Curried Turnip with Coconut & Mustard Seeds

Turnip curry

Lately I’ve been making a lot of vegetarian dishes that are inspired by recipes for South Indian and Sri Lankan curries. I cook something South Asian at least once a week usually and find these curries to be very comforting, as they contain familiar spices like turmeric and coriander, but also add some novelty due to the usage of curry leaves and coconut which aren’t as common in Bangladeshi cuisine.

It’s been a great way to use up a lot of our CSA vegetables and so far I’ve made variations of this with turnips, kohlrabi, cabbage, mustard greens, chard and even bok choy. The spices will fuse well with most vegetables so feel free to use whatever you have on hand. When I don’t have coconut milk at home I’ve also substituted desiccated coconut that I soak in a bit of warm water for a few minutes and grind quickly in a food processor.

Note: I prefer my curries spicy so adjust the amounts of spices according to your taste if you use this recipe as a guideline.


  • Turnips, 1 bunch with greens (can substitute greens with chard, kale or any other braising greens that you like)
  • Onion, 1 medium, chopped
  • Coconut oil or other cooking oil, 2 tbsp
  • Garlic paste, 1 tsp
  • Ginger paste, 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds (yellow or black), 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds (optional), 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves, 8-10 leaves
  • Dried red chillies (optional), 2-3
  • Turmeric powder,12 tsp
  • Fenugreek powder (optional), 12 tsp
  • Chili powder, 1 tsp or to your taste
  • Cumin powder, 2 tsps
  • Coriander powder, 2 tsps
  • Curry powder, 1-2 tsp
  • Ground black pepper, 12 tsp or to taste
  • Coconut milk, 14 to 12 cup, depending on how thick you want your curry
  • Lemon juice or vinegar (optional), 1 tsp or to taste
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Peel and cut the turnips and chop the greens to your liking.
  2. Heat oil in pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add mustard and cumin seeds till they crackle a bit. Add curry leaves and dry red chillies and give the pan a stir to make sure nothing burns.
  3. Add onions and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. When onions are soft (5-6 mins), add ginger & garlic paste and cook for a minute or so.
  4. Stir all the powdered spices in and cook for another few minutes, until the oil separates from the spices and onion mixture.
  5. At this point add the turnips and salt and mix everything well. Adjust seasoning at this point if needed. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the turnips start to soften and change color, stirring frequently. Cooking times may vary depending on your stove.
  6. Add in the greens, coconut milk and lemon juice or vinegar (if using) and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until all vegetables are cooked through.
  7. Serve hot with rice.

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