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KCCK - A New Veggie in my Kitchen

Posted May 14 2009 5:01pm
Well, I didn't quite mean to keep you in suspense, but I did feel rather mischievous when I typed out the title to this post. The vegetable in question is kohlrabi. I've so often passed this root veggie in the market place and hesitated to burden myself with its weight whenever I shopped for the other basic requirements like onions and tomatoes and other regular ingredients, merely because it would be something new to me and I was unsure how it would turn out.

But lately a lot ofveryfresh vegetables have made their way almost to my doorstep (my complaints of living in the outskirts of the city are no longer valid, it appears; new shops and roadside markets are mushrooming around me with amazing rapidity, much to my pleasure) and I simply couldn't put off this adventure any longer.

Kohlrabies are beautifully rotund and have a flavor very close to that of cabbages, but I feel they are a bit more pleasantly sweet and therefore can be enjoyed raw too. There is more flesh to them and they tend to be more fibrous, especially towards the root end. If the leaves are fresh, they can be eaten too, I believe. The first time I bought these, the leaves were really fresh, but I made the mistake of asking the vendor if the leaves too were edible; he smirked at me and told me no and cut them off. I later scrolled about it in the internet and regretfully learned that the leaves too can be consumed. I should've just brought the whole thing home just as it was.

Nutrition-wise, kohlrabi is said to be a good source of thiamin, folate, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. It is an especially good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. It is also a very low-calorie vegetable.

Well, onto thekurmaI made of it -- KCCK, an amalgamation of kohlrabi, carrot and capsicum. I could've just called the dish kohlrabi kurma, but somehow calling it Kohlrabi Carrot Capsicum Kurma gave it an Bollywood-like abbreviating spice to it, and I just couldn't resist.

This is how I did it:

Preparing the veggies:I used just one large kohlrabi. I cut away the spiky leaves and removed the outer fibrous skin. Since the vegetable tends to be fibrous, it would be best to skin it well until you are left with a pale green ball. It is not that difficult but if you need to visualize it, clickherefor a step-by-step video I found on about.com.

Once skinned, I diced the vegetable longitudinally to form pieces of about 1 inch by half inch. I also peeled and diced one carrot similarly. I chopped up one capsicum to pieces of a similar dimension.

I sliced one half of a large onion to form thin slivers. I kept this aside separately.

Making the masala:For the masala, I roughly chopped up the following:
  • the other half of the onion
  • an inch of ginger
  • about four cloves of garlic
I also soaked a piece of tamarind in warm water and about four to five Kashmiri red chillies. Green chillies may be used instead but I didn't have them at the time so I improvized (as I usually do).

I ground all of the above with half a cup of grated fresh coconut.

Putting it all together:In a kadhai, I heated a spoon of oil and added the onion slivers, frying till translucent. I added the diced veggies and stirred them a bit. I then added some water, just covering them. Requisite salt and a pinch of turmeric were sprinkled into this and the veggies were allowed to simmer till almost cooked.

I then added the masala and stirred well. I allowed this to simmer for at least ten minutes as the raw taste of garlic and onions need to mellow down and blend well into the dish.

Once done, I switched off the stove. For garnish, I heated a spoon of oil in my seasoning pan. I added mustard seeds and allowed them to splutter. I then added broken bits of red chillies and a few curry leaves, frying till crisp. I then sprinkled a pinch of asafoetida powder (hing) and turned off the stove. I added this to the kurma.

We had this hot with chapattis. It can be had with dosas and idlis and rice too with minor modifications in consistency and spiciness.
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