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Turnip kebabs

Pakistan, and India, are most well known for their meaty kebabs, but there is a vast repertoire of vegetable and paneer kebabs on the menus. These kebabs are beautifully spiced and satisfy the large vegetarian population in these countries.

Here is a perfect recipe for an amazing turnip kebab. What makes this recipe shine is how soft and delicate these kebabs are. The mashed turnips and potato melt away leaving a bite from the chickpeas. the spices are in perfect balance, herby and a touch of chilli. The topping of the spicy green chutney completes the dish by adding a kick. This kebab is wonderful and one that I will put onto my menu for clients.

This is a wonderful cookbook of ancient and modern cuisine from Pakistan. A beautiful cookbook, with gorgeous photographs and packed with lots of recipes. The author has kept to the traditional flavours and traditions. This is a wonderful cookbook and one for anyone who would like to enjoy this cuisine.

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.


1/4 cup split chickpeas, (chana dal), soaked overnight in water

2 dried red chillies

3 cups water

Salt, to taste

3 medium-sized turnips, peeled and cubed

3 cups water

Salt, to taste

1 potato, peeled and cubed

3 cups water

Salt, to taste

1 tablespoon dried ground pomegranate seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1-2 green chillies, finely minced

2-3 scallions, finely minced

4 tablespoons cilantro leaves, minced

10-12 mint leaves, minced

Juice of 1/2-1 lime

1 egg, lightly beaten (omit for vegan version)

Cornflour, as needed (optional)

Oil, for frying

For the green chutney:

1 large bunch of cilantro leaves

15 mint leaves

1-2 green chillies, stemmed

1 tablespoon jaggery or brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

2 tablespoons desiccated flaked coconut + a pinch for garnish

Salt, to taste

Water, as needed

To make the green chutney, add all the ingredients to a small blender with a few tablespoons of water. Blitz to a fine thick paste. Do not make the chutney too runny, you want it to be thick. Taste and adjust salt and spice. The chutney should be bold, as spicy as you would like it, and have hints of sweetness and mint. use immediately, or store in an air-tight container in the fridge. When serving, garnish with a pinch of desiccated coconut.

Drain the soaked chickpeas and rinse well. Add to a small pot with the chillies, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer for 18-20 minutes till the lentils are cooked through and still retain a bite and their shape. Do not overcook to a mush. Drain and dry out on a flat plate.

Add the turnips to a pot with the water and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 20 minutes till the turnips are very soft and can be easily mashed. Drain well in a colander and allow to completely dry out. Mash the turnips and set them on a colander to drain out again. Gently press down with your hands to remove as much water as possible. If there is a lot of water in the mix, it will be hard to work with.

Add the potatoes to a separate pot with the water and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 15-18 minutes till the potatoes are very soft and can be easily mashed. Drain well in a colander and allow to completely dry out.

Mash the turnips and potatoes well in a bowl. To the mash add the cooked chana dal ad the rest of the ingredients except for the egg, flour and oil. Mix in well, hands work best for this. Taste and adjust tartness with the ground pomegranate seeds, spice with the green chillies and salt. The mix should be tart and bold, with lots of herb and spice. You know you have a good mix when you want to taste some more of it all the time. If the mix is a bit watery, you can either allow it to sit in the fridge for an hour to firm up or add a tablespoon of cornflour. Do not add too much flour, it will turn the delicate kebabs pasty.

Have the lightly beaten egg ready in a bowl. Sprinkle the cornflour, if using, on a wide plate. Heat a wide frying pan on medium heat with a drizzle of oil. Make a small patty, about 2-inches in diameter. Dredge in the egg and then the cornflour if used, coating it very lightly. Add to the pan and fry for 2 minutes for the first side. When lightly golden and the base has firmed up, flip and cook for an additional minute.

Serve immediately with the green chutney garnishing both with desiccated coconut.

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