(Lima) Beans and Delhi Cha(a)t

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Season's Greens

A couple of posts back, Cesar promised I would be blogging about some Indian festivals. Well, here I am, with one that is celebrated on this very day (13th January) every year. Lohri heralds the harvest season in north India, when fields are awash with Rabi crops, sown in early winter. Two months from now, the sparkling golden wheat will be ready for harvest.

In Punjab, the breadbasket of India, wheat is the main winter crop, which is sown in October and harvested in March or April. In January, the fields come up with the promise of a golden harvest, and farmers celebrate Lohri during this rest period before the cutting and gathering of crops.

Born and brought up in Delhi, which is situated in north India and happens to be a bastion of north Indian culture, I have been witness to many a Lohri celebrations. It’s a fun festival, with an evening bonfire being the highlight. A fire is lit outside houses, and people move around it in a circle, dropping popcorns, peanuts, and other wintry goodies into it. Supposed to mark an offering to the fire god wishing for prosperity, this is a tradition that perfectly fits the season. Nothing can be more heartwarming than the community coming out in the evening and sharing joy before a warm, glowing fire.

As the evening wears down, the celebration is rounded off with a traditional dinner of Makki di Roti (maizemeal bread) and Sarson da Saag (mustard greens curry). Let’s gather then for a hearty meal, shall we?

Sarson Saag (Mustard Greens Curry)


Mustard Greens: 500 grams
Bathua Greens: 250 grams
Ginger paste: 1 teaspoon
Onion paste: 2 tablespoons
Garlic paste: 1 teaspoon
Tomatoes: 2, chopped fine
Green chilies: 3-4, chopped
Ghee/White butter: 1 teaspoon
Salt: To taste
Sugar: A pinch


1. Chop the greens finely and wash well. Boil until soft, then blend with the green chilies.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic pastes. Fry for a few minutes.
3. Add the chopped tomato and stir until the oil separates.
4. Add the blended greens, salt, and sugar. Keep stirring until the greens thicken. Turn off heat.
5. Add the ghee/white butter.
6. Serve hot with makki ki roti (recipe follows).

Makki ki Roti (Maizemeal/Cornmeal Bread):


Maizemeal: 1 cup
Wheat flour: ½ cup
Radish: A small piece, grated
Green chili: 1, chopped fine
Coriander leaves: Few sprigs, chopped fine
Lukewarm water: Enough to bind the maizemeal into a soft yet firm dough.
Salt: To taste


1. Combine all the ingredients and bind into a soft yet firm dough. Add half of the wheat flour if needed.
2. Make small balls out of the dough. Use a rolling pin to flatten the balls into round breads or rotis. Keep the bread a little thick.
3. Place the roti on a warm griddle. Be careful; maizemeal dough tends to be a little brittle.
4. Fry on both sides until you get that nice golden hue.
5. Plop it straight to the plate and serve with hot sarson ka saag and a piece of jaggery. This is the traditional accompaniment.


~ Sury

25 comment(s):

You don't know how happy you made me to see Makkai roti and Sarson ka sag!!:))I love the staple of India! Loved reading Lohri as well.Happy Sankranthi to you as we say in the South!:))

By Blogger Asha, at 4:30 AM  

Well, well, well....
It feels so good see this delectable combination so famous Punjab is famous for. Thanks so much for sharing about the Lohri festival.

And it nice to see you back with some wonderful recipes, Sury. Keep them coming.

Happy Pongal!-:)

Btw, what are bathua greens?

By Anonymous sailaja, at 11:00 AM  

Asha, glad to make you happy. Happy Sankranti is what we say in Bengal, too! Same to you. :)

Sailu, it's sure good to be back. Thanks for your lovely comment. :) Bathua greens is wild spinach. You can find more information and an image of the leaves in this article:


I hope that helps. :)

By Blogger Sury, at 12:17 AM  

this is probably the most wholeseome meal n the world, isn't it? great recipe and pictures!

By Blogger jacob, at 12:35 PM  

Welcome to our blog, Jacob! I couldn't agree with you more on Sarson Saag & Makki Roti being amongst the most wholesome and satisfying of meals.

Lovely blog you have. I am linking to it. :-)

By Blogger Sury, at 7:12 PM  

GReat blog, I came across another good site that shows videos of such things. For eg. They have a Sakranti video http://www.ifood.tv/?q=node/1255

By Anonymous Nitin, at 9:12 PM  

What a great post, Sury! You transported me to a warm and happy place with your words! Thanks for sharing two classic recipes.

By Blogger Nupur, at 5:33 PM  

Hi Sury,

This is my second stop of my bloggers world trip of the day! And am glad to be welcomed by such a great combo! I hate the pungent flavor of mustard greens, and am not sure if I could get wild spinach...can we go ahead with ordinary spinach?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:21 PM  

mmmm.....sarson da saag and makki di roti! APNA PUNJAB HOVE! lol

indian recipes

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:24 AM  

First time I tasted this dish was at a punjabi friend's home and it tasted great. But when I tried to make it myself something went wry and since then I never tried to make it again. So may be I will just satisfy my cravings by looking at your post :-)

By Blogger KrishnaArjuna, at 8:46 PM  

Hi Sury, Wow! It was only yesterday that a friend of mine and her family took me out to dinner and we had the same combination of sarson ka saag and makki ki roti and we debated on how this dish is cooked. You have given us a recipe that is wholesome and rich and at the same time tasty. I enjoyed reading your post on the harvest festival - the imagery is so vivid. Thank You!

By Anonymous Pritya, at 9:13 PM  

i feel like eating this so much
you know i have never tasted sarson da saag makki is roti

By Blogger Mahek, at 12:15 AM  

very well written .. Lohri is simply a great festival

By Blogger ankurindia, at 8:42 PM  

Hi Your food blog looks great and you have some lovely recipes, I will be back to visit you.

Jeena xx

visit jeenas blog for healthy recipes
updated daily !

By Blogger Jeena, at 4:30 AM  

I like your blog very much.
If you are interested in link exchange than please leave a comment on http://vanishreerajamarthandan.blogspot.com/
Happy Blogging :)

By Blogger Vanishree's Corner, at 12:29 AM  

This is something . . . remarkable . . a food blog. I will have to try some of these. Very nice!

By Blogger John Elder Robison, at 7:46 PM  

Come back! We miss you!


By Blogger ::Alejandro::, at 8:23 AM  

its my favorite fastival . We celebrate lohri a lot in punjab

By Blogger ankurindia, at 9:47 PM  

Hi. I made this and it was quite tasty! I didn't have jaggery on hand, so I used raw brown sugar. I have one question about the Makki ki Roti recipe.

Step 1 says to mix all ingredients, then later says to add half the wheat flour if necessary. Do you mean mix all ingredicent except the wheat flour then add half the wheat flour if needed? Or do you mean mix all ingredients (including wheat flour) then add more wheat flour (up to half the amount in recipe - i.e. 1/4 C) if needed?

I just guessed (I don't remember what I did exactly) and it worked out in the end, but I'm curious so I'm asking for clarification of your instructions.

By Anonymous Kitchen Chick, at 8:11 AM  

Hi Sury, I'm new to blogging, but not to food...though i'm not from punjab, i absolutely love makki roti and sarson saag...i wish i knew someone who'd make it for me often enuf!! i'm also gonna attempt to write something on http://funnfud.blogspot.com/...shope its half as good as yours and ceasars!!!

By Blogger Mansi Desai, at 5:07 AM  

Missing you two...

By Blogger ::Alejandro::, at 2:44 PM  

Sury, where are you these days? Writing another book? I hope so! Much success to you, dear!

By Anonymous Manisha, at 10:15 PM  

Hey Sury

Wonderful combo as it is of sarson ka saag & makai ki roti. I never tasted this one, till I had the honor of marrying a Punju, whose mom is an incredible cook. She has to just touch food to make it yummy. She taught me this & I cant just wait for winters to come around & the subzi mandis be flooded with the green leafy veggies all around.

By Blogger Shella, at 10:38 AM  

Hi Sury, Just visited ur wonderful blog. Makki roti and sarson ka saag ...yum...I've eaten these dishes when I was in Jaipur and New Delhi a couple of years ago. Now, I can make them at home, thanks to you.

By Blogger SweetBites, at 11:29 PM  

this looks so amazing and typical.. the tastes remind me of home so much

By Anonymous Maaya, at 4:25 PM  

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