Crunchy Kohlrabi Salad
Kohlrabi, which is also known as German turnip, is a member of the cabbage family. The name comes from Kohl which is German for cabbage, and Rübe which is Swiss-German for turnip. It tastes a bit like a cabbage heart or broccoli stem, but sweeter and milder. The young stem can be as juicy and crisp as an apple. You can eat it cooked or raw, and popular species include Gigante, White Vienna, Grand Duke, White Danube, Purple Danube, and Purple Vienna. The pale yellow inside can be eaten, as well as the leafy greens. The skin color (either yellow, white or purple) makes no difference to the flavor.
Kohlrabi is one of the most common vegeteables in Kashmir, where it is known locally as monj and eaten along with its leaves. In Kashmir, the household will eat kohlrabi with lunch or dinner several times a week, and it might be spiced or served plain. This vegetable is also used a lot in India, especially in the south of the country. It grows pretty much anywhere so try growing your own in the garden.
This crunchy, refreshing salad is made with matchstick-cut garden vegetables, namely kohlrabi, carrot and bell pepper, and it also features sesame oil and fennel seed, which give the salad a really special flavor. If you do not want to use fennel seeds, or cannot find them, then use ½ teaspoon of ground fennel instead. Serve this alongside chicken, fish or any other kind of meat, as a flavorful side dish.
- 2 kohlrabi bulbs
- 1 peeled carrot
- ½ red bell pepper
- 2 handfuls salad leaves, to serve
- Parsley sprigs, for garnish
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- ½ minced red chili (optional)
- Peel the kohlrabi and cut the stems off.
- Use a mandoline or sharp knife to julienne it (cut it into matchstick shapes).
- Julienne the carrot and bell pepper too.
- Toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan over a moderate heat until they are slightly browned, then grind them into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle.
- Combine the ground fennel with salt, pepper, vinegar, garlic and a minced chili if you want to use one.
- Whisk in the 2 oils.
- Pour this dressing over the vegetables, tossing well to coat.
- Check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
- Divide the salad leaves between 4 plates and top with the kohlrabi salad.
- Garnish with fresh parsley.
Some salads are soft in texture but this one has plenty of bite to it. If you enjoy the texture of coleslaw, you should also enjoy this kohlrabi salad. It is unusual, especially with the sesame fennel dressing, and that just adds to its unique charm and appeal. Serve this as an appetizer or as a side dish, and you can bet that people will not be able to guess what is in the dressing. This salad has an exotic flavor and it also looks fresh and colorful, as you can see from the photo. If you want to make an unusual side dish, this kohlrabi salad might be perfect for you.
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