Weird and wonderful kohlrabi!

13 Dec 2018

Slightly odd looking and not very common on British menus, kohlrabi is a vegetable you are unlikely to come across around here unless it appears in your vegbox or farmer's market. It a member of the brassica family with a delicate taste, not unlike a cabbage heart or broccoli stem (if you throw away your broccoli stems, think again!) and comes in purple or green varieties. It's common vegetable in many other parts of Europe, and very popular in Germany and Austrian cooking. So what to do with it?

If you don't fancy making a 'feature' meal out of it, simply add to soups, casseroles or bakes along with other vegetables. Or better even, eat raw, shredded into a slaw or salad (kohlrabis have more vitamin C than oranges!) Otherwise, it likes spices and bit of honey, butter or cream. It combines particularly well with carrot, raw or cooked, and will caramelise like root veg if baked or fried.

First time around I just added my kohlrabi to a vegetable tray bake as below and it was nice enough (note to self: always peel kohlrabi as the skin can be quite tough!) but now that the funny looking bulbs have appeared in my veg box again, I though I'd look around for some other ideas!

See my favourites below and check out yet more ideas from River Cottage here and from Yotam Ottolenghi here.

 

Spiced vegetable bake

Peel and cut kohlrabi (and/or other root veg) into wedges or slices. Crush a handful of garlic cloves.

Toss in olive oil ( I like adding lemon juice here too) then add a generous scattering of ground spices (for example a mix of cumin, coriander, fennel, chilli flakes, smoked paprika - if you have whole spices toast them before grinding for extra flavour) and combine so everything gets well coated.

Place in a roasting tin, scatter some oregano, thyme or rosemary and place in a hot oven (200C) for about 40 minutes stirring twice so nothing burns.

Serve spinkled with a handful of parsley, crumbled feta cheese, or with a dollop of soured cream, on its own or as a side.

 

Kohlrabi fritters

Grate kohlrabi and carrot, press in a tea towel to remove moisture.

Combine with egg, a bit of flour or breadcrumbs and seasoning (try a bit of cumin or cayenne pepper), perhaps add some finely chopped fresh herbs.

Heat some oil in a pan, form small patties (smaller will hold better) and fry in the pan until browned and crisp on the outside (if the mixture is too crumbly to hold the shape add another egg and/or more flour).

Serve with a salad and/or a dollop our thick yoghurt or soured cream.

Recipe inspiration from here (I love the avocado-yoghurt idea for the sauce!)

TIP: For a vegan option use this simple egg replacer to help hold the mix together: add a bit of boiling water to 2 tablespoons of milled linseed (just to cover), let it stand for a few minutes until it swells into a gel-like consistency (add a bit more water if it's too dry to swell properly, a little at a time as you don't want it watery).

You can make similar fritters with many kinds of veg really, from potatoes to courgettes - pick and mix what you have to had.

 

Rahmkohlrabi (aka kohlrabi with cream, a classic German/Austrian dish):

Peel and cube the kohlrabi (reserve the tender leaves from the top).

TIP: Add cubed carrot or sliced leek for variety, and to bulk up the dish if you are feeding more mouths.

Add a small chopped onion, sauté in butter until lightly coloured.

Season, then add a spoonful of flour or corn flour, some stock and a small spoonful of honey and simmer until veg have softened and the sauce has thickened (15-20 mins).

Finish with cream, nutmeg and a handful of parsley, adjust seasoning, bring back the boil briefly before serving.

Great as a side, as a creamy sauce for pasta or served simply with boiled potatoes.

Full recipes (available in German only) here and here.

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