Turnip Curry
Turnip Curry
5 from 13 votes
Experience a unique blend of rustic flavours with the ever-delightful Turnip Curry, a culinary gem hailing from the heartlands of Punjab, India. A tantalising dish that would make your taste buds dance in delight.
Turnip Curry

Turnip Curry, or as it is lovingly known in India, “Shalgam ki Sabzi”, is a humble, yet flavourful dish that hails from the Punjabi cuisine. My journey with this recipe began during my culinary exploration of the diverse Indian cuisine.

The history of this dish is deeply rooted in the agrarian society of Punjab, where turnips grow in abundance during the winter months. Over the years, this dish has become a staple in Punjabi households, loved for its unique flavour and nutritional benefits.

The beauty of Turnip Curry lies in its simplicity. Though this dish may not feature on the menus of lavish Indian restaurants, it’s the comfort and familiarity of home that this recipe brings, which has etched it deep into the hearts of people.

It’s not overly complex to make, making it ideal for those stepping into the realm of Indian cooking.

As I embarked on my journey to master this dish, I discovered that the secret to its success lies in balancing the pungent and mildly sweet taste of the turnip with the spicy, aromatic flavours of traditional Indian spices.

My initial attempts were all about adjusting these flavours, figuring out the right quantities and the optimal cooking time to get that perfect taste and texture.

Turnip Curry, in essence, is a testament to the beauty of rustic Indian cuisine. It showcases how the most basic, everyday ingredients can be combined in such a way that the result is nothing short of extraordinary. It doesn’t require any fancy ingredients or equipment.

All you need is patience, love, and an appetite for something deliciously different.

This recipe can be a bit daunting for the novice cook, but don’t let that discourage you. With a bit of practice, you will be able to whip up this flavourful curry in no time. Remember, the journey of creating a delicious meal is as rewarding as the meal itself.

In terms of difficulty, Turnip Curry falls in the medium category. The process involves various stages – from preparing the ingredients and sautéing the spices to slow-cooking the turnips until they are perfectly tender. It’s a labour of love, but one that is worth every second spent.

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and bring the magic of the Punjabi countryside into your kitchen with this Turnip Curry recipe. Believe me, once you’ve tasted it, there’s no going back.

Embrace the journey, savour the aroma wafting through your kitchen, and look forward to a bowl of piping hot Turnip Curry that is nothing short of a treat for the senses.

What Ingredients to Use & Why

Welcome to the heart of our Turnip Curry, the ingredients. These kitchen pantry staples might seem unassuming, but when they come together, they create a flavour profile that is truly astounding. Let’s dive deeper into these culinary stars and see why they make our dish so special.

Turnip (Shalgam): The main protagonist of our dish, turnip or shalgam, is chosen for its unique flavour that sits somewhere between a carrot and a potato, with a hint of pepperiness.

Turnips are excellent for curries because they absorb the spices well, rendering an overall balanced flavour to the dish. While there’s no perfect substitute for turnips, rutabaga or kohlrabi could be used in a pinch.

Oil: Used to sauté our ingredients, oil forms the base of our curry. I prefer using vegetable or canola oil, as they have a neutral flavour that doesn’t overshadow the other ingredients. However, you could experiment with coconut oil or ghee for a different flavour profile.

Onions: Onions provide a sweetness that counteracts the slightly bitter nature of turnips. It forms the foundation of our curry and provides a caramelized undertone that gives our curry depth. If you are allergic or just don’t like onions, fennel bulbs or leeks might serve as alternatives.

Tomatoes: The tangy taste of tomatoes beautifully complements the robust spices and the sweetness of turnips. They also help in creating the gravy for our curry. Tomato puree could be a quick alternative, although fresh ones are always the best choice.

Ginger and Garlic Paste: This paste is the soul of Indian cuisine, and it’s no different for our Turnip Curry. The spiciness of ginger and the pungency of garlic enhances the flavour profile of the curry. As alternatives, ginger powder and garlic powder could be used, but they lack the freshness of the paste.

Green Chillies: Green chillies add a kick to our curry. They provide the necessary heat which works in harmony with the sweetness of turnips and onions. If you cannot handle too much heat, bell peppers can be used as a milder alternative.

Spices: These spices are the essence of Indian curries. Salt enhances all the other flavours, chilli powder adds colour and heat, and turmeric provides a subtle earthiness and a beautiful golden hue.

While these spices are commonly found, in their absence, a curry powder blend could be a feasible alternative.

Coriander: Fresh coriander or cilantro leaves add a refreshing note to our Turnip Curry. They provide a touch of green and a burst of flavour that makes the curry even more delightful. If you’re someone who finds coriander soapy, parsley can serve as a good alternative.

Each ingredient in this recipe has a purpose, contributing to the overall harmony of flavours in our Turnip Curry. Their combination creates a dish that is greater than the sum of its parts, offering an incredible culinary journey. So, grab these ingredients and let’s cook up a storm in the kitchen!

The Origin of Turnip Curry

I find it fascinating to dive deep into the roots of any dish I prepare. This exploration not only enriches my understanding of the dish but also connects me to the cultures and traditions it originates from.

Turnip Curry, a flavourful stew of tender turnips cooked with aromatic Indian spices, is no exception.

Turnip Curry, also known as “Shalgam ki Sabzi” in India, hails from the fertile land of Punjab, a northern state in India renowned for its vibrant culture and hearty cuisine.

Punjab experiences harsh winters, and the region’s cuisine reflects the necessity of high-energy, warming foods to survive the cold months. Turnip, a winter vegetable, thrives in this region and forms the base of this beloved Punjabi dish.

The recipe for Turnip Curry reflects the ethos of Punjabi cuisine – simplicity and flavour. Punjabi people, known for their love for food and agriculture, believe in making the best use of locally available ingredients. Thus, the humble turnip finds its way from the fields to the kitchen, transforming into a comforting curry under the skilled hands of Punjabi homemakers.

While there are regional variations of Turnip Curry across India, the Punjabi version, characterized by the use of basic spices and a slow-cooking method, is the most popular. This simple yet hearty dish encapsulates the essence of Punjab – a celebration of life and bounty.

Transforming Turnip Curry into a Vegan Delight

I believe that every recipe has room for adaptation. Food should be inclusive, and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of their dietary preferences or restrictions. The good news for my vegan friends is that the traditional Turnip Curry is almost vegan, and with a small tweak, it can perfectly fit into a vegan diet.

The classic Turnip Curry recipe calls for the use of vegetable oil, which is vegan-friendly. However, some versions of the recipe might use ghee (clarified butter), a common ingredient in Indian cooking.

To make the recipe vegan, all you need to do is replace the ghee with plant-based oil. My personal favourites are coconut oil and olive oil, both of which add a unique flavour dimension to the curry.

All the other ingredients – turnips, onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, and spices are plant-based and vegan-friendly. Additionally, fresh coriander leaves, used as a garnish, are also suitable for a vegan diet.

Transforming the Turnip Curry into a vegan delight is as simple as swapping out one ingredient. So, whether you’re vegan or trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, this version of Turnip Curry is a delicious option that doesn’t compromise on the authentic flavours of the traditional recipe.

Adjusting the Heat Level in Your Turnip Curry

As someone who has been cooking and experimenting with recipes for years, I understand that not everyone has the same tolerance for spicy food. The beauty of cooking at home is that you can adjust the flavours to suit your palate. And this holds true for our Turnip Curry as well.

The heat in the Turnip Curry primarily comes from the use of green chillies and chilli powder. If you like your food fiery, feel free to add a few extra chillies. But if you prefer milder flavours, there are several ways to reduce the spiciness without compromising on the overall taste of the curry.

One simple trick is to reduce the number of chillies. Remember that the seeds and the white membrane inside the chilli are where most of the heat resides. So, using chillies without seeds can also lower the heat level.

Another trick is to balance the heat with acidity. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a dollop of yoghurt at the end not only cools down the curry but also adds a new flavour dimension.

Finally, remember that spices are not just about heat; they also impart flavour. If you’re reducing the amount of chilli, consider increasing the quantity of other aromatic spices like turmeric, coriander, or cumin to keep the curry flavourful.

A Guide to Freezing and Reheating Turnip Curry

I can attest to the convenience of having a homemade curry ready to be defrosted and enjoyed at a moment’s notice. The Turnip Curry, with its robust flavours and hearty texture, is perfect for freezing and reheating.

The key to successfully freezing Turnip Curry lies in the cooling process. Once you’ve prepared your curry, allow it to cool completely at room temperature. Then, transfer it to an airtight, freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. You can store this in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to savour your Turnip Curry, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator. This slow defrosting helps retain the texture and flavour of the curry.

To reheat, transfer the defrosted curry into a pan and warm it over medium heat until it’s thoroughly heated. If the curry appears too thick, add a bit of water or vegetable broth to thin it out.

The process of freezing and reheating Turnip Curry does not significantly impact its flavour or texture, making it an excellent choice for meal prepping.

So, the next time you make a batch of Turnip Curry, consider doubling the recipe. That way, you’ll have a homemade, delicious meal ready for those busy days when you don’t have the time to cook from scratch.

Perfect Pairings: What to Serve with Turnip Curry

Every culinary journey is a symphony, and just like in a symphony, harmony is key. In the culinary world, this harmony is achieved by pairing dishes that complement each other, enhancing the overall dining experience. Now, what goes best with our star dish, Turnip Curry?

Indian cuisine offers a wide variety of bread and rice dishes that can be served alongside our Turnip Curry. The most common pairing is with Indian flatbreads like roti, naan, or paratha. These breads serve as the perfect vehicle to scoop up the curry, making each bite a perfect blend of spicy curry and soft bread.

Alternatively, steamed basmati rice is another excellent option. The mild, fragrant rice pairs beautifully with the robust flavours of Turnip Curry. In fact, in many Indian households, curry with rice is a staple meal.

For a complete Indian meal experience, you could also serve the Turnip Curry with a side of cooling raita (yoghurt-based dish) or a tangy pickle. These sides provide a refreshing contrast to the heat of the curry and enhance the overall flavour profile.

The versatility of Turnip Curry makes it a great match with various accompaniments. So, don’t hesitate to get creative and serve it with whatever pleases your palate!

Turnip Curry in a Slow Cooker: A Simple Guide

If there’s one kitchen appliance I’d vouch for, it’s the slow cooker. It simplifies the cooking process, and the results are often dishes with incredibly developed flavours.

For dishes like Turnip Curry that require slow cooking to meld flavours and soften the turnips, a slow cooker (or an Instant Pot with a slow cook function) can be your best friend.

To make Turnip Curry in a slow cooker, you would need to make a few modifications to the traditional stovetop method. Start by sautéing the onions, ginger-garlic paste, and spices in a pan. This step is crucial to bring out the flavours of the spices. Once this mixture is ready, transfer it to the slow cooker.

Next, add the chopped turnips, tomatoes, and the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Give everything a good mix, ensuring the turnips are well coated with the spices. Set your slow cooker on low and let it cook for about 6 to 8 hours.

One of the advantages of using a slow cooker is that it allows the flavours to develop more fully. The result is a Turnip Curry that’s rich in flavour with perfectly tender turnips.

So, go ahead and give this method a try. You might find yourself falling in love with the ease and flavour of slow-cooked Turnip Curry!

Making Turnip Curry in an Instant Pot: Your Step-by-Step Guide

In the world of modern cooking, the Instant Pot has been nothing short of a game-changer. Combining the features of a pressure cooker and a slow cooker, it offers a fast and efficient way to prepare meals, including our Turnip Curry. Let me guide you through the process.

The first step remains the same as in the traditional method: sautéing. Luckily, the Instant Pot comes with a sauté function. Start by heating the oil, then add onions, ginger-garlic paste, and let them sauté until the onions soften.

Next, add in the tomatoes and the spices – salt, chilli powder, and turmeric. Stir it well and cook until the tomatoes become mushy.

Then comes the main ingredient, the turnips. Add them in, making sure they’re coated with the spices. Then, pour in the water. Secure the lid of the Instant Pot, set the valve to sealing, and select the ‘Manual’ or ‘Pressure Cook’ setting. Cook on high pressure for about 10 minutes.

Once the cooking cycle is completed, let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes, then move the valve to the vent to release any remaining pressure. Open the lid, stir in the coriander, and voila! Your Instant Pot Turnip Curry is ready to be served.

The Timeline: From Preparation to Serving Your Turnip Curry

Preparing a scrumptious meal like Turnip Curry can seem daunting, but with a little planning, the process becomes much more manageable. Let me break down the timing for you.

The first step in preparing Turnip Curry is gathering all the ingredients. Depending on how organized your kitchen is, this could take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. The next step is prepping the ingredients which include peeling and chopping the turnips, onions, and tomatoes, and preparing the ginger-garlic paste if you don’t have a pre-made one. All of this should take around 15-20 minutes.

Now comes the cooking part. Start by sautéing the onions until they soften, which takes about 4-5 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste, cooking for another 1-2 minutes.

Toss in the tomatoes and spices, letting them cook for about 5-7 minutes. At this stage, you’re ready to add the turnips, let them mix well with the spices and then cover the pot.

The turnips need to cook on low to medium heat for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, it’s important to stir occasionally to prevent the curry from sticking to the pan.

Once cooked, the final step is mashing the turnips to your desired consistency and adding the coriander. This takes about 5 minutes.

So, on average, you’ll need about an hour to prepare and cook your Turnip Curry. It’s a small investment for a plateful of delicious, homemade curry!

Key Spices in Turnip Curry: Unravelling the Flavour Magic

Indian cuisine is known for its judicious use of spices, and Turnip Curry is no exception. The rich, complex flavours of this curry can be attributed to a handful of key spices.

At the heart of the spice mix are chilli powder and turmeric. Chilli powder lends a spicy kick to the curry, while turmeric provides a beautiful golden colour and a distinct earthy flavour.

These spices are usually added to the sautéed onions and tomatoes, allowing their flavours to bloom and permeate the curry.

Adding to the depth of flavour is the ginger-garlic paste. This blend is a staple in Indian cooking and provides a sharp, aromatic base for the curry. Its pungent taste complements the sweetness of the turnips and the heat from the chilli powder.

Finally, we have fresh coriander, added at the end of the cooking process. Coriander leaves have a lemony, slightly peppery flavour that brightens up the dish and adds a pop of colour.

These spices together create a delicate balance of flavours in the Turnip Curry – spicy, earthy, aromatic, and tangy. It’s this interplay of flavours that makes Indian dishes like Turnip Curry truly irresistible.

Check Out These Other Recipes

From the bustling lanes of my beloved culinary world, I’ve handpicked some delectable vegetarian delights that you will absolutely adore, just as much as you loved my Turnip Curry. So, let’s take this culinary journey a step further, shall we?

Ah, the Aloo Gobi! It’s an old friend who has accompanied me through countless dinners and lunches, a humble blend of potatoes and cauliflower, sautéed in an array of spices. This comforting dish has a special way of making me feel right at home, enveloping me in its warm and earthy flavours.

The Tadka Dal, however, is a slightly different story. Its simplicity speaks volumes to me, with just lentils cooked to perfection, and a fiery tempering that lights up the dish like fireworks on a starry night. Every spoonful brings a burst of spice, warmth, and comfort that’s hard to forget.

How can I not mention the Bhindi Masala? A personal favourite and a recipe that I believe holds the heart of Indian cuisine. Each bite of this okra curry makes me feel as if I’m partaking in a grand feast, savouring the tanginess, the heat, and the subtle sweetness.

And the Chana Curry? Ah! It’s like poetry in a pot. The tender chickpeas are simmered in a spicy, tangy gravy that sings to me of flavourful adventures. It’s an invitation to a warm, cosy dinner that I can never resist.

Last but certainly not least, let’s not forget the Vegetable Curry. A colourful potpourri of vegetables in a lush, fragrant gravy, it’s a vibrant celebration on a plate. It’s like an artist’s palette, but the colours are your favourite vegetables, and the paint is the rich, spicy curry.

And there you have it, a quick peek into the vegetarian delights that await you. I encourage you to try them and share your experiences. Remember, the joy of cooking lies in exploring, tasting, and in sharing.

So, go ahead, and take a chance on these recipes. You won’t be disappointed, I promise. I look forward to hearing all about your kitchen adventures in the comments section.

Turnip Curry

Turnip Curry (Shalgam Recipe)

by Nabeela Kauser
This is a must-try turnip curry recipe if you've never had one before! Turnip curry is a flavour-packed dish made with fresh turnip cubes and aromatic herbs and spices that is sure to please your guests.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 206 kcal


  • 1 kg Turnip Shalgam
  • 50 ml Oil
  • 1 Onions
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 Green Chillies
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • Coriander Handful
  • 50 ml Water


  • Add the oil and heat it up on medium heat
  • Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until they are softened
  • Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for 1-2 minutes
  • Then add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat
  • When the tomatoes are softened, you can add the salt, green chillies, chilli powder, turmeric, and cumin powder
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add 3 tbsp water
  • Make sure to cook until the oil separates, this can take a few minutes
  • Once the oil has separated, add the peeled and chopped turnips (shalgam)
  • Make sure to mix the turnips properly with the spices
  • Cover and cook on low medium heat for approximately 30 minutes
  • Make sure to stir occasionally so the curry doesn't stick to the pan 
  • Once the curry is done, mash the turnips until you have reached your desired consistency
  • Add the coriander and mix into the curry
  • Your delicious turnip curry is ready, serve with homemade naan or chapatti!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 206kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 3gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.05gSodium: 801mgPotassium: 696mgFibre: 6gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 729IUVitamin C: 65mgCalcium: 94mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Cooking, Curry, Food, Recipe, Shalgam, Turnip, Vegan, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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1 year ago

5 stars
Could you make this with a pre-made curry paste


Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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