The Big Boys Curry Book

Lamb With Turnips

20 seconds after this photo was taken, they sprayed me with handfuls of water; boys anywhere!!

Turnips are not commonly eaten these days in the UK, which is a shame, as they make a pleasant change in the diet. Choose the smaller varieties for a better flavour. This is a Kashmiri recipe and therefore the use of the Kashmiri chilli is highly desirable. This chilli when used dry has a lovely flavour, is quite mild but most importantly has a lot of red colouring. Throughout India, the Kashmiri variety is used and attracts a premium price of up to 40% over other varieties. It can be be difficult to get in the UK so if you do find some, buy a lot, or like me buy a kilo or two on your next trip to India to keep you going. If you cannot get the Kashmiri, then use another dark red skinned dry chilli but remove the seeds before grinding. You can always add a hot chilli powder to bring the heat back if necessary.This recipe is for 4 fat lads or 6 mere mortals.


  • 300g turnips
  • 700g neck lamb, lamb cutlets or lamb chops
  • 400g onions
  • 1.5 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 250g tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1.5 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1.5 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 pint of lamb stock (use a stock cube)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Peel turnips and quarter them. Prick the pieces with a fork and rub salt into them. Leave them aside in a bowl for a couple of hours and then rinse them. This removes any bitter taste in the turnips.
  2. Chop onions, garlic, ginger.
  3. Puree the tomatoes.
  4. Put 3 tbsps. of oil in frying pan and fry turnips until they begin to get a crispy skin, about 20 minutes. Drain turnips on kitchen paper when done.
  5. Pour oil from frying pan into a large casserole and additional 1 tbsp. oil. Fry onions gently until golden brown.
  6. Add garlic and ginger. Fry for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add remaining 1 tbsp. of oil, 2 tbsp. of water, all the spices and the lamb. Stir fry meat for 2 minutes to evenly coat meat with spice mix. Cover pot and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will release juices from the meat which are then re-absorbed. At this point remove the lid and stir the meat for 5 minutes, continually bringing fresh pieces into contact with the bottom of the pan. (This is known as the bhuna process).
  8. Add salt to taste, tomato and stock. mix well with meat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the meat is just underdone.
  9. Add turnips and continue to simmer until turnips and meat are tender. Check seasoning.
  10. You can leave this to stand for a while if necessary but may need to addmore water as the turnips will absorb the curry if left standing. Simply re-heat beforeserving.
  11. Serve this with plain rice or some Bombay Potato.

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