Rutabaga marries Indian Flavours
The name Rutabaga was fascinating enough to kindle my curiosity. Repeat the name a few times and it sounds really funny. It is also called Swedish turnip. Long time ago when I could lay my hands on a ‘Canadian Living’ magazine, I read a recipe with this vegetable. I was living in a different country then, where rutabaga was not available. After reaching Canada, I did not immediately root around for it as there was no pressing need. Canada’s treatment of rutabaga is quite humbling as a filler food in mincemeat and Christmas cake (surprise!). Suddenly it dawned on me that I have to try it.
Recently, I saw rutabaga in our grocery store and bought one to experiment. Soon, I was procrastinating due to a fear of dealing with the unknown. I left it to hang out with some fruits on a shelf, thereby, influenced by the ethylene and warmth from the heater it started sprouting unnoticed. It is almost Spring and I guess, that plants know this from some internal coding. But my daughter points out that plants are communicating with each other all the time and being very vicious by nature, one day, they will get rid of all humans. Haha! she is reading a lot of stories.
It is a root vegetable, a close cousin of turnip. As the taste is going to be new, I had to stick to a familiar recipe. I tasted it. It was crunchy and tasted something like a mix between sweet potato and radish. After a brainwave, I made up my mind to cook it like potato but add some lemon juice to kick it up a notch. Therefore, I decided that a spicy stir fry was the way to cook.
- 1 medium sized rutabaga
- 1 onion
- 3 dry red chillies
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt according to discretion
- few curry leaves
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- Peel the skin of rutabaga and wash it.
- Dice it into cubes. (It is a bit tough…so first apply a lot of strength and caution to cut it into halves, then quarters, then slices them and finally end up in cubes.)
- Grind the onion, red chillies and garlic into a paste.
- Heat oil in a pan and crackle mustard seeds in the hot oil.
- Add the paste to the pan and take care as it will splutter and splash as soon as it is in contact with oil.
- Fry it for a few minutes and add the diced rutabaga cubes.
- Add 1/2 cup of water and cover the pan with the lid allowing it to cook till tender. Add more water if needed.
- After it is soft add salt and fry it till it develops some hard crusts on the sides.
- Sprinkle the lemon juice which will camouflage any unpleasant turnip flavour lingering.
- Use it as a side dish for rice.
This dish has my husband’s stamp of approval, but I would not bestow high praise on it. I would be cooking it as often as turnip or radish because they all belong to the same club!