” You throw away the turnip greens ? I asked. Oh..ya anyway who eat those leafy things, they are best suited as cattle’s fodder ! ” Well in India cattle could gorge on anything that is available right under their nose but I could not believe what I have just heard from Mrs K. No I will not write her full name here, even though she does not reads my blog posts but I have the feeling that she might got negative vibes from me. I have told you about her before and how she loves to surprises her hostess by bouncing them on unannounced ! Before she shrieked in her shrilling voice at me, I hurriedly shoved away the vibrant turnip greens under the closet, but a leaf decided to peek at her and so she caught me red handed. I have to assure her ten times that I am not serving these greens to her on lunch or rather they are just for making compost.
In her usual rhetoric tone she reveled to me that why she dose not know how to cook turnip greens or rather it was just unsophisticated to cook such things at home, I know it is hard to believe given that she has 40 years of domestic life behind her, but then many things could be possible ! I am not sure why the humble turnip greens failed to impress her and her lovely daughters ! Who in my opinion need to eat these greens more than anybody else, to detox their body from multiple course of fat (no typos err..!) food diet.
On my regular visit to local farmer’s market I picked these organic turnip greens, they were so vibrantly fresh, anybody would fall in love with them ! Turnip greens has slight bitter and pungent taste to it, and when sauteed with burnt garlic, together they made a perfect match. In India specially in eastern part of the country, greens are just stir fried in mustard oil tempered with red chilies, garlic and sometimes onion seeds.
It is meant to be eaten with hot steamed rice with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter) or kasundi (Bengali’s special mango mustard sauce) on it. Sometimes with extra cloves of burnt garlic and few more extra burnt red chilies to heighten the flavor, the common humble greens becomes savory dish. One more way to enjoy these turnip greens was to chop them nicely and added to any regular lentil soup / dal , very much like dal palak. A change of taste would be perfectly welcoming and not to forget the nutritious values it added to the dish.
But if you are hell bent on transforming this vegan dish to non vegan one, go ahead and add few extra crispy bits of bacon to it and served with mashed potatoes and turnip as a side to any meaty dish.
- 1 bunch : Turnip greens (fresh)
- 4-5 : Whole Red chilies (kashmiri or bydagi / cayenne peppers)
- 6-8 cloves : Garlic + more (if required)
- 1 tsp : Onion seeds (kalonji)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp : Mustard oil or any other cooking oil
- Wash and roughly chopped the turnip greens and diced nicely the stalk too.
- Place in a colander for 15 -20 minutes to drain the excess water .
- Heat a pan and add the mustard oil, heat the oil till it reaches the smoking point.
- Temper the oil with onion seeds.
- Add the cloves of the garlic and the whole red chilies.
- Let it fry till the garlic get the burnt hue and red chilies should become crispy.
- Once done leave it aside.
- In a separate pan add the turnip greens and cook till all the water evaporates.
- Now reheat slightly the tempered oil with garlic and add it to the turnip greens.
- Stir fried them on high heat till the greens comes together, it will take some 10-15 minutes.
- Sprinkle salt over it and stir fry it further till done.
- If requires drizzle few drops of hot mustard oil over it.
- Serve it hot with steamed rice and a little bit of kasundi / mustard sauce with it.
Have a great weekend !