Turnip Masala


Turnip or Shalgam or Shaljam, is a winter vegetable used often in the North Indian cuisines. I have always felt that it’s a very underrated vegetable in the Indian cuisine.

Shalgam sabzi or Turnip Masala, a homely and satiating recipe is a result of both the Indian, particularly Punjabi style of cooking and also similar to dishes that have influences of Pakistani style of cooking. I have borrowed ideas from both these cuisines, and adapted to suit our palate, whilst also using the ingredients more easily available locally to me.

This can be served as an accompaniment to Parathas or Rotis or Chapathis. This goes well even with plain, white rice.

Ingredients required

  • Turnips – 350 gms, skinned and sliced into ½ inch thick slices
  • Cooking onion – 1 large , chopped roughly
  • Ginger – Garlic paste or crushed – 1 tsp
  • Thin green chilli – 2 nos , small ones ,cut lengthwise ( adjust according to taste / optional )
  • Tomato – 2 large, roughly chopped
  • Nigella seeds / Kalonji – 1 tsp
  • Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
  • Crushed chilli flakes – adjust as per taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1/8th of a tsp
  • Ground Coriander – 2 tsp
  • Ground cumin – 1 tsp
  • Chickpea flour / Besan – 1 tbsp
  • Fresh coriander leaves – 1 tsp chopped fine
  • Salt to taste
  • Water – as required

To make

  1. In a wide heavy bottom pan with heated oil, add Nigella seeds. When they sizzle add the chickpea flour and fry on low heat until the flour changes colour slightly.
  2. Immediately add the onions, thin chillies if using and ginger – garlic paste and sauté continuously till the raw flavour in the ginger garlic paste disappears & the onions turn translucent.
  3. Stir in the turmeric powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, chilli flakes, salt and chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes get mushy. If the paste starts sticking to bottom, could use a sprinkling of water.
  4. Put the turnips in and mix well. Pour in water just enough to cover the turnips. Cook with lid on medium heat, whilst stirring in between to make sure it doesn’t burn. The turnips should be cooked soft. Mine took about 12 mins to cook through completely.
  5. Remove from heat and garnish with coriander leaves and serve.



  • You could add a sprinkling of garam masala powder at the end. I haven’t done so, as felt the spices already used gave the depth in flavours that I was looking for.



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