I keep seeing this weird bulb in Chinatown but no one could tell me what it was. I asked the vendor and all I got was a OneDOLLAH! So I asked my dependable Chinese friend, Shao, and she said her mother calls it choi tao but she wasn’t sure what Americans call them. A visit at Telepan answered my question. Our friend’s chicken dish came with cauliflower and kohlrabi. I’ve never heard of kohlrabi before so when I got home, I Googled it and lo and behold, it was that Sputnik bulb!
The name comes from two German words that mean cabbage and turnip but its flesh is like the stem of a broccoli. You peel off the tough outer layers and cut the flesh in an angle to get slices like that of an apple. Shao’s mom uses two bulbs to include it in a pork and vegetable stir-fry. I found an old zucchini recipe that I thought would work with the tender flesh of a kohlrabi.
1 kohlrabi, peeled, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed, sliced
1 tsp cumin, grounded
1 tsp fennel seeds, grounded
1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
1 red chili
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt, pepper, olive oil
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Toast bay leaf until fragrant and remove. SautÃ© garlic. Add kohlrabi and spices. Set aside some of the ground spices for garnishing. Cook until soft, stirring constantly, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Serve in ramekins and sprinkle with a little lemon juice and remaining ground spices.