Delicious Indian Turnip Vegetable Recipe (Shalgam): Easy Steps & Tips for Meal Prep

Photo of author
Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Turnips might not always be the star of your vegetable basket, but this Indian turnip recipe will change that. Known as “Shalgam” in Hindi, turnips are often underrated despite their rich nutritional profile and versatility. This dish combines the humble turnip with a medley of spices to create a flavorful and comforting meal that’s perfect for any occasion.


To create this delicious Indian turnip recipe, you will need a variety of fresh and aromatic ingredients.

Turnips and Their Preparation

  • 4 medium-sized turnips, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • Water for boiling turnips

Spices and Herbs

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or mustard oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, grated
  • 2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Additional Ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes, pureed
  • Juice of half a lemon

Required Tools and Equipment

To prepare a delicious Indian turnip dish, you’ll need the following tools and equipment. Ensure you have everything ready before you start cooking to streamline the process.

Essential Tools

  1. Cutting Board: For chopping turnips, onions, garlic, ginger, and green chilies.
  2. Sharp Knife: To efficiently dice vegetables and finely chop herbs.
  3. Vegetable Peeler: To peel the turnips before dicing them.
  4. Large Pot or Saucepan: For boiling the turnips until they are tender.
  5. Colander: To drain boiled turnips.
  6. Deep Skillet or Pan with Lid: For sautéing spices and cooking the dish to perfection.

Measuring Tools

  1. Measuring Cups and Spoons: To measure out spices like turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder accurately for consistent flavor.

Cooking Utensils

  1. Wooden Spoon or Spatula: Ideal for stirring ingredients without scratching your cookware.
  2. Ladle or Serving Spoon: Useful for serving the finished dish neatly.
  3. Grater (Optional): If you prefer grated ginger instead of chopped.
  4. Lemon Squeezer (Optional): To extract fresh lemon juice easily for garnish.


Follow these steps for a delicious and authentic Indian turnip dish. Be sure to prepare the ingredients as listed before starting.

Preparing the Turnips

  1. Wash and Peel: Start by washing 4 medium-sized turnips under running water. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
  2. Chop: Cut the peeled turnips into small, bite-sized cubes using a sharp knife on your cutting board.
  3. Blanch (Optional): For a softer texture, blanch the chopped turnips in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Heating Oil and Sautéing Aromatics

  1. Heat Oil: Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into your skillet and heat over medium flame.
  2. Add Cumin Seeds: Once hot, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and let them sizzle until they become fragrant.
  3. Sauté Aromatics: Add 1 finely chopped onion, followed by 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 inch of grated ginger. Sauté until golden brown.
  4. Spice Blend:
  • Add 2 finely chopped green chilies
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Add 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • Mix well ensuring spices are evenly distributed.

Cooking Process

Now that your ingredients are prepped and ready, it’s time to start cooking this flavorful Indian turnip recipe. Follow these steps carefully for a perfectly cooked Shalgam dish.

Frying the Spices

  1. Heat Oil: Place a skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil.
  2. Add Cumin Seeds: Once the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds. Cook until they begin to sizzle and release their aroma.
  3. Sauté Aromatics: Add chopped onions (1 large), minced garlic (4 cloves), and grated ginger (1 inch). Stir frequently until the onions turn golden brown.
  4. Incorporate Green Chilies and Spices: Add 2 finely chopped green chilies, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, and 1 teaspoon coriander powder. Stir well to combine the spices with the aromatics.

Adding and Cooking Turnips

  1. Add Turnips: Introduce your blanched turnip pieces into the skillet with the fried spices.
  2. Stir Well: Mix thoroughly so that each piece of turnip gets coated with the spice mixture.
  3. Cook Covered: Cover the skillet with a lid and cook on low-medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until turnips become tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. Adjust Seasoning: Check for seasoning; add salt to taste if needed.
  5. Garnish & Serve: Once cooked through, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves before serving hot alongside rice or bread.

Assembling the Dish

  1. Prepare a Base Layer
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Once heated, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and let them sizzle until aromatic.
  1. Add Aromatics
  • Add 1 finely chopped onion to the skillet and sauté until golden brown.
  • Stir in 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, cooking for another minute.
  1. Spice It Up
  • Incorporate 2 chopped green chilies into the mixture.
  • Sprinkle in spices:
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Cook for a couple of minutes to blend flavors.
  1. Introduce Turnips
  • Add diced turnips (3-4 medium-sized) into the skillet.
  • Mix well ensuring each piece is coated with the spice mixture.
  1. Simmer Ingredients Together
  • Pour in a cup of water or vegetable broth.
  • Cover and let it simmer on low heat until turnips are tender (about 15-20 minutes).
  1. Adjust Seasonings
    Adjust salt and spices based on your preference after tasting the dish.
  2. Finish with Fresh Herbs: Once the turnips are tender, sprinkle a handful of chopped fresh cilantro over the dish. Stir to combine, allowing the herbs to release their aroma.
  3. Serve and Enjoy: Serve the turnip dish hot, paired with warm naan or steamed rice. This flavorful Indian turnip recipe is now ready to be enjoyed!

Serving Suggestions

To fully enjoy your Indian turnip dish, consider these serving suggestions. Shalgam pairs wonderfully with a variety of Indian breads and rice dishes that complement its rich flavors.

With Bread

  • Naan: Warm up some naan to serve alongside the turnip vegetable. The soft, pillowy texture absorbs the spicy gravy beautifully.
  • Roti or Chapati: Freshly made roti or chapati is another excellent choice. Their slightly chewy texture and mild flavor balance the spicy notes of the dish.
  • Paratha: If you’re in the mood for something more indulgent, try serving Shalgam with flaky parathas. The buttery layers add an extra dimension to every bite.

With Rice

  • Basmati Rice: A bowl of steamed basmati rice is perfect for soaking up all the delicious sauce from the turnip curry. Its long grains and aromatic quality enhance the overall experience.
  • Jeera Rice: For an added layer of flavor, serve it with jeera (cumin) rice. The subtle spice from cumin seeds complements the earthy taste of turnips.
  • Brown Rice: If you prefer a healthier option, brown rice offers a nutty flavor that pairs well with the spiced turnips while adding fiber to your meal.


Enhance your meal further by including some traditional Indian sides:

  • Yogurt or Raita: A side of plain yogurt or cucumber raita cools down the palate between bites and contrasts nicely with spicy elements.
  • Pickles (Achar): Add a small serving of Indian pickles for a tangy kick that elevates each mouthful.
  • Salad: A simple salad made from sliced onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lemon juice provides freshness and crunch alongside your main dish.

Pairing Shalgam with these accompaniments, you create a balanced meal that’s both satisfying and delicious.

Make-Ahead Tips

To streamline your cooking process and enjoy a stress-free meal, follow these make-ahead tips for preparing the flavorful Shalgam dish.

Prep Ingredients Early

  • Turnips: Peel and chop turnips into small cubes. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Green Chilies: Finely chop onions, mince garlic and ginger, and slice green chilies. Keep them together in a sealed container or zip-lock bag in the fridge.

Pre-Mix Spices

  • Combine all dry spices (turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder) needed for the recipe into a small bowl or jar. This will save time during cooking.

Cook Base Ahead of Time

  • Prepare the onion-tomato base (step where you sauté onions with garlic and ginger until golden brown). You can cook this mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. When ready to use, simply reheat before adding turnips.

Batch Cooking

  • Double or triple your recipe quantities if you plan on having leftovers or want to freeze portions for future meals. Shalgam freezes well; store it in freezer-safe containers for up to one month.

Reheating Shalgam

To reheat refrigerated or frozen Shalgam:

  • Refrigerated: Gently warm on low heat on the stove until heated through.
  • Frozen: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat as mentioned above.


Exploring the flavors of Indian cuisine through the Shalgam recipe offers a delightful and nutritious culinary adventure. By incorporating turnips with an array of spices you create a dish that’s both flavorful and healthful. With the right tools efficient preparation becomes seamless allowing you to enjoy this hearty meal with your favorite sides like Indian breads or rice.

Make-ahead tips ensure that even on busy days you can relish this traditional dish without hassle. Whether you’re planning meals for the week or looking to freeze portions for later these strategies make it easy to bring authentic Indian flavors into your home. Enjoy the rich taste and simplicity of Shalgam as part of your regular menu rotation.

Related Posts:

Leave a Comment