Ingredient SpotLight

The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet. Except for the Gigante cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do fall-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the Gigante cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality.

Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked. It is one of the most commonly eaten vegetables in Kashmir. Locally called Monj, the vegetable is eaten along with the leaves (haakh). Every Kashmiri household will have this on their dinner/lunch plate 3 to 4 times a week. While I don't expect that to become the case for you, here a couple great recipes that can help introduce it into your home. Enjoy.

Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw

  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste - go easy here
  • Fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled, grated or cut into thin strips
  • 2 apples, peeled, grated or cut into batons (try to keep equivalent volumes of kohlrabi:apple)

Whisk the cream into light pillows - this takes a minute or so, no need to get out a mixer. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 cups
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Kohlrabi and Squash Empanadas

  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 medium kohlrabies, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 large summer squash, cut into small cubes
  • 2 large scallions, both white and green parts, finely cut
  • 1 radish, minced (optional)
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 box of pre-made pie crust or one batch homemade
  • 1 egg

In a medium skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger to brown. Add the kohlrabi cubes, a pinch of salt and some pepper. Toss well and cook 3 or 4 minutes until the kohlrabi are softening a bit. Add the squash cubes and continue to cook for 4 more minutes. Add the scallions, radish, nutmeg and another pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for one minute before removing from the heat. Set the mixture aside to cool.

Roll out the dough to be a little thinner than pie crust typically is. If you are using pre-made crust from the store, run your rolling pin over it once or twice. Using a cereal bowl or large circular cookie cutter, cut out 6 inch-ish circles from the dough. It should yield about 15, give or take depending on your cutter and dough thickness.

Pre-heat the oven to 425F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Prepare an egg wash by beating an egg with a teaspoon of water and set aside along with a small bowl of water.

To make the empanadas, spoon one tablespoon of the kohlrabi and squash mixture into the center of a circle of dough. (It’s better to have less filling than too much or the empanadas won’t hold together. Feel out the right ratio that allows you to close off the dough without any filling popping out.) Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the outside edge of the dough. Fold dough over the filling to create a half circle. Press down the edges. Carefully pick up the dough pocket and pinch the edges to seal them tightly. A fork can also be used to crimp the edges if you want a less tedious method.

Repeat above process to finish all of the empanadas, laying them on the lined cookie sheet when they are done. With a fork, prick the tops once and brush them with the egg wash. Bake for 8 minutes and turn over. Bake another 5 to 7 minutes until deep golden brown and flaky. Best served straight from the oven.

  • Yields: About 15 empanadas
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour