Monday, October 12, 2009

Turn Up The Heat With Turnips

Fall has officially come to Sonoma.

With almost all the grapes harvested (Cabs always the last) and the first major storm warning of the season, we've taken down the dining tent tarped our furniture and packed in the firewood.

Just two days ago I was thinking of making Falooda, it was that warm. Today I'm craving turnips and something simmered a long time in a clay pot.

Once the Fall has arrived our Farmers Market goes down to one day a week. Luckily local farms still have their stands and we live right down the road from one of our favorite growers, Oak Hill Farm.
This is the time of year for root vegetables and one of my all time favorites are turnips. As I've said before I'm a total sucker for vegetables, I buy them impulsively because I love the color, the shape, the way they feel in my hand. It's like I want to wear them but then I always think...what am I going to do with this? Of course, vegetables are absolutely versatile. Show me a vegetable and I'll show you a thousand different recipes for it. Turnips are sort of the little black dress of vegetables. They're the not-potatoes, with all the crunch,texture and mouth feel. Without all the diety baggage.
One of my favorite Indian chefs Atul Kochhar has a recipe for turnips prepared in the Punjabi style in his book Indian Essence. Here's my adaptation of it using fresh Sonoma heirloom tomatoes and peas.
I started off by heating
1.) 2 Tbs of vegetable oil in my karhai (or deep skillet)
When the oil was hot I added
2.) 1 tsp of nigella seed
3.) 1 finely minced green serrano chili
4.) 1 tsp of finely minced ginger
When the seeds start to crackle up toss in
5.) 1 tsp of turmeric
6.) 1/4 tsp of kashmiri chili. if you can't find this substitute this with 1/8 tsp of cayenne, 1/8 tsp of paprika.
7.) 1 tsp of ground coriander
8.) 2 large peeled turnips diced into one inch pieces.

Stir it all around for about 3 or 4 minutes then add in
9.) 1 chopped tomato . I used a greenish red heirloom.
10.) 1/2 tsp of salt

Stir it up pop a cover on your pan and cook it for about 15 to 20 minutes or until your turnips are cooked through. For the last 5 minutes of cooking toss in 1/2 cup of peas, either fresh or frozen
Vegetables are like 4 year olds. Even though they're quiet in the pot, check on them every now and then just to make sure they're not up to anything, like sticking or burning.
When the turnips have cooked through and the dish is ready to serve sprinkle on 1/4 tsp of garam masala and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro.

I've made this dish a number of times, both with and without tomatoes and peas it's warming and spicy. Turnips are similar to potatoes so almost any combination that one can make with spuds ought to work equally well with a turnip.
So, if you live where it's chilly, or if you don't, remember the turnip. Versatile, spicy, plays well with other vegetables.


  1. LOVE turnips. This looks like a great recipe. I will have to try it!

  2. I love turnips. This looks wonderful. A good fall dish.

  3. I particularly like your writing on the turnip.

  4. I've been wanting to get some turnips. I'll keep my eyes peeled at the farmers market this Saturday!

  5. I'm going to be trying them some other different ways also.

  6. This is really good, Kathy! I've never try cooking turnip in this way before. Yours looks so flavourful and delicious. Oops, it's in my list. Thanks. Have a nice day & cheers.

  7. This looks lovely! I will have to give it a go!

  8. I can't wait for our turnips to mature so we can try this. Looks like the perfect autumn dish. Yum!

  9. Trying to eat more veggies, and turnips are a new one for me (to cook myself, that is.) This makes them actually sound yummy!

  10. I love doing something different to a traditional boiled vegetable--this looks fun and new! Little black dress indeed!

  11. I know how you feel about wanting to wear vegetables. I have the same thing with asparagus, artichokes, and purple eggplant.

  12. @chickenless, yes! It's the colors and textures..glad I'm not the only one.

  13. I love turnips. They are so under appreciated. They have such nice flavor.

    Went to Diwali festival in Auckland on Sunday. Was tons of fun. Had some great, all veg, food.

  14. This turnip dish with all the different spices looks very delicious. I loves spices. Thanks for sharing.



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