So we tried Kohlrabi today – I had not an effing clue what it is but hey-ho, it’s in the book as seasonal this time of year. Didn’t stop the woman at the market charging me £2 for 4 of them, and they’re so tiny! Usually the market means wonderfully cheap prices but I realised that just because the produce is seasonal, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be cheap.
But I digress. The point is I had to do the usual google search to find out the general flavour profile and cooking method for this new root vegetable I’d bought (I had the green type, not the purple) and the internet tells me kohlrabi is similar to a turnip or swede when it comes to how you should treat it. In terms of flavour, well hoorah hoorah it goes well with sage (which is a nice hardy winter herb I had plenty of).
Interjecting point here: this is the wonderful thing about buying seasonal. Generally you can purchase some new produce that you know nothing about, without worrying about what else to buy with it, because if you’ve already been buying seasonally, this new thing is almost guaranteed to mesh well with everything you now have in your fridge and store cupboard.
N.B. My “store cupboard” is simply the bottom drawer of my kitchen cabinet; because I’m a broke Millennial renting a basement flat, and do not have the luxury of a spacious kitchen with plenty of designated pantry space.
So, I decided on a delicious sounding sage and garlic steamed kohlrabi dish (to which I added brussels sprouts because I thought the flavour would pair nicely, which it absolutely did).
Unfortunately, as I embarked upon this recipe I hit a few snags.
Firstly, the recipe I was following told me the kohlrabi would take between 8-10 minutes to steam (along with about 3-4 minutes frying afterwards to get rid of excess water). Actually, I would recommend about 20-25 minutes if, like me, you cannot be arsed to cut the vegetable into tiny, exactly equal cubes, and you just tend to hack away until you have a collection of various-sized chunks.
Secondly, I fried the sprouts for about 5 minutes before I added the kohlrabi, because I‘m not a home cook who has the patience to think everything through. I just do things as I go, which means I prepped and started cooking the sprouts before I’d even got the kohlrabi out of the bag. So at the end, the sprouts were a little overcooked. In fairness, I enjoyed the texture they then brought to the dish so 😏.
Thirdly, once the kohlrabi was out of the bag, I realised I do not know how to prep it at all. Another quick google told me the skin is a bit tough and can be bitter so yes, peel it. Once I start peeling, however, it appears the pale green outside skin is not that different in colour or texture to the inside, so as I peeled I did wonder whether I was cutting away too much of the flesh.
Anyway, then I moved onto my frantic hacking and finally tipped the kohlrabi into the pan with the sprouts (I’d already fried sage leaves and garlic in there too), poured a little water on top and steamed it all for 20 minutes or so.
So, the final dish came together well, because to the kohlrabi/sprouts mix I added roasted swede, then topped the whole thing with a poached egg and some chopped pistachios (and a little blue cheese for the boyf). It was very good, the kohlrabi tasted like a light version of a swede or turnip. The texture is a little different though – more akin to a green apple, and it acts similar to a green apple when cooked; retaining its structural integrity quite well. I didn’t really like it when I crunched on a particularly large piece of uncooked kohlrabi, but that’s on me for my terrible dicing.
I’m going to try the rest of the kohlrabi I bought in a curry recipe I found. I’m a little apprehensive because I found the flavour very delicate so I’m unsure about its ability to handle bold spices, but apparently kohlrabi is commonly used in Indian cooking so we’ll see if I can pull it off. 😬