As I sit here in a rare moment of quiet (baby is asleep – yippee!) and look out of my window at another cold and wintery day in Sydney, I think of the delicious soup that my mother made me waiting in my fridge. This soup is made of swede, or turnip (called swede because it is thought to have originated from Sweden).
Growing up in Iran whenever I got sick, my mother was forever trying to force this vegetable down my throat. ‘It’s a natural antibiotic’, my mum would say. To me, all boiled up, the bitter taste was the most disgusting thing I could put in my mouth. So most of the time I would refuse and if really forced would try and stifle the gag reflex as I would put a few pieces into my mouth covered in salt to take the edge off the bitterness.
My family even got my husband caught up on the ‘natural antibiotic’ bandwagon one year when we went to Iran for a skiing trip. Suffering from a terrible cold and cough, he was forced to eat copious amounts of turnips and drink the juice (the water used to boil it).
It was while living in Abu Dhabi that as Australians we were invited to an Australia Day celebration at the ambassador’s house. What they did to the vegetable changed my mind about the humble turnip. They roasted it and served it with other root vegetables, like roasted potatoes and sweet potato. I couldn’t believe that I was eating the turnip and actually enjoying it. Since then I am singing its praises. I even planted turnips in my veggie patch last year and was really surprised with the amount of foliage and leaves that it has.
This year, with various colds going around my household, I bought some turnips with the stem and leaves also (with baby number 3 around, it’s been hard to get out into the garden much). I didn’t want to throw away all that vegetable matter and wasn’t sure if it could be eaten. A conversation with my aunt and cousin in Iran confirmed that you can actually eat the leaves. So my mum got to creating this soup recipe and I tell you on a cold winter day, it is the best. As well as tasting great, it’s good to know that all of the vegetable was eaten and there was no waste created.
I’m not sure if it is an ‘antibiotic’, but there are many health benefits to the swede/ turnip including:
• Being a good source of vitamin A & C;
• Good source of calcium, potassium and fibre; and
• Being low in calories.
I hope you enjoy this recipe!
½ teaspoon turmeric
¾ cup mung beans
¾ cup jasmine rice
3 cups of water
I bunch of turnips (3 to 4) including stalks and leaves
Salt and pepper
Finely chop, then sauté the onion
Add turmeric to onion and sauté for another 30 seconds
Add rice and mung beans to onions mix, then add the water.
Boil for 10 minutes
Clean and chop the leaves and the head of the turnip, then cut it all into I cm pieces (I cm cubes). Add all of this to the soup mixture and let it simmer on low heat until the rice, mung beans and turnip are cooked.
Season with salt and pepper to your tastes
When serving, you can add more sauted onion and a dollop of greek yoghurt or sour cream.
Bon a petit and Nooshejan!