If you’ve ever been at the farmers market or sifting through your latest CSA delivery and stumbled upon a purple or green vegetable that looks like it might have fallen off the back of a UFO…that was probably a kohlrabi.
A member of the Brassica family of vegetables, kohlrabis have the same subtly sweet, crunchy flavor and texture as their cousins broccoli and cabbage, but grow like tubers, in much the same manner as turnips or potatoes. In fact, the word kohlrabi (which, yes, does sound like something one would call an alien life form) comes from the combination of the German words for cabbage (kohl) and turnip (rube). While kohlrabis absolutely must be peeled before eating, once you break through their thick outer skin, the sky is the limit as to how you can consume them: raw in slaws or salads, steamed and pureed into creamy mashes, roasted, or sautéed.
Kohlrabi is a staple in Kashmiri cuisine, so it is often found paired with Indian spices and flavors. In this curry, its subtle sweetness is accented by juicy pops of fresh corn, summer-ripe tomatoes, a dash of garam masala, and a sprinkling of minced chilis. Big tofu cubes are added in for protein and to soak up some of that delicious curry flavor.
This meal comes together within 30 minutes, making it a great option for weeknight eating. I served it over rice, but you can eat it with your favorite grain or on its own.
Bonus: You no longer have to run away screaming when you see kohlrabi at the market anymore!
The sweet flavor of kohlrabi is brought out in this curry, where it is paired with fresh summer tomatoes, sweet corn, and tofu.
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 4 tablespoons + 1/2 cup water, divided
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 6 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
- 1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 (12-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, jalapeno, vinegar, 4 tablespoons of water and soy sauce. Set aside.
- In a large wok over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds to the pan and cook until they start to pop, about 30 seconds. Pour in the ginger-garlic mixture and heat through, about a minute. Stir in the tomatoes and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes are softened, 5-6 minutes.
- Add the corn, kohlrabi, tofu, 1/2 cup of water, salt and black pepper to the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes.
- Stir in the garam masala and cook, uncovered, for another 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Serve over rice, quinoa, barley or your favorite grain.
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey