Friday, January 16, 2015

Kohlrabi and Kheema

The past year has been intense in every which way. There have been some beautiful moments and some exciting new endeavors, but also a lot of sadness and loss that have threatened to overshadow everything else. And while I've been caught up in all of these things (I think they call it life), my little blog has languished in a corner. It's cheered up every now and then when I used it as a quick resource when I wanted to recreate that green tomato bhaaji or whip up a batch of maple olive oil gingersnaps for the holidays, but it's been largely ignored. So it started getting antsy and prodding me and poking me, and I've decided it's just too cherished to lie around getting dusty and faded.

And here's the perfect recipe to kick off the new year. Just familiar enough to be comforting, and with a hint of something different to make it a little exciting.

It all started a few months ago when my sister bought a peculiar, stubby, green vegetable called kohlrabi and knew she'd seen it before. Thankfully we've got aunts, cousins and a mom who are only too happy to chime in and solve life's little mysteries. Turns out, it's what I've grown up knowing as "navalkol" - a faintly turnipy, potatoey vegetable that typically got pushed to the sidelines. Jumping ahead a few months, when I spied these little green monsters last week, I thought I'd pick them up and then go directly to the source for a dish that would bring kohlrabi in as a central player on our table. I called up my grandma and announced, "I've got some navalkol - now tell me what to do with them." After her momentary bewilderment (I suppose it's not quite the conventional conversational gambit, but she should be used to it by now after the many times I've asked her ridiculous kitchen questions) she started off by asking me what I had in my fridge and my pantry, gave me a quick and dirty recipe (no measurements here) and set me on my path.

The result is a delicious kheema (ground meat curry) that looks like your regular old run of the mill curry and turns out to be something just surprising enough so you keep going back for more. 

Pick up that local kohlrabi, dice it up, and get cookin'!

Kohlrabi Kheema


2 small kohlrabi, peeled and diced
3 small onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tomatoes
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin coriander powder
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vegetable oil


Saute onions and kohlrabi pieces in vegetable oil over medium heat until the onions are caramelized. Temper with the mustard seeds, turmeric, asafoetida, and garlic. Add in tomatoes and ground beef, saute to brown the beef. Sprinkle garam masala and cumin coriander powder, stir and let cook for 5 minutes. Add in chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer until kohlrabi is fork tender. Stir in the lemon juice and serve.

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