Rutabaga gets a bad name. Too many people ignore this nutritious and inexpensive root vegetable in favour of the milder tasting turnip. The trick with rutabaga is a deep peel and a bold sauce. This quick curry, loosely based on the Turnips with Cumin from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking is a good introduction for the rutabaga-reticent.
Yield: 6 servings as a side dish
What you need:
- 1-1/2 lb rutabaga (about 3 small), peeled deeply (get rid of the peel and the outer flesh – the one that’s coloured differently from the inner flesh) and cut into 1/2” dice
- 1 lb golden-fleshed potatoes (about 4 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1” dice
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
- 1 cup unsalted crushed tomatoes (home-canned preferred)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1/8 teaspoon hing (asafoetida, powdered not lump – or if you have lumps, grind them to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 2 dried red chiles
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
What you do:
- In a small bowl, whisk the besan with a couple of tablespoons of the water until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the crushed tomatoes, remaining water and salt. Set aside to thicken slightly.
- Heat the oil in a medium or large-sized saucepan. Add the hing and let it sizzle a few seconds then add the cumin and mustard seeds. Cover the pot and let the mustard seeds pop, this won’t take long, 10-15 seconds.
- Uncover and add the chiles. Let them blacken a few seconds and then add the turnip, potatoes, turmeric, and reserved tomato mixture. Mix well and bring to a boil.
- Cover the pot, turn the heat down and simmer 15-20 minutes, until the rutabaga is tender. If the mixture begins to stick, feel free to add an extra tablespoon of water or two. There should be a thick sauce clinging to the vegetables when it’s done.
- Serve with rice or quinoa and a bean dish for a complete meal.