I’m going to start here by telling you that curry is probably my very favourite food in the whole world. I love all different types of curry, and I like it hot. My Dad grew up in India, and my Mom and Dad spent the first of their married years there, learning to cook the foods that our family would be raised with. In Canada, Mom would have dinner parties where she served a beef curry from a recipe inside her head. As a young child, it was my job to fill and set out all the small side dishes to accompany and season the feast- fancy bowls and small plates filled with walnuts, coconut, raisins, pineapple, sliced bananas, chutneys, and more. I loved the ritual of getting out the small fancy dishes, cleaning them, filling and setting them out on the beautiful table. As the table was filled with more and more serving platters, my excitement grew and my mouth would start watering in anticipation of the great food and partying to come.
Mom made her own curry powder and sadly she never wrote down her recipes, so I have never known how to replicate her recipes as an adult and I still miss Mom’s beef curry. Over the years I learned to be satisfied with other curries, and then I became vegan and faced another learning curve as I tried to get used to curries without the taste and texture of meat. I love them but I have always felt something was missing.
Well, the kohlrabi in this curry, cut in large chunks, gave it a “toothsome” feel that filled that gap quite nicely. It didn’t have the texture of meat but for some reason it is still quite satisfying. I loved Marg’s recipe and now that I am more familiar with it, kohlrabi will appear in my curries more often.
Kohlrabi comes in green and purple varieties and the whole plant– leaves and bulb- is edible raw or cooked. To me, when raw it tasted a bit like the stem of cauliflower. When cooked, it stayed firm and was mild tasting, complementing the curry sauce well. With the bigger plants, especially, you need to be sure to peel it properly as it gets a woody outer layer. It looks a bit like a forest growing on its own little planet. Kohlrabi is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Folate, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. It contains many antioxidants as well as phytochemicals called isothiocyanates, which may have protective benefits against certain kinds of cancer, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Marg adapted the recipe from Cook’s Hideout. It is quite mild, but you can spice it up to the heat level that you like.
3 whole kohlrabi, diced along with the greens
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 green chilies or other hot peppers, chopped
1 Tbsp tandoori paste
1 tsp (or to taste) sweetener (we used brown rice syrup)
1 tsp. red chili powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
salt – to taste
– Microwave or steam chopped kohlrabi (bulb) for 5 minutes or until tender.
– Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add the mustard and cumin seeds and after they pop, saute onions till translucent.
– Add tomatoes and green chilies; cover and cook till tender.
– Add kohlrabi along with the greens, red chili powder, tandoori paste, sweetener, salt and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or till the gravy thickens.