powder and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil if you don’t have access to mustard oil

Boil the chane ka saag with water and salt in a covered pot for 4-5 minutes or till it wilts completely. Let it cool.

Blend with garlic and chilies till smooth. Empty in a serving bowl and drizzle the mustard oil on top.
Add the mustard powder while blending if using olive oil as a topping.

Serve with Indian meals of dal and rice or roti along with other subzis. Many people including me mix chane ka saag with plain boiled rice or dal and rice and eat it, I have seen it being eaten like this in my family. I like it with crisp hot parathas as well and of course in many other ways as mentioned above.

Chane ka saag remains one winter delicacy I look forward to every year. Try this if you get chane ka saag in your part of the world or grow some chickpea greens yourself just for this. It is worth all the effort trust me.