After indulging in all sorts of digressions over the weekend, from heavy curries, tempting breads to sinful desserts, I make it a point to keep the food mostly simple and low calorie during the week.
Monday begins with some vegetable or lentils main, served with plain rice or roti. I glam up the simple main by adding chutneys, pickles and Raita to the menu.
Turnip being an inexpensive and humble looking vegetable has never been able to steal limelight in the culinary world. But in Punjabi cuisine Shaljam/ Turnips cooked in tomato masala are a well-liked everyday food – a great substitute for potatoes with just 1/3rd calories compared to them.
It’s a zero cholesterol food, loaded with health benefits from aiding weight loss to strengthening the immune system. Turnips are rich in antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, manganese and beta-carotene.
It’s important to choose young turnips for cooking as they are tender and sweet, mature turnips develop a woody texture and strong flavour which many people don’t like.
Adding a little bit of brown sugar and lemon juice helps neutralise the slight bitterness in turnips. I also love Turnip Pickle which is an old family recipe and considered quite good for digestion.
For Shaljam ki Sabzi, Turnips in Tomato Masala :
1/2 kg small white turnips, peeled and sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
4 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
This Is What You Do :
Heat oil in a deep pan on medium heat, add onions. Fry till opaque, add garlic, ginger, red chilli, turmeric and salt. Sauté a few seconds, add turnips and enough water to tenderise them.
Reduce heat, cover the pan and let them simmer till half done. Add tomatoes, keep covered and let simmer till the turnips are very tender and most of the liquid from tomatoes has dried out.
Add brown sugar and lemon juice, stir another 2-3 minutes uncovered at medium heat.
Season with garam masala, coriander and green chilli peppers.
Serve hot with plain white rice and pickles.