It looks like an alien from outer space. All the more reason to invite it into the kitchen! Kohlrabi, a favorite in Indian cuisine (especially in the North), is yet another member of the cabbage family (like kale and broccoli) but has a delicate sweetness all its own. Its flesh is firm and yields a soft crunch when raw (my preferred way of eating it) which cooks up tender like a turnip. The leaves are also edible; cook ‘em the way you would any hardy green (sautéed in olive oil and garlic is never a bad idea).
Below, I gave a Middle Eastern twist to a popular Thai salad, som tom. But instead of green papaya, I used kohlrabi and cabbage (optional). If you leave out the cabbage, sub in two more of its space alien cousins.
Tahini Thai Salad
2 large shallots, minced
½ (or less) of a long red chili pepper, minced
~1/3 cup rice vinegar
lemon juice from half a lemon
4 Tbs tahini paste
2 Tbs peanut oil
1 kohlrabi, purple or green, peeled and sliced into ¼ wide sticks about 2 inches long
1 baseball size cabbage, halved and slice thin
6 radishes, halved and sliced thin
½ cup roasted cashews, chopped fine
Put shallots and pepper in deep bowl. Pour vinegar and lemon juice over (enough to cover) and set aside for at least 30 minutes. (This will mellow out the sharpness of these ingredients and infuse their flavor more evenly throughout the dish.) Mix in tahini and peanut oil. Stir thoroughly. Add kohlrabi, cabbage if using and radishes. Toss. Serve garnished with cashews.
picture by Petr Kratochvil via Dreamstime