The importance of eating local, seasonal and healthy food has been highlighted quite a bit in the recent past. Fresh, organic produce that is hyper-locally sourced is said to be the best bet to stay fit and healthy. When it comes to winter too, there are plenty of amazing ingredients that are available across India. Be it peas, carrots, beetroot, cauliflower, radish, or the multitude of leafy greens - these foods don't just taste delicious but are extremely beneficial for winters too. Even the humble saag, made throughout Indian states, is a great way to enjoy the winter season. But what exactly is saag? And what are its various kinds and recipes? Here's all you need to know about the winter-special saag.
What Is Winter-Special Saag: Are Saag And Palak The Same?
Saag is one of the most commonly made recipes in the winter season. But what exactly is this winter-special ingredient? Saag is nothing but another term for a vegetable made with leafy greens that are abundantly found in the winter season. Typically, the term saag signifies that the leafy greens are boiled and pureed, and then an interesting tempering is added to it to elevate the taste and experience.
Saag is not the same as palak, as saag is a broader category of leafy greens cooked during the winter season. Meanwhile, palak is the Hindi word for spinach and is encompassed within the same category of leafy green vegetables.
(Also Read: Cold Wave: 7 Warm And Nourishing Recipes To Beat Winter Chills)
Is Saag Healthy For Us? | Health Benefits Of Saag
We've all heard from our mothers and grandmothers that leafy greens are extremely beneficial for our health. But what is it that makes saag healthy in particular? Here are some amazing health benefits of saag:
- Loaded With Antioxidants - Whichever saag you may consume, it is loaded with antioxidants such as phytonutrients, flavonoids and polyphenols, as well as Vitamins A, C and K. Minerals such as iron, potassium and manganese are also found abundantly in saag. These reduce oxidative stress and damage from free radicals.
- Excellent for Winter Immunity - Thanks to the abundant Vitamin C content in saag, it is great for immunity. You can keep cold and cough at bay and prevent seasonal diseases during the cold weather with saag.
- Good For Digestion - All kinds of saag are loaded with a good quantity of fibre. This can help ease bowel movements and keep the digestion process smooth. It can also help facilitate weight loss.
What Are The Kinds Of Saag Are There In India? | Varieties Of Saag
Since the definition of saag is so expansive, there are many different kinds of saag to be found in India. Basically, the leafy greens part of any plant can be cooked and consumed as saag. Here are some varieties of saag that can be found in India:
- Sarson ka Saag (Mustard leaves)
- Bathua Saag (Lamb's quarter leaves)
- Sahjan ka Saag (Drumstick leaves)
- Arbi ka Saag (Colocasia leaves)
- Palak Ka Saag (Spinach leaves)
- Haak Saag (Collard Greens)
- Gongura Saag (Roselle leaves)
- Soya Saag
- Channa Patta Saag (Chickpea leaves)
- Green and Red Chulai Ka Saag (Amaranth leaves)
- Kulpha Saag (Purslane leaves)
- Poi Saag (Malabar spinach leaves)
(Also Read: This Winter-Special Palak Ka Saag Recipe Will Make You Forget All Else)
Get Cooking With Saag | 5 Best Saag Recipes From India You Have To Try
Interestingly, saag can be consumed by itself or combined with other ingredients to make some unique dishes. Makki ki Roti and Sarson ka Saag apart, there are tonnes of saag recipes out there that are surely worth a taste. We have collated the five best saag recipes from India that you must try at least once.
1. Chicken Saagwala
Nutritious and tasty, this chicken saagwala is made by combining chicken pieces with a hearty spinach puree. The result is a gravy that is truly enjoyable, especially in the winter season! Click here for the full recipe.
2. Paneer Kofta Saagwala
While kofta curries are usually made with tomatoes and onions, how about giving it a green twist? This paneer kofta saagwala is indeed a chef-special preparation that will leave you stunned. Find the full recipe here.
(Also Read: 5 Health Benefits Of Including Vegetable Juice In Your Winter Diet)
3. Saag Gosht
The combination of biting cold winters with gosht is something we all relish. Why not level up the gosht with the addition of juicy spinach and sarson leaves? This aromatic curry pairs well with roti and rice. Click here for the full recipe.
4. Saag Badi Nariya
Hailing from Orissa, this saag recipe is unusual yet delicious. In this recipe, cholai or amaranth saag leaves are cooked with crispy dal badis and an interesting addition of coconut as well. Find this wonderful recipe here.
5. Aalan Ka Saag
If the usual saag is not your thing, we highly recommend trying the Aalan ka Saag. It is a wholesome and fulfilling preparation that combines spinach with besan and moong dal and ghee-based tempering. Trust us, you'll be left licking your lips! Click here for the full recipe.