Come Winter we start craving the homemade Punjabi food. A Punjabi platter would most likely consist of Roti or tortilla made of flour ground from dried maize with a cooked mixture of green leafy vegetables, accompanied by porridge made of red carrots and a glass of sweetened and beaten curd. I know it sounds too much but it’s the simple Makke ki Roti with Sarso ka Saag, accompanied with Gajar ka halwa and a glass of Sweet Lassi that we all love.
Makke ka atta (flour ground from dried maize) –500 gm
Oil or ghee (clarified butter) – 2 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Water – 500 ml
For the saag:
Sarso (Mustard leaves) – 500 gm
Palak (Spinach leaves) – 250 gm
Bathua (White goosefoot leaves) – 100 gm
Water – 250 ml
Green chillies – 4
Ginger – 2 inch
Garlic – 10 cloves
Makke ka atta (flour ground from dried maize) – 50 gm
Salt – as per taste
Ghee (clarified butter) – 50 gm
Onion – 3 medium-sized
Butter or ghee – to garnish
For the Gajar ka Halwa
Red carrots – 1 kg
Ghee – 50 gm
Sugar – 100 gm
Full cream milk – 250 ml
Khoya (thickened milk) – 250 gm
Almonds, cashews, raisins – as per taste
Curd – 1 kg
Water – 100 ml
Sugar – 100 gm or as per taste
Green Elaichi (cardamom) – 1 crushed (optional)
Dry fruits – cut for garnishing (optional)
Although the ingredients might seem daunting, the method of preparation is very simple. Though the traditional way is time-consuming, it gives such an explosion of flavours in the mouth once you start eating that the hard work seems fruitful. That said, I’ll include tips to reduce the work and time in the recipe. So, let’s start.
For the Makke ki roti:
- Boil the water with the salt and ghee
- Put the flour in the boiling water and switch off the gas. Mix with a rolling pin quickly and set aside for a bit.
- When it becomes cool enough to touch, knead it into a soft dough of the consistency of a normal wheat dough for roti.
- If the dough seems to be hard, you can add hot water in between. Remember, the longer you knead, the softer the roti.
- Make 4 balls out of the dough. If there are cracks on the outer rim of the ball, you need to knead it further. Once no cracks are visible, you are good to go.
- Pre-heat the tawa.
- Flatten one ball with the palm of your left hand and the fingers of the right. Dust the ball with flour, either makke ka atta or normal wheat dough will be fine.
- Put it on the rolling board or clean counter top and with the help of a rolling pin roll it out into a roti.
- If it breaks while rolling, you can roll it by putting it between two layers of polythene sheet. This will also be easier to pick up and put on the heated tawa.
- Put the rolled-out roti on the heated tawa and switch the heat to medium-low. If the heat is high, the roti will get burnt immediately. On the other hand, if it is low, roti will become hard.
- Flip the roti with the help of a flat ladle. If you want you may apply ghee on both sides and flip it twice to get a golden parantha like roti. Otherwise just cook it till both sides are golden brown and remove from the tawa and apply ghee.
- Make all the rotis in this way.
Tip: Instead of using makke ka aata you can also use a mixture of makke and wheat ka aata. This way you can reduce the kneading time and the rotis will be easier to make.
For the sarson ka saag:
- Wash and thinly chop all the leafy vegetables.
- Peel the ginger and garlic. Cut the ginger into smaller pieces.
- Cut the chillies into two
- Boil all the above ingredients along with salt in a pressure cooker for only one whistle. Thereafter, open the lid of the cooker and simmer till they are soft. There is no need to add water at this stage as the leafy vegetables will leave enough water on their own.
- Once boiled, mash them with a churner or the rolling pin while simmering continuously. Take care to either wear gloves or cover your hands with a cloth as the vegetables tend to pop at this stage and the hands may get burnt. (Tip: Instead of mashing with a churner or rolling pin, you can grind the saag in a mixer and proceed to the next steps.)
- Add makke ka aata little by little, while mashing the saag.
- You can add hot water to adjust the consistency.
- Once the ingredients are mixed properly, set the saag aside and start preparing the tadka (tempering).
- In a kadahi (wok), heat the ghee and add finely chopped onions and garlic. Saute them till they turn golden brown.
- Add the saag to this tadka (tempering) or the other way around.
- Adjust consistency by adding hot water, if required
For Gajar ka Halwa:
- Grate the carrots
- Place a big wok on medium heat and place the grated carrots in it along with the ghee. ()
- Keep stirring while heating till the ghee is visible on the sides
- Add the full cream milk and let it simmer till the carrots are cooked and the ghee is visible again on the sides of the halwa. (Tip: Instead of grating the carrots, you can cut them into pieces and give them a boil in the pressure cooker with ghee and milk till they soften)
- Add the sugar and chopped dry fruits (optional) and cook till the sugar dissolves.
- Add the khoya just before serving.
- You can garnish with chopped dry fruits and silver leaf.
For sweet lassi:
- Put all the ingredients into a mixer jar
- Blend till smooth
- Serve with a garnish of chopped dry fruits, rose petals, or silver leaf
Try out the above recipes and let me know how they turned out. Hope you like them as much as I do.