I know everyone’s busy running around raving about pumpkins, acorn squash, and butternuts (guilty as charged), but what about little old turnips?! Well. Chinese turnips are ALSO in season right now, and tis the season to eat lots of them.
Did you know that the turnip is a cruciferous vegetable, and not just another root vegetable? Yep, it’s healthy and definitely shouldn’t be relegated as a starchy filler. An old saying in China claims that eating turnips now (when they’re in season) is actually more beneficial than ginseng!
Given that the stars are aligned on turnips, today I want to shine a spotlight on this under-appreciated vegetable. I think it deserves so much more attention and application in the culinary world. These Easy Braised Turnip Rice Bowls make for the perfect recipe to bring your family all the benefits the humble turnip has to offer.
So what does that entail, exactly? Turnips are low in calories and high in fiber. According to studies, the benefits of eating turnips also include fighting cancer-causing free radicals, improving immunity, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and supporting healthy digestion.
That being said, this is a good time to mention that we have many other Chinese turnip dishes that you can try: Chinese Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Go); Braised Beef with Chinese Turnips; Chinese Turnip Pancakes, Simple Oxtail Soup, and Dim Sum Tripe Stew. All excellent choices for turnip newbies and old-time devotees alike!
How to Pick a Good Turnip
With all of these health benefits, I know you are eager to give this simple braised turnip recipe a try. But before you go shopping, here are some tips for picking a good turnip.
First of all, we are talking about white Chinese turnips, not the purplish standard turnips you might find in a regular grocery store. But if that’s all you have access to, feel free to use that!
Next, the skin of a fresh turnip should be shiny, not dull, and smooth and evenly colored—no black spots. Finally, weigh the turnip in your hand. It should feel heavier than its size. If it feels light, it’s probably dried out.
If you’re skeptical of this dish, Sarah, who is admittedly my pickier daughter when it comes to eating veggies, really likes this braised turnip bowl, and used words/phrases like “wholesome”, “comforting”, “meaty”, and “the best” when chowing down on one of the bowls after wrapping up the photo shoot!
I sincerely hope this easy and quick one-pot-meal will become a staple for your family during the winter months ahead. And don’t forget to spread the word and share the health benefits of Chinese turnips now that they’re in season!
Add the ground meat, and stir-fry until browned.
Mix everything well, cover, and let simmer for about 15 minutes over medium heat—until the turnips are cooked through and translucent. While the contents of the woks are simmering, prepare the cornstarch mixture and set aside.
Once the turnips are fully cooked through, uncover, turn the heat up to high, add the cornstarch mixture.
Stir-fry for a minute––the mixture should thicken into a sauce. Stir in the green parts of the scallions…
And serve your braised turnip over steamed jasmine rice!
Easy Braised Turnip Rice Bowls
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 star anise
- 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
- 3 cloves garlic (smashed and finely chopped)
- 4 scallions (chopped and separated by white and green parts)
- 8 ounces ground pork (225g, but any ground meat will work)
- 1½ pounds white Chinese turnip or daikon radish (680g, peeled and cut into ½” x 1” pieces)
- 8 fresh Shiitake mushrooms (diced)
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups water (470 ml)
- 1½ tablespoons cornstarch (mixed with 3 tablespoons water)
- Steamed jasmine rice (to serve)
- Heat the oil in your wok over low heat. Add the star anise and Sichuan peppercorns. Let them infuse the oil for 10 minutes, taking care not to let them burn.
- Scoop out and discard the aromatics, and leave the oil in the wok. Add the ginger, garlic, and the white parts of the scallion, and turn up the heat to medium-high. Stir for a minute or so. Add the ground meat, and stir-fry until browned. Next, add the turnips and shiitake mushrooms. Stir and mix everything well.
- Add the Shaoxing wine, salt, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and 2 cups of water. Mix everything well, cover, and let simmer for about 15 minutes over medium heat--until the turnips are cooked through and translucent. While the contents of the woks are simmering, prepare the cornstarch mixture and set aside.
- Once the turnips are fully cooked through, uncover, turn the heat up to high, add the cornstarch mixture. Stir-fry for a minute––the mixture should thicken into a sauce. Stir in the green parts of the scallions and then serve over rice.