Brunch, Recipes, Soups, Vegetables

Baby Hakurei Turnip Soup

When I saw this beautiful bunch of fresh Hakurei turnips at the store, I immediately grabbed it, as they are not always available. These turnips are quite different from the more known ones: they have finer texture, a delicate sweetish peppery-mustardy flavor and milder aroma.
While these turnips can be eaten raw, greens included, I still prefer to lightly cook them as a side dish, or, as you can see in this recipe, to cook them into a tasty soup.
As the weather is cooler now, I wanted a soup that has more body to it, so decided to add some chicken and beef to it, as I didn’t have ready stock at hand.
In order to enhance the mustardy-peppery flavor, and add a nice aroma to the soup, I added some fresh ginger, onions and herbs to the pot. Seasoning with a bit of soy sauce, mustard and honey, added another layer of flavors. Once the chicken and beef were removed, I blended the soup, and then thickened it a bit with semolina. The soup was hearty, yet not too heavy, which worked well as a first course for dinner. Try it and enjoy.

* I used chicken wings simply because I didn’t have chicken bones at hand. The wings ended up glazed with sweet-spicy pepper sauce (click HERE for the recipe) and made a nice quick lunch the next day.
* If the amount seems too large for your needs, bear in mind that the soup freezes well.
* The fresh ginger I used here was bought in season, peeled and frozen. If using older ginger, finely grate it rather than chop it.

Makes: 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

1 bunch (mine had 6), baby Hakurei turnips, with their greens
2 stalks celery, coarsely cut
3 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (see notes)
3-4 bay leaves
3-4 dried sage leaves
3-4 basil leaves, chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 medium shallot, roughly chopped
1 large garlic, roughly chopped
1.4 lbs (650 gram) chicken wings (see notes)
4 oz (115 grams) beef steak (I used sirloin tip)
2 Tbs salt
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs soy sauce
½ tsp freshly grounded four peppers mix
¼ tsp mustard powder
1 tsp Dijon mustard
About 10 cups water
¼ cup fine semolina

1. Separate the greens from the turnips, place them in the sink and wash thoroughly. Cut off the turnips tops quarter them (no need to peel). Keep a few leaves and half a turnip on the side, for serving, and cut the rest coarsely.

Place in a large pot and add all the rest of ingredients, except for the semolina.

2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, mixing occasionally, for 50 minutes.
3. Take off the heat. Discard the bay leaves, chicken and meat. Blend with a hand blander to a smooth soup. Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Bring again to a boil, over medium-high heat. While stirring, sprinkle the semolina over. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, until the soup thickens a bit.

5. Serve warm, garnished with sliced turnip and a chiffonade of turnip leaves.

30 thoughts on “Baby Hakurei Turnip Soup”

  1. I had never heard of Hakurei turnips and now this is the second recipe in as many days. I like turnips and these sound like I should try and seek them out. Thank you for such an interesting post and recipe.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such an interesting soup with lots of great flavors – you always seem to do that 🙂 I’m not sure if I’ve seen them but I am still not shopping around like I use too. Baby veggies are always good with more concentrated flavor. Have to keep this in mind as it is starting to turn cool here in Michigan – I need a new soup to add to my collection!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The term ‘Hakurei’ was totally foreign to me . . . so Mr Google was asked to help. They are called ‘Japanese turnips’ hereabouts and seeds to grow are certainly available. Both supermarket chains quite ‘snootily’ commented that Down Under we did not differentiate turnip kinds : how ignorant ! I like your herby-mustardy broth and often use chicken wings for stock as the carcases sold come from badly raised birds with little food value. Since I very much enjoy the flavour of turnips ordinary ones will just have to do . . . !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Eha, I’m glad you liked the recipe. This type of turnip is fairly new around here as well, but its getting more popular. Regular turnips can still work here, especially if you can find small and very fresh ones. 🙂


  4. Looks very yummy Ronit. We used to get fresh Hakurei turnips at an Asian store nearby. But, as we’re still doing online shopping we’ve not journeyed there. But, we are getting lovely Swedish turnips now from our online grocer. FYI, I use oven-roasted chicken wings for my stock as it’s a very cheap cut of chicken here. The hot wing craze has not caught on here yet…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ron, I’m glad you liked the soup. I think it can work with young turnips as well, especially it they’re sold with their greens.
      Interesting to learn that wings are so cheap in Sweden. It definitely makes more sense to use them for stock than here. 🙂


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