Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Turnips Go To The Circus. A Nutty Stand-In For Potatoes

   Friends of ours just had a baby last week the lovely and charming Little Miss Ella.

   Since Grandma has been working overtime helping out and leaving Grandpa on his own to forage for food, I decided to help out too and do a little cooking. I put together a little celebratory Indian vegetarian dinner. I love to cook using local produce and luckily living here in Sonoma I have access to good quality organic produce at very reasonable prices. So when I was roaming the market looking for stuff to cook, I came across a display of local turnips. Now, I love turnips. I call them potatoes without the guilt. Not that potatoes have anything to be guilty about. It's just that eating them gives me a sneaky furtive shiver. I feel like I should be alone with my spuds in a dark room somewhere where no one can see me enjoying them. Spuds are my dirty boyfriend and I'm being a bad, bad, potato girl.

   Turnips on the other hand are Spuds cleaned up worthy cousin. The guy with the great grades and the Med school future. He'll always respect you and your pants size. He's the one your parents want you to see. He's full of vitamins, minerals, he's GOOD FOR YOU! Which usually is enough to send anyone faced with turnips running for the hills. I'm not dissing potatoes here. They're good for you too. Filled with vitamins and minerals, I always ate them baked, skin and all. I ate a lot of things that way. They were good for me dammit!  Of course the kids in elementary school used to call me Applecore Gori too but that's a tale for another day.

   The problem with potatoes is generally not what the potato is but how they're cooked. Deep fry tofu, load it up with butter, cheese and bacon crumbles and it'll be bad for you too. I don't know what it is about the potato that makes people just want to tart them up like that, but it is what makes them soooooo desirable. People don't think of doing that kind of stuff with turnips. It'd be like putting a thong on your grandma. Now not all Grandmas look like.....well, Grandmas.

   But what does Helen Mirren have to do with the price of, or shape of turnips? Actually nothing.  Just go with me here. What I'm saying is that these aren't your Grandma's or your mama's turnips. In fact this isn't even a recipe designed for turnips, it's actually a recipe for potatoes but anything a potato can do a turnip can do too! The recipe is fast and easy, but the real magic is in the peanuts, and it's the peanuts that give it that "turnips go to the circus" fun.

Turnips With Peanuts:

Here's What You Need:

1 lb of turnips (you can also use potato, zucchini or yellow squash)
2 Tbs of vegetable oil ( I use coconut oil)
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of cumin seed
1/2 tsp of turmeric
12 fresh curry leaves (if you can't find them omit them)
1 large finely chopped onion
1 tsp finely chopped shallot
2 fresh green serrano chilies slit down the middle
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup of water
2 Tbs dried grated unsweetened coconut
1 tsp of salt
2 Tbs roasted, ground, unsalted peanuts

Here's What To Do:

Peel and chop the turnips into small cubes.
In a skillet or kadhai heat 2 Tbs of vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot, toss in the mustard and cumin seeds.

When the seeds start to sizzle and pop, add in curry leaves, garam masala, 1/2 tsp turmeric, onion...

chilies and shallot.

Stir everything around for about 4 minutes or so then add in the turnips and the garam masala.

Stir everything around for a couple of minutes then add in the water, salt and coconut.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then slap a lid on things and turn down the heat. Simmer it all together for about 15 minutes or so, until the turnips are tender.

 Now for the part that snaps this out of plain old turnip land and into the circus fun zone.
 Just before serving, scatter the crumbled peanuts over the turnips and stir them around.

   There you have it, crunchy, spicy not your average turnips. This is a definite keeper of a recipe.

Serve this with rice, chapattis and another vegetable dish or two for an Indian meal, or pair it with any standard American fare. It's a winner on taste, and nutrition. You're being good, but you'll feel like you're oh so bad!

   Coming up next a sweet and sour shrimp dish made with coconut water vinegar, that can be on the table in under and hour. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. Looks wonderful Dirty Potato Girl.

  2. =) Haha!! Bring on the nutso circus folks! And yeah, Helen Mirren is HOT!

  3. Anything tate can do neep can do better! GREG



Blog Widget by LinkWithin