I only really discovered kohlrabi a few years–emmm, it’s a vegetable. Heh, I was confused — It only sounded like a foreign word to me. It’s a German term meaning ”cabbage turnip”. Okay, doesn’t sound great and it’s not a looker, but it taste pretty amazing! It took me ages before I actually bought one since I had absolutely no idea what to do with it. So my kohlrabi consumption staggered quite gradually….but, realizing it makes for the perfect portable snack, I am enjoying them pretty often. So much better than carrot sticks!
So what is it? Well, the name comes from the German “Kohl”meaning cabbage plus “Rübe ~ Rabi”, the Swiss German for turnip. Turnip because of its shape, and I guess cabbage, since it’s a member of that family. Not actually a root vegetable, it grows just above the ground, with its stem swelling into a ball-shaped knob with spindly leaves. Yes, it looks strange and it’s pretty difficult to describe it’s taste. Wonderfully crunchy served raw. It’s juicy, mild and sweet with the flavor that’s a bit of a mix between broccoli, cabbage, with perhaps a subtle hint of turnip (I despise turnip, so when I say this, I mean very subtle). When it is cooked, this taste transforms into surprisingly something much, much deeper.
Apparently, kohlrabi originated in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean and by AD 800, the French emperor Charlemagne ordered that it be grown in his kingdom, however only to be used as cattle feed since the royal physicians warned him that it would make his soldiers a bit daft and a whole lot more peaceful…enjoy!
1 kohlrabi, cut into thin strips
4 carrots, cut into thin strips
juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Toast sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. set aside to cool.
2. Whisk together the sesame oil, olive oil and vinegar in a medium-sized bowl. Add the kohlrabi, carrots and roasted sesame seeds and toss to coat with the dressing.
3. Add the lemon juice and cilantro and then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds before serving.