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Green wave

The nip in the air can well be countered with some rich iron greens – mustard greens. Chesta Wadhwani tells us more.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2009 20:05 IST
Chesta Wadhwani

Over to some happy food or healthy greens. Mustard greens, only available during the winter, are best disguised as sarson ka saag.

Eaten with generous portions of butter in Punjab, Sindh and the rural areas of northern India, these leaves are rich in iron and fibre.

Unlike spinach, mustard leaves need to be churned for hours. The leaves are rough and take long to cook because of their bitterness. Milk, fenugreek, broccoli and bathua can be added to tone down the strong flavour.

Mustard leaves should ideally be ground in a wooden vessel. This helps to eliminate the pungent flavour.

Stem it down
Stems are used to make the curry crunchier. Sarson ka saag originates from Sindh in Pakistan. To beat the chill, mustard greens are boiled endlessly, then cooked with maize flour, garlic and sharp green chillies.

The greens are also mashed to make a thin paste. This sour paste is an essential ingredient in Bengali cuisine. Fish preparations like liish and chingri have generous helpings of the mustard green paste. The leaves are also added to non-vegetarian fare made from chicken and fish.

Chef Neeraj Rawoot of Grand Hyatt’s Soma, says, “Mustard leaves appear in vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes along with dollops of butter only during the winter. That helps to warm up the body.”

Leafy touch
Another way to add greens to your meal is in chapattis. Mustard leaves can be chopped and then kneaded with the flour.

The seeds of mustard are used to extract oil. Mustard oil is ideal for massaging body parts to get rid of stiff and aching joints.. a winter malady.

So the nip in the air can well be countered with some rich iron greens – mustard greens.