Turn your winter fabulous with fresh turnips

by Sanjeev Kapoor

The beautiful season of winter is finally here. The chilly climate is such a welcomed change after the rainy monsoons and humid heat. What do people love most about this season? Is it the snowy surrounding, cozy sweaters or the comfy blankets? It can be different to different people, but one thing commonly loved by everyone is the local, fresh and lovely produce in winter. Come winters, the greens are literally the showstoppers in the market! Everywhere you can see piles of spinach (palak), fenugreek (methi), amaranth (chawli), mustard greens (sarson ka saag), spring onions (hare pyaaz), dill (suva), loads of coriander leaves (hara dhania) and mint leaves (pudina). But one should also remember, it’s not just leafy greens that we are bestowed with. There are also a lot of other cruciferous and root vegetables which only bless us with their presence in this season. And, one of the very popular ones is very humble, yet loaded with flavours and nutrients, turnip also called shalgam in Hindi.  

It is said that a cold winter day also tends to increase our appetite and makes us crave for more food than we usually eat. So, we are not just going to talk about the beauty of shalgam but also give you some fabulous recipes with it. And, when good health is being offered on a platter, why not just gobble it up!

Benefits of the superfood ‘shalgam’

  • Turnips are extremely high in dietary fibre which reduces inflammation in the body.
  • Loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals and prevent any diseases.
  • A low-calorie vegetable which is ideal for weight loss.
  • Contains various compounds which control and balance blood sugar levels.
  • Loaded with Vitamin C, A, K, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and other minerals which are necessary for our well-being.

Did you know?

  • There are more than 30 varieties of ‘shalgam’ which differ in size, colour, taste, shape and usage. Purple top ones, being the most common type is generally available everywhere.
  • Turnip leaves or greens, resembling mustard leaves are also very popular during this season.
  • During the First World War, potatoes were in extreme scarcity. Germans were relying solely on turnips to feed them and later, a very popular cookbook was published named ‘Turnip Instead Of Potatoes.’
  • In Ireland and Scotland, turnips are carved out as lanterns during Halloween.
  • During Roman times, people used turnip roots to throw at others who they didn’t like. Even in some of the Charles Dickens’ novels, ‘turnip’ is used to refer to someone who they think of as an ‘idiot!’

Now, dive into some delish recipes!

Shalgam ka Halwa: Chaliye, meethe se shuruaat karte hain! Turnips are so versatile and this recipe proves it. Fresh turnips are cooked with bajra, jaggery and loads of nuts to prepare this decadent halwa.


Shalgam aur Sarson ka Saag: Every desi’s favourite, sarson ka saag made even more exciting with the addition of turnips. If you’re looking for a nutritious plus delicious meal, this one’s definitely a must-try!


Grilled Shalgam with Honey Mustard: It’s time to try something interesting. This fusion recipe where turnips are grilled in a honey and mustard sauce is just lip-smacking. Take a look and get tempted!


Palak aur Shalgam ka Shorba: This seasonal soup is going to comfort you like never before. Fresh palak and shalgam combined together to bring in a dose of nutrition as well as treat your taste buds. Try it ASAP!


Interesting ways to include turnip in your diet!

Some other ways to include shalgam in your diet is to use them just like potatoes. Replace potatoes with turnips in your favourite recipes and turn them healthier. Mash, bake, boil, steam or eat them raw, turnips literally taste great in any form. Many people also use shredded turnips instead of cabbage in their share of coleslaw sandwiches. Most common ways to include turnips in your diet is to add them to soups, stews, salads, curries or stir-fries. Shalgam ka achar is also a very popular recipe in Indian cuisine.

If you have any more interesting ways to eat turnips, do share with us in the comments. :)

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.