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Stir fried garlic – y turnip greens and the yellow lentil soup / dals

garlic turnip greens

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. 🙁

turnip greens

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.

chopped turnip greens

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.

lentil with turnip greens

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.

Stir fried garlic - y turnip greens and the yellow lentil soup / dals
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Turnip greens are just stir fried in mustard oil tempered with red chilies, garlic and sometimes onion seeds or chopped them roughly and use in your lentil soup / dal recipes
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 2
  • 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
  1. Wash and roughly chopped the turnip greens and diced nicely the stalk too.
  2. Place in a colander for 15 -20 minutes to drain the excess water .
  3. Heat a pan and add the mustard oil, heat the oil till it reaches the smoking point.
  4. Temper the oil with onion seeds.
  5. Add the cloves of the garlic and the whole red chilies.
  6. Let it fry till the garlic get the burnt hue and red chilies should become crispy.
  7. Once done leave it aside.
  8. In a separate pan add the turnip greens and cook till all the water evaporates.
  9. Now reheat slightly the tempered oil with garlic and add it to the turnip greens.
  10. Stir fried them on high heat till the greens comes together, it will take some 10-15 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle salt over it and stir fry it further till done.
  12. If requires drizzle few drops of hot mustard oil over it.
  13. Serve it hot with steamed rice and a little bit of kasundi / mustard sauce with it.
To use the turnip greens in your lentil soup or dal recipes, saute them lightly before adding it to the lentils. This recipe contains no spice at all. The burnt garlic and the crispy fried red chilies heighten its smoky flavor. It is best suited with mustard oil, but if you are not comfortable with it, you can use any other cooking oil. If using mustard oil, then heat the oil till its smoking point to reduce the pungency of the oil. The dish depicted in the photograph (first one) is just half way of cooking, the complete dish will look more like a mass of greens. This has been done just for photography purposes.

Have a great weekend !

Until next



  • Reply
    Priya Yallapantula
    March 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Delicious and what a great sight to see the greens mixed in both. Add to it some bread or rice, and bingo, a perfect deal. Please do send your delicious and healthy dish to my “Healthy Me & Healthy Us” event @ my blog (read the rules please).

  • Reply
    Sonali Deuskar Gurpur
    March 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    When I add turnip greens to my dal I also add a pinch of sambhar powder and a smidgen of tamarind paste to it, curry leaves too if I have any. It goes equally well with rice or parathas or idlis.

    • Reply
      March 25, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Yes love the addition of sambar powder but with yellow lentils I trusted simple spices to go with it. Turnip greens are highly adaptive and would definitely love to give it a try with sambar spices

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I would not dare to temper this veg dish and add bacon , as this sounds ultimate as it is…

  • Reply
    Kitchen Queen
    March 25, 2013 at 9:54 am

    love turnip greens, making it today only.

  • Reply
    Sonali Deuskar Gurpur
    April 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Sukanya, the Greeks have a name for shrill freaks like Mrs. K.
    It’s “The Harpies”.
    I could not get Mrs. K out of my mind ever since I read your post because I’ve dealt with a few of those harpies too. They ruin every meal. On purpose.
    They are best banished from the table.
    I hope she never darkens your door ever again.

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