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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlrabi)
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
- skin and chop the kohlrabi to bite-size chunks
- heat 1 tsp canola oil in a pan, add the onions, ginger and garlic and sauté a bit till onion turns translucent
- 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
- 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
- Garnish the dal with the tempering; stir well before serving