These are great favourites. They have a very distinctive taste which is enjoyed by most people even when first encountered. The turnips are traditionally coloured pink by adding sliced raw beetroot. The rich, cherry-coloured juices penetrate the white turnips, colouring them bright red ro soft pink, according to how much is used, and giving them a delicious taste.
Huge jars of these torshi adorn the streets and decorate the widows and counters of most cafes and resturants.
2 lb. small white turnips
a few celery leaves
2-4 cloves garlic
1 raw beetroot, peeled and sliced or cut into medium-sized pieces
4-5 level tablespoons salt
1-1/2 pints water
1/2 pint white wine vinegar
Choose small white turnips. Peel and wash them, and cut them in halves or quarters, depending on their size. Pack the pieces in a clean glass jar with celery leaves and garlic cloves if liked, placing pieces of raw beetroot between the layers at regular intervals.
Dissolve salt in water and stir in vinegar. Cover the vegetables with this solution and seal the jar tightly with a glass top if possible.
Store in a warm place. The turnips should mellow and be ready in about 10 days. Thentransfer the jar to a cool spot.
This pickle should be eaten within a month to six weeks of making.
A medieval recipe for lift mukbalal muballa (turnips in vinegar, sweetened) from al-Bahgdadi gives directions for turnips pickled in vinegar, sweetened with honey, perfumed with aromatic herbs and tinted with saffron.
Lebanese saying: 'Her face is whiter than the inside of a trunip.'
Recipe taken from A Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden published by Thomas Nelson in 1968 and in Penguin Books 1970. Picture taken from Tast of Israel a Mediterranean Feast by Avi Ganor and Ron Maiberg published by Prion