Sarson, Methi, And More: 9 Indian Greens To Cook
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Indian greens, with their vibrant colours, bold flavours, and exceptional nutritional value, form an integral part of the rich tapestry of Indian cuisine. Among these verdant delights, sarson (mustard greens) and methi (fenugreek leaves) hold a special place, celebrated for their versatility and distinctive tastes. Yet, the world of Indian greens extends far beyond these two, encompassing a medley of flavours, textures, and aromas, each contributing its unique essence to the culinary landscape.

In this gastronomic journey, we embark on an exploration of the tantalising world of Indian greens, delving into seven exceptional varieties that grace the plates of households across the subcontinent. From the robust spiciness of sarson to the slightly bitter allure of methi, and the tender elegance of palak to the lesser-known delights of bathua, amaranth, dill, and radish greens, we will uncover the hidden treasures of these leafy gems.

These greens, often considered humble by nature, offer a wealth of essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. They are celebrated not only for their culinary versatility but also for their contributions to health and nutrition. They form the foundation of numerous Indian dishes, transforming ordinary meals into extraordinary feasts that tantalise the palate and nourish the body.

Join us as we embark on a culinary adventure, where we'll unearth the secrets behind these seven remarkable Indian greens and discover the myriad ways in which they enrich our culinary heritage. From traditional saag preparations to innovative creations, these greens hold the key to a world of flavours waiting to be explored and savoured.

1. Sarson (Mustard Greens):

Sarson, or mustard greens, are a staple in North Indian cuisine, particularly in the winter months. They have a distinct peppery flavour and are often used to make the famous Sarson da Saag. To prepare this traditional dish, mustard greens are finely chopped and cooked with other greens like spinach, along with spices such as ginger, garlic, and green chilies. The result is a flavorful and nutritious curry that's typically served with makki di roti (corn flatbread).

2. Methi (Fenugreek Leaves):

Methi, or fenugreek leaves, are widely used in Indian cooking and are known for their slightly bitter taste. One popular dish featuring methi is Methi Paratha, where finely chopped methi leaves are mixed with whole wheat flour, spices, and oil to make a savoury flatbread. These parathas are nutritious and make for a hearty breakfast or lunch option.

3. Palak (Spinach):

Palak, or spinach, is one of the most versatile greens used in Indian cuisine. It's not only rich in iron but also pairs well with various dishes. Palak Paneer, a popular North Indian dish, combines pureed spinach with Indian cottage cheese (paneer) and a blend of aromatic spices to create a creamy and flavorful curry.

4. Bathua (Chenopodium album):

Bathua, also known as pigweed, is a lesser-known green that's highly nutritious. It has a slightly tangy taste and is often used to make Bathua Saag. The saag is prepared by finely chopping bathua leaves and cooking them with spices like cumin, red chilli powder, and garam masala. It's a winter specialty in North India.

5. Amaranth Leaves (Chaulai):

Amaranth leaves, known as "chaulai" in Hindi, are a rich source of iron, calcium, and vitamins. They are commonly used in dishes like Chaulai Saag, where the leaves are finely chopped and cooked with spices. It can be served as a side dish or mixed with lentils to enhance its nutritional value.

6. Dill Leaves (Suva Bhaji):

Dill leaves, or suva bhaji, have a unique flavour that's slightly tangy and aromatic. They are often used to make Suva Bhaji Ki Sabzi, where the leaves are finely chopped and sautéed with spices like mustard seeds, cumin, and green chilies. This dish is a delightful addition to a traditional Indian meal.

7. Radish Greens (Mooli Ke Patte):

Radish greens, or mooli ke patte, are often discarded, but they are a nutritious part of the plant. They can be used to make Radish Greens Sabzi, where the greens are cooked with spices, tomatoes, and garlic. This dish has a slightly peppery taste and pairs well with roti or rice.

8. Fiddlehead ferns:

Fiddlehead ferns are tightly coiled, young fronds of certain fern species, resembling the scroll of a violin, hence the name. They are a delicacy in many cuisines, including Indian. Fiddleheads offer a unique, earthy flavor and crisp texture when cooked. They are often sautéed, steamed, or used in stir-fries, contributing a distinct taste and visual appeal to various dishes.

9. Arbi ke patte

Arbi ke patte, also known as colocasia leaves, are heart-shaped, edible leaves from the colocasia plant. In Indian cuisine, they are a culinary delight. These leaves are typically used to make Patra, a popular snack in regions like Gujarat and Maharashtra. Patra involves applying a spiced gram flour paste on colocasia leaves, rolling them, steaming, and then slicing and frying the rolls for a crispy, savory treat.

Cooking with Indian greens adds a burst of flavour, nutrition, and diversity to your meals. Whether you're savouring the peppery goodness of sarson or the slightly bitter notes of methi, these greens offer a wide range of flavours and health benefits. They are a testament to the richness and adaptability of Indian cuisine, where even humble leafy vegetables become stars in delicious and nutritious dishes. So, venture into the world of Indian greens and elevate your culinary repertoire with these flavorful and wholesome options.