Cooking For One: The Kohlrabi Dilemma
DISH: Steamed Vegetables in Curry Sauce
TYPE: Working with What You Have
MAIN INGREDIENTS: Kohlrabi
Sometimes, when I’m in the mood to feel pampered, I’ll take my mother up on her offer to get me some farmers’ market vegetables when she’s out shopping for her own. Though this is a luxury, it also come with some risks. Recently, when I requested “cucumbers, tomatoes, and some greens,” I received cucumbers, tomatoes, and a bunch of kohlrabi, three purplish bulbs with long leafy stems. I had been expecting kale, Swiss chard, or arugula, so I’ll admit I was a little taken back by these strange items.
Googling brought up the fact that kohlrabi is often eaten in Kashmir, and that made me think of curry. I think in India, it’s eaten almost like a relish, with whole mustard seeds, but I went down an American path, making the kind of curry sauce that might coat poached chicken in a gourmet deli’s chicken salad. It’s an enticing and unusual way to serve an unusual vegetable, but if the veggies in your bag are a bit less odd, it’s a good way to dress them too.
From my kitchen, where no vegetable is left untamed, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
1/2 small white cabbage
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion
1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon curry powder
Separate the kohlrabi stems from the bulbs. With a paring knife, peel the bulbs, then cut them into 1/4-inch slices. Trim the greens from the stems and wash them well. Cut the cabbage into rough squares, about 1 1/2-inches wide.
Bring an inch or two of water to boil in a large pot. If you have a steamer, arrange the kohlrabi bulb slices on it and set it in the pot. If you don’t, just throw the slices in, and either way, put the lid on. Steam for about 5 minutes, then add the cabbage and the kohlrabi greens. Let the greens wilt and the cabbage become tender, about 5-8 more minutes, then remove from the pot and drain if you weren’t using a steamer. Set aside.
Meanwhile, make the curry sauce: Saute the onion in olive oil until translucent, then add the curry powder, a pinch of salt, and the cayenne. Let cook for a moment, until fragrant, then stir in the yogurt and a few teaspoons of water to thin and smooth. Keep the mixture simmering over medium-low heat until slightly reduced, then taste for salt and pour over the waiting vegetables, tossing to coat. Serve at room temperature or cold.