This week I posted a picture of kohlrabi, known as “kouloumbra” in Cyprus, on my facebook page and asked people to guess what it was. Save for my mom liking the photo (love moms) the person who guessed it correctly was a German friend! Which led me to wonder: how many people outside of Cyprus know about “kouloumbra”? I know it’s popular in Germany and Eastern Europe. But I didn’t know of it while I was in North America. Or in England. It looks like an overgrown turnip. It looks alien. It’s crunchy, juicy, and slightly sweet. It is a great source of vitamin C. In fact, it is an even better source of vitamin C than oranges. Tasty, healthy and a great snack food. In Cyprus, kohlrabi is something that is traditionally eaten raw, sliced and with lemon. Usually as a starter to a meal. It is delicious and addictive. So trying to think of other ways to enjoy it this week was a bit counter-intuitive. But definitely possible. Facts: 1. The root tastes a little bit like the stem of a broccoli and a white cabbage combined. 2. Did you know that you can also eat the green leaves? 3. I decided to make a salad with a different dressing. I think the neat thing about this salad, is that it doesn’t actually have to be served as a salad. Take a typical Cypriot meal. At the start you might have some raw carrots, “kouloumbra” and other vegetables. This dressing is pretty tasty and versatile, so you can make it and simply drizzle it on top of the vegetables that have been sliced. Or just have it to the side so people can use a spoon to drizzle some over top their vegetables if they wish.
1.5 kohlrabi bulb sliced into thin pieces (remember you can also cut into large pieces and drizzle the dressing on top)
1 carrot sliced into thin pieces (remember you can also cut into large pieces and drizzle the dressing on top)
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tsp salt to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 small garlic clove
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1. Slice your kohlrabi and carrot. I sliced my very thinly to eat as a salad as the kohlrabi is quite hard, but you can also choose to have large slices and drizzle the dressing over top and eat with your hands as a snack.
2. Make the dressing. Lightly toast the fennel seeds on a warm pan over the stove. Take off and let cool.
4. Add the fennel seeds to the dressing. You can also crush the fennel with a mortar and pestle, or the back of a spoon. I preferred to keep the seeds whole.
5. Crush 1 small garlic clove. Add it to the dressing and stir. Then remove it. You don’t want the garlic overpowering the taste…unless you love garlic. Then you could keep it in.
6. Add the olive oil and sesame oil, stirring the dressing to mix it together. Taste and add more salt if you wish.