Tuesday, December 26, 2006

kohlrabi, two ways

i remember this odd looking, 'alien vegetable' from when i was little. i also seem to remember REFUSING to eat it and fighting with my parents that it was not meant for human consumption. i thought it was disgusting and was fit for martians and therefore definitely not for me. well, things have changed over the years and i now love it.

kohlrabi, brassica oleracea, is a member of the brassica family of vegetables which includes cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. it is very healthy and mild tasting. its texture is crunchy and makes for great crudités and "diet food".

i have been making it two ways for quite some time, both of which are more on the exotic side. each preparation is truly tasty and worth trying.

spicy kohlrabi, kashmiri style

the kohlrabi slices, after cooking, are a beautiful vivid lemon colour, still crisp and altogether taste wonderfully salty, sweet and spicy. eat this cooked salad at room temperature or warm. it's really delicious, even straight from the fridge. don't be dismayed by the amount of red pepper for those who don't like "hot" foods. it is not terribly firey with this amount of flaked red pepper (1/2 tsp).


2 to 3 fist sized kohlrabi, peeled and sliced 1/8"
2 tbsp oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 - 2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 - 1 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 c water


peel the kohlrabi. cut in half and cut again in 1/8" thick slices.

measure out the salt, sugar, turmeric and red pepper flakes.

in a fry pan, heat the oil and add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. add the kohlrabi and saute it moving it constantly to coat with the oil.

add the turmeric, salt, sugar and red pepper. using a non-porous spatula or spoon [turmeric will stain wood and i have one i use for only indian food], turn the vegetable and stir fry it for about 2 minutes.

add the water and cover.

cook for 15 minutes over medium heat. remove the lid and cook until the water evaporates. you can turn the heat up to medium high to speed it up. turn the kohlrabi now and then. there should be almost no water left.

transfer to a serving dish. eat while warm or room temperature.

* * * * *

crunchy thai kohlrabi salad

this is a very nice asian salad which is absolutely addictive. try it and see for yourself — you won't regret you did.


2 large kohlrabi
1 tsp salt

4 tbsp oil
3 - 4 medium shallots (small onions)

2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 - 2 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 - 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
1/4 c peanuts

2 - 3 tbsp cilantro, chopped


peel and cut kohlrabi into 1/8" slices. stack them and cut into julienne 1/8" slices. you can use a japanese mandoline also. i can't recommend getting one of these enough. watch out though, you can lose parts of your fingers on it, it's just that sharp [comes with a safety guard]. look in asian markets for the best prices.

put the slices into a bowl and add 1 tsp salt. mix into kohlrabi and let sit 20 minutes. you will notice that liquid will be released. this will make the kohlrabi very crunchy.

in the meantime, peel the shallots and slice them finely. put oil in a frying pan and fry the shallots until they are browned and crispy. put them on a paper towel to drain and let them become more crispy.

take the kohlrabi and put it in a strainer that has small holes. rinse it quickly and drain it. squeeze out as much liquid as you can. you can also do this in a tea towel over the sink which is easier.

place this in a bowl.

take the peanuts and put them in a small pan and dry roast them on medium heat. you need to stir them so they don't burn. when they are halfway roasted, add the red chili flakes and keep stirring or moving the pan with the handle. the chilis will adhere to the peanuts because of the oils. be careful not to inhale the fumes or you will choke! put them onto a plate to cool and then crush them with the side of a knife or in a mortar and pestle. don't make paste out of them. there should be small chunks.

chop the cilantro and add all the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, reserving a tablespoon of the peanuts to garnish on top. mix and top with the remaining peanuts.



beenzzz said...

I haven't tried kohlrabi before. I wonder where I can get it around here....
I think the Kashmiri style looks really delish.

burekaboy — said...

beenzzz - i'm sure you can find it in many asian stores or middle eastern places may have it. definitely wholefoods would carry it.

the turmeric makes it a really nice yellow colour when it's finished cooking.

Pammie said...

Um, have you ever wondered perhaps you were abducted by martians and they put a kohlabi-preference computer chip switch in your brain?

burekaboy — said...

pam, you may be right. i'd be careful when the kohlrabi come k'nockin' at your door! monkey found you, next it's alien vegetables! lol. :O