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Monday, November 26, 2007

Kohlrabi dal


Kohlrabi gets used about 6-8 times a year in my kitchen, when I feel the urge to have some, which is rare... My mom used to make sambar, koottu, even a dry poduthuval with it when I was little.

The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rabi ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter. Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth; its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts: They are all bred from, and are the same species as, the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).
-- Wikipedia (

There are quite a few ways to cook it - I've tried them in soups with turnips and parsnips and other winter vegetables, grated and added to parathas (just like stuffed mooli paratha), steamed, sautéed and so on. I happen to like them best in sambar and dal.


They don't have a strong flavor of their own, but, just like cabbage or broccoli, they do have a subtle smell and taste that takes well to other spices and flavorings.

Dal ('dhaal') is a staple Indian dish made with lentils or grams. It is usually mild, served as a side with rice or Indian flatbreads like roti/naan/paratha. My preferred gram for making dal dishes is yellow skinned and split moong beans. They cook up fast and have a full-bodied flavor, plus are quite nutritious.

This kohlrabi dal can be served as a soup - simply adjust water to get desired soup consistency. Also, any other herbs handy can be added - like fresh fennel leaves, or even mint.

This Kohlrabi Dal recipe goes out to Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by the gracious and resourceful Kalyn herself.

1-2 medium kohlrabi
1½ cups yellow split moong dal
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 Serrano chilies, chopped finely
4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
water as needed
salt to taste
1 tsp canola oil
some cilantro for garnish (optional)

Tempering: 1 tsp canola oil, 4-5 curry leaves (optional), 1 tsp urad dal, 1 tsp mustard seeds

  1. skin and chop the kohlrabi to bite-size chunks
  2. heat 1 tsp canola oil in a pan, add the onions, ginger and garlic and sauté a bit till onion turns translucent
  3. add the chilies, kohlrabi and dry moong dal, about 3 cups of water, some salt, cover and simmer on medium low heat till kohrabi and moong dal are cooked through
  4. Tempering: heat oil in a pan, when it shimmers, add the urad dal, when it turns golden brown, add the mustard seeds, and when thye pop, add the curry leaves and remove from heat
  5. Garnish the dal with the tempering; stir well before serving

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  • At 5:14 PM, Blogger Kalyn said…

    When I was a kid my parents used to grow this vegetable. We would all love to eat the bulb part raw. Now I hardly ever see it. I wish I could taste it the way you are cooking it, looks delicious.

  • At 7:43 PM, Blogger Siri said…

    This dal is kind a new to me..:)) Thanks for the recipe..!

    ~ Siri

  • At 11:46 PM, Blogger RAKS KITCHEN said…

    pictures are beautiful!!
    My mother used to make this..but here in singapore I cant even see a single :O

  • At 4:06 AM, Blogger Latha Narasimhan said…

    We do buy this often! It is called noolkol locally. The tenderones are very good. I have added this in my sambhars and avial. If we cook with little hing the smell goes off! Nice recipe ! :)

  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger Laurie Constantino said…

    Very interesting -- I've only eaten kohlrabi shredded and raw in salad. Your version looks quite delicious in the picture.

  • At 4:19 AM, Blogger Susan from Food Blogga said…

    This is a fantastic WHB entry! I usually eat kolrabi grated in salad and slaws, so I appreciate having a warm, savory recipe like this one. Thanks!

  • At 5:24 AM, Blogger Helene said…

    My family loves kohlrabi, and so I´m always on the look out for something new. Thanks for your dal recipe.:)

  • At 6:09 AM, Blogger Rodosee said…

    I've always loved the look of this cute vegetable; but I wasn't too keen on the way most folks in my family (from Bengal; all very accomplished cooks for the most part) served it in my childhood -- a mishmash with potatoes, cooking the shredded kohlrabi as though it were just a baby cabbage, and drowning it in garam masala.

    I find your recipe preserves the delicate flavour much better. Thanks so much for a dish as delightful as the kohlrabi looks! This one's a staple in our home these days, and after a decade's drought, I'm happy to buy kohlrabi again because it WON'T be consigned to a messy pile of mash!


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