Saag | Hari Ghotra
4.8/5 rating (12 votes)


Puréed Spinach

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 6
  • Dietary Info VEGETARIAN
  • Prep 10 mins
  • Cook 20 mins

A classic Punjabi dish of pureed mustard leaves and spinach

Hari says

The most famous dish of the Punjabi region, saag is traditionally made with mustard and spinach leaves and served with bright yellow makaee di roti (roti made with corn flour).

As a child I remember cooking saag being a day long event, even before the cooking started finding the mustard leaves was hard enough. I have memories of my parents stopping the car on the motorway and leaping over a fence to pick some leaves from a field, but I won't go into detail. Cooking the saag was tough. Mum had a big thick stick called a 'medulla' that she used to bash the greens down to a puree, cook them and bash them again, then repeat.

Now we have pressure cookers and hand blenders this is so much easier to do. Mum's recipe has been cooked and modified over the past 35 years. It now takes less than an hour, tastes fresh and is packed full of flavour - by using a pressure cooker the greens hold onto more vitamins and minerals as well.

You can use frozen and tinned spinach to save time but as my mum says "Why use pre-made food when you can make it fresh yourself in the same time?" - who am I to argue....all I know is Popeye would be in his element!

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 500g palak/spinach 
  • 500g saag any other greens - mustard leaves if you can find them if not use curly kale or greens (washed and dried thoroughly)
  • 4cm ginger, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1 chilli, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp corn flour to thicken (if required) 
  • 4 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 65g butter


  1. Wash and slice the spinach and place in the bottom of the pressure cooker.
  2. Wash and finely slice the greens and place on top of the spinach.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic, salt and chilli to the pan and secure the pan lid.
  4. Heat the pressure cooker and bring to temperature. When the cooker whistles twice (should take about 10 minutes) reduce the heat and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool - DO NOT REMOVE THE LID.
  6. Next release the pressure, open the lid and leave to cool for a few minutes.
  7. Using your hand blender blitz the saag. The aim is to have a thick bright green puree, if it's a little watery place the cooker back on the stove on a high heat and stir continuously to reduce and thicken. You can also thicken it up by sprinkling with a little corn flour, but I prefer not to.
  8. In a frying pan melt the butter and add the chopped tomatoes. Fry gently until the tomatoes have cooked down to a pulp and you have a thick tomato paste.
  9. Stir into the saag, check seasoning and serve.

Served with

Traditionally served with yellow roti (as we used to call it) or Makki di roti, which is a roti made with corn flour. The combination is superb and very unique to Punjabi cooking.

Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Fat (g)4.0
of which saturates (g)2.2
Carbohydrates (g)2.3
of which sugars (g)2.0
Fibre (g)1.6
Protein (g)2.1
Salt (mg)0.70
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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“ Thank you for printing this recipe for my delicious Saag ”


Comments (11)

  • Daisy


    29 October 2016 at 20:29 |
    Hi Hari,
    I haven't got a pressure cooker, but would like to buy one. Which one do you use?

    Thank you!


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      31 October 2016 at 08:52 |
      Hi Daisy I have a little one that I bought from India and its totally battered but get one that you can afford and if you are not going to use it too often you don't want one that is huge. With this recipe you can also just use a normal pan and boil the greens and fry the ginger, garlic, chillies with the butter and tomatoes in a separate pan then add to the greens and blitz it all together too. Let me know what you think of this dish. Hari


  • Sam


    27 October 2016 at 03:51 |
    Hi Hari, can I use this curry recipe as it is to cook meat in, for example lamb saag?
    Or do I need to modify the recipe?


  • Colin


    29 July 2016 at 14:23 |
    This recipe sounds wonderful but I don't have a pressure cooker. How would this be made using a conventional pot?


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      29 July 2016 at 14:44 |
      Hi Colin Yes you can do this in a normal pot - I would cook your greens (or blanch them very quickly) then remove and refresh in cold water. Blitz to make a puree then in a second pan heat the butter fry the finely chopped garlic with some cumin seeds, add ginger, chillies and tomatoes and cook to a pulp add salt. stir into the pureed greens. I would also add some dried fenugreek powder to this too. Does that help? Hari


  • Paul smith

    Paul smith

    05 December 2015 at 11:27 |
    Thanks that was and is the best saag curry i have ever had thankyou


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      06 December 2015 at 10:46 |
      Hi Paul Praise indeed! That's fantastic, so glad you loved it - This is a real family dish for me. Thanks for commenting and enjoying. Hari


  • Hari


    30 June 2014 at 11:31 |
    Hi George - this is a classic! Let me know how you get on and don't forget to take some pics would love to see your dish. post on facebook or tweet me


  • George


    30 June 2014 at 11:27 |
    I was planning on cooking a spinach curry toniht. Think I've found my recipe!


  • Jude


    19 May 2014 at 21:53 |
    This is one of my favourite dishes. It is not only tasty, but really healthy. Great recipe!


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Hari Ghotra