Kohlrabi Sambar


Kohlrabi is a misunderstood vegetable I think. It looks somewhat like a martian and I hear a lot of groaning when it appears at the farm share. I have consumed quite a bit of kohlabri in my day because it’s one of my mother’s favorite vegetables. My mother grew up eating it in Bangalore, many times cooked in sambar, a spicy lentil stew.  These kohlrabi that I got were kind of small so I used them all up in the sambar.


Kohlrabi is in the cabbage family so it has some similarities in flavor, but when cooked in this stew, the pieces become watery and almost melt in your mouth. One thing about kohlrabi is that you have to make sure to peel the outer-skin off completely because it is tough and fibrous (trust me because I have made this mistake!).  You can also cook the leaves, which kind of remind me of collards a bit.

In an attempt to finish off a leftover red onion, I added it to my sambar too but later when talking with my mom she told me that putting onion and kohlrabi together is like sacrilege. I guess cabbagey vegetables and onions are not to be mixed traditionally so feel free to omit (even though I know onion fried in butter is hard to say no to;)

I’ve shared this recipe for sambar before but made with potato and carrot. It’s very versatile so use it not only to cook your kohlrabi but many other vegetables like spinach, squash, string beans, cabbage, eggplant, etc.

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  • http://www.thebackyardlemontree.com/ ELizabeth

    This looks great. I’ve only ever used Kohlrabi in salads and slaws and have never cooked with it. So I’ll have to expand my horizons and give this a try.

  • http://vibrantwanderings.com/ Melissa

    I know this is an old post, but I still wanted to say thanks for the great recipe! I had never cooked kohlrabi so I was looking for ideas and gave this a try last night. Turned out great! My kohlrabi didn’t have the greens attached, but I threw in some mustard greens that needed cooking and it worked out great.

    • http://abcdsofcooking.com Chitra Agrawal

      Thanks so much Melissa and I’m happy you found it!

  • http://Facebook.com/picklecreekfarm Pickle creek

    Thanks this was delicious. I’m a farmer and wanted to try kohlrabi in an Indian recipe as I read it is popular in India. Also I love sambar, which I’ve only eaten with dosa in the past. This was excellent and I’ll be including a link in my csa newsletter.