Gogji-Nadir (Turnips with Lotus Root)

Winter has set in Delhi. We have had some rain this week which has further brought down the temperatures and I am beginning to regret not airing out the winter wardrobe ahead of time when the days were sunny and bright.  The sun will be back in our winter soon enough and we will be found lazily shelling peanuts outside during breaks from work, or while waiting for transport.  Oh, but there’s a change to that script.  Those of us who have got used to Delhi’s awesome Metro may not be able to indulge in this litter-generating activity.  Imagine, not-littering might become a habit with the denizens of Delhi!  Hope floats!

turnips and lotus root

I was planning to get a head start on the cold weather this year by sharing a winter recipe just as the season’s vegetables started to appear in the markets.  Women propose… and life happens.  These pictures are, after all, from the year past… In any case, if this recipe does get posted within a week or two, then there is plenty of time for you to try it this season.  Yet, I am not sure how many of you out there will attempt a dish that
a) uses turnips as the main ingredient,
b) combines it will lotus root, and
c) uses no spice other than fresh green chillies.

turnips with lotus root

But, I was wrong about haak before, which is cooked in almost the same manner, and I could be wrong about this one.  The purpose of this blog is also to record my family recipes for err…the family.  You never know –  our children may actually want to cook some day!  And if they do then what do you think they will want to to cook first?  It will be the foods that are more about nostalgia than about glamour.  So, it will fall upon daal-chaval, thayir-sadam, and haak-butta to bring back the romance of home-cooked food.  Gogji-nadir served with steamed rice and dahi (yoghurt) is in that list of cherished food and memories.

On one hand Kashmiri cuisine boasts some very spicy, fiery dishes like rogan josh, mutsch, and dum aloo, on the other, we have really tame ones like haak, monji-haak, and this one here – gogji-nadir where we are happy to gently braise the vegetables in a watery broth with just a hint of heat from whole chillies.  It is these tame dishes that we have done a great job of keeping away from the prying eyes of outsiders, barring a few leaks now and then.  It is likely that gogji-nadir might also manage to stay under wraps despite my tell-all recipe here.

But, before I proceed further, in the interest of propriety and in deference to our OCD when chopping vegetables, a lesson in vegetable prep-work is called for.  For all those who think that all there is to Kashmiri vegetable prep is hack-into-large-chunks this may come as a surprise that there are precise ways of chopping a vegetable depending on the dish to be prepared, and there is no room for any flexibility here. If one finds neat cubes where one was expecting thick discs, all hell can break loose.  And, it has nothing to do with anyone’s mood or hormones.  Deviation from the norm can create confusion about what is being served, people! Never was it more apparent than when my poor maid mistook haak for spinach and put in extra labour to chop it fine only to find me staring aghast at the mutilation!  I must have muttered under my breath all evening.  And The Son, I cannot describe his 😯 at being served haak-in-smithereens over his small mound of rice.   It just did not taste right, no matter how much 🙄 the chopping-veggies-to-near-mince Maharashtrians in the family might have done.

lotus root

For gogji-nadir (and not just any dish that uses turnips and lotus root!):
Turnips: Rinse in cold water. Trim the leaf-end and root of turnips. Peel off any root hair. Halve the turnip down the middle so you have two symmetric pieces. Now, using a sharp knife, make thin slice in a hap-hazard manner. 🙂 Refer to the picture; you should end up with irregular but thin slices. This is achieved by rotating the vegetable a little in your hand after every few shavings with the knife. Slice on till you have reduced the turnips into a pile; just a couple of turnips create quite the pile.
Lotus Root: Contrary to common logic, slender is not better in the case of this vegetable. Either are as good to cook with, but may not be used interchangeably. For this dish we want the fat ones. Trim the lotus root at both ends and rinse under running water. Let the water run through to remove clogged dirt that might be present (these grow in muck, remember?). Take a sharp knife, hold it perpendicular to the vegetable which you are holding steady with the other hand, and scrape the edge of the knife back and forth (up and down, if you are holding the vegetable vertical) to remove just the outer surface. Rinse. Lay it down on the chopping board and slice, on the bias. The slices should be about 3mm thick. Rinse again, especially if you see dirt clogged holes. (You could use lotus root sliced in this manner with kohl-rabi and make monjji-nadir).

gogji nadur

(Turnips with Lotus Root)

2-3 medium-sized blushing turnips
1 length (12″ or thereabouts) lotus root (the fatter the better)
(the proportion of the two is to taste)
a couple of hot green chillies
a couple of whole dried red chillies
1 T mustard oil
a pinch of hing
salt to taste

turnips and lotus root

Prepare vegetables as instructed above.  Heat oil in a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed pan.  When the oil starts to smoke, add hing.  Add the vegetables and saute, stirring frequently, till the turnips just begin to brown at the edges.  Add a cup of water.  Break the chillies into two and add to the pot.  Season with salt.  Close the lid and cook under pressure for 8-10 minutes, or simmer covered in the pan till the vegetables are done.  The turnips will disintegrate a bit but that is how it should be.  Serve hot over steamed white rice and lots of fresh dahi.

25 thoughts on “Gogji-Nadir (Turnips with Lotus Root)

  1. very interesting! I am going to be back here to check out more of your recipies – part of my extended family is from Kashmir and I love some of the dishes from there! keep them coming!

    Good to see you here, Mihir!

  2. Hi,
    I have always relished gogji-nadur. My mother calls it “Amrit” because it has no spices (almost). I love it with curds. I remember as a kid when I grew up in the bylanes of Kashmir, I used to have this dish cold (non-refrigerated) and it would taste heavenly. Looking forward to Gogji-razmah, Tchat gogji and many more.

    Ummm gogji-razma…tchat gogji…the perks of winter!

  3. goody. Another easy to do recipe. Now, to find some turnips and lotus stems!!

    You’re in luck – they are in season! …if you live in Delhi that is.

  4. Believe it or not, I can imagine just.how.this tastes! I know because I’ve secretly a few times when you weren’t looking thrown other veggies into the haak pot, like turnips and carrots and… such. Can we add some veri masala to this?

    Carrots?? OMG!
    Believe it or not, you can add veri masala! How intuitive of you!

  5. I have always loved this soupy curry but as usual i have been cooking it slightly differently . I will make it exactly like this next time and let you know . I agree with cutting vegetable in a specific manner , it definitely makes a difference .

    It is quite sunny today here in Delhi and your winter wardrobe can have a nice laze outside 🙂

    Well I made full use of the sunny afternoon yesterday…

    1. Hey Anita i made it n i think i did something wrong , which is not a surprise for such a simple dish . I believe the simpler the dish the more accuracy it demands .
      Okay the lotus roots were too mushy for my taste , i wanted mushy turnips n a a bit firm bhen … how is it in you dish , please elaborate . Liked the taste though.

      Did you cook it longer by any chance? Try reducing the cooking time next time. There’s nothing else I can think of ’cause I cook it exactly like I wrote – no hidden steps! Were you using fresh or frozen lotus stem?

      1. I made it again and in a kadai this time , it was perfect to my taste …i use fresh lotus stem BTW and i found it better cooked in a kadai …8-10 minutes under pressure makes the lotus stem very mushy for my taste ( i had cooked only 5 minutes under pressure the first time ) …this time it was perfect n i know it will be repeated in my kitchen often .
        Thank you.

  6. This sounds intriguing and I can imagine how deliciously it could taste! If I’d be able to find some lotus I’ll definitely make this dish! Thank you for sharing!

    I know we sure cook some unique combination of flavours!

  7. I see a lot of similarity in Kashmiri and Bengali cuisine, maybe same is true about others, I wouldn’t know.
    But some of our best dishes, hiding in the home kitchen, relies on nothing but mustard oil and green chili. And whether you cut potatoes vertically or in a certain cubic measurement, distinguishes one dish from the other

    I would make this just to roll that name of my tongue

    😆 …in that case, I have many more for you!
    I do agree about the similarities of these two cuisines that are otherwise geographically separated from each other.

  8. Aaah….what a nice winter dish to try, especially since I am looking for new things to do with lotus root….the flavours are simple but all the better to let the dishes do the talking!

    Kashmiris love this vegetable and cook it in many combinations including with fish! When you cook seasonal you can bank heavily on the inherent flavours!

  9. Couple of hot green chillies and couple of dried red chillies is just a hint of chillies?

    It is…unless you are planning to chomp on the whole chillies. I wouldn’t advise that. I do however, on occasion, squeeze them just a wee bit to get a few flavourful drops of heat on to the rice…

  10. this sounds so delicious and simple. i have a bag of frozen lotus roots..can i use them to make this dish? love your blog.

    I have never used frozen lotus root…just follow instructions on the bag – you should be fine!

  11. Bought a bunch of turnips last week. Used the greens to make Haak from your recipe. My one yr old loved it. Thanks! Can we use just the turnips to make this ?

    Yes, you can! And then you may call it tchat gogji!

  12. You make the dish sound so delicious Anita. Do they lose the characteristic crunch which is what bothers me I think. Turnip and Lotus Root two vegetables I have tried and not taken a liking to. The texture being the main reason. Celery, Jicama, Parsnips, water chestnuts to name a few who have a similar texture.

    In this dish the turnips are melt-in-your mouth, and the lotus stem becomes soft too, without a crunch. Try it!

  13. Hi Anita, this dish sound great. never cooked with -lotus roo-ts bu-t turnips are regular in our kitchen in winter. love the soupy texture.
    between we have restarted the Arusuvai Friendship chain. as you were a part of this last season thought of checking if you are interested this time as well. for more information please see this

    I beg to be excused this time around!

  14. Anita, I just made tchat gogji and its just fabulous. I did not know turnips could be this good and cooked so plainly. I wish I bought more turnips y’day! And I remember seeing lotus roots on a trip to the Asian store, will pick some up soon 🙂

    🙂 Buttery and sweet! They are great with meat too…but you don’t care for that, do you?

  15. Simplicity rules. So homey and morish and it has been YEARS since I had the lotus roots. Don’t even get the real thing here…

    Try with what you get…

  16. Hi Anita
    I read your posts regularly and sometimes comment. This time I have some pleasant news.I am from Melbourne and recently, about 4 weeks back the main newspaper called The Age featured a sunday magazine with food blogs mentioned and yours was the only Indian blog mentioned. I was pleasntly surprised. They called yours the Indian focused blog and yours was one among “the great blogs” talked about. Thought I would let you know, that you are now known Down under also!!! sorry about letting you know this late but I was on holiday.
    Thank you for the great recipes although lotus root is not one of my favourites!!

    Yay for The Mad Party! 🙂 Thanks for writing in to bring this pleasant piece of news, Poornima! Some time last year AMTP also featured in a brief spot on the morning news on ABS!

  17. Love the write up and learnt some about Kashmiri foods 🙂
    This dish looks delicious with a southern avial type look to it
    First time on your blog, hope to check back often – Was a Delhiite, and have been seeing many changes each year I visit.

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