White Turnip Tarka Salad

My daughter Anna adores this salad because the combo of sharp turnip and acidic vinegar reminds her of kimchi, her beloved Korean condiment. The inspiration came from the very talented chef and author Monisha Bhardwaj, whose book The Indian Pantry I refer to constantly.

Serves 6-8



1 pound white turnips, peeled, trimmed, and coarsely grated (about 3 cups)

¼ cup white vinegar

1 serrano or jalapeño, sliced very thinly crosswise

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon sugar


2 tablespoons neutral oil

¾ teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds

¾ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon nigella seeds or black sesame seeds


Step 1
Prepare the salad: Place the turnips in a large nonreactive bowl.

Step 2
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, green chili, salt, pepper, and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes to mellow the chili. Pour over the turnips and toss until thoroughly combined.

Step 3
Make the tarka: Assemble your measured ingredients by the stove. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop for a few seconds, occasionally swirling the pan. Next add the cumin and nigella seeds and swirl the pan a few times while they sizzle, about 10 seconds. Pour the mixture over the turnips and stir well. Serve immediately.