Kohlrabi is a versatile and unique vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, which includes cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. The name “kohlrabi” is German for “cabbage turnip,” and it aptly describes the vegetable’s appearance, as it has a bulbous, turnip-like stem that grows just above the ground. Kohlrabi is known for its crisp texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor.
Here’s a culinary description of kohlrabi:
1. Flavor: Kohlrabi has a delicate and subtly sweet flavor, reminiscent of a combination of broccoli stems and cabbage. The taste is milder than traditional cabbage, making it appealing to those who may find other cruciferous vegetables too strong.
2. Texture: The texture of kohlrabi is one of its distinguishing features. The bulbous stem is crunchy and firm when raw, similar to the texture of an apple or radish. When cooked, it retains some of its crispness but becomes more tender.
3. Color: The outer skin of kohlrabi can range in color from pale green to purple, depending on the variety. The inner flesh is usually a pale cream color, regardless of the outer skin color.
4. Preparation: Kohlrabi is highly versatile and can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. When consumed raw, it can be peeled and sliced or grated into salads, adding a refreshing crunch. Cooking methods include roasting, steaming, sautéing, and boiling. The leaves, if attached, are also edible and can be cooked similarly to other leafy greens.
5. Culinary Uses: Kohlrabi can be used in a variety of dishes. Some common culinary uses include:
- Raw in salads: Shredded or julienned kohlrabi adds a crisp and refreshing element to salads.
- Snacking: Sliced kohlrabi makes for a healthy and crunchy snack, especially when paired with dips like hummus.
- Stir-fries and sautés: Cooked kohlrabi can be added to stir-fries or sautéed with other vegetables for a flavorful side dish.
- Roasting: Roasting kohlrabi enhances its natural sweetness and creates a delicious caramelized exterior.
- Soups and stews: Cubes of kohlrabi can be added to soups and stews, absorbing the flavors of the broth.
6. Pairings: Kohlrabi pairs well with various herbs and spices, such as dill, thyme, and mustard. It also complements other vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and onions.
Overall, kohlrabi is a versatile and nutritious addition to a variety of dishes, offering a unique flavor and texture that can enhance both raw and cooked preparations.