Jeff’s grandmother used to grow kohlrabi in her garden. I wish she were still alive so she could tell me how she used it.
Somehow in the last two generations this odd-looking vegetable has gotten lost. After buying a few at the farmers market Saturday, I scoured my cookbooks and the internet looking for recipes. Have you ever seen these odd looking orbs at a grocery store? They’re just as hard to find online. It’s not that they taste bad. I sliced off a sliver and tasted it — sweet and mild, with a favor a bit like a broccoli stem, but crisp like an apple. Kohlrabi are members of the turnip family. They’re used mostly in salads. Some people steam them. Stir-fried, they were great.
If you find small kohrabi — less than three inches in diameter — don’t worry about peeling them. Larger kohlrabi can be peeled using a paring knife.
I’ll definitely make this recipe from Food & Wine again. Kohlrabi’s crisp texture takes center stage. The chili oil give it kick and the basil rounds it out.
Stir-Fried Kohlrabi with Rice Noodles and Basil
8 cups water
10 ounces dried rice noodles (about 1/3 inch wide)
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili oil
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 pound kohlrabipeeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mung bean sprouts
2 scallions, sliced on the diagonal
1 cup chopped basil
Bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the rice noodles and let soak until the noodles are tender, about 7 minutes. Drain well.
In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, white wine, sugar and chili oil.
In a large skillet or a wok with a handle, heat the oil. Add the kohlrabi and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 3 minutes. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the red pepper and garlic and stir-fry until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs; stir-fry until just set, about 30 seconds.
Add the rice noodles, bean sprouts, scallions, basil and the soy sauce mixture. Cook over moderately low heat, tossing gently, until the noodles are heated through and coated with sauce, about 1 minute. Transfer the noodles to plates or bowls and serve at once.