Friday, October 22, 2010

Not-Quite Nostalgia: Kohlrabi Curry

As I get older, and more busy, I feel like there's a lot I've forgotten.  Some days it's all I can do to keep track of the lunches and the dinners and the laundry and the work I have to do outside of the house: I hate to think about the last time I read a book cover to cover, a habit I used to luxuriate in.  It's hard to remember the things that made me, well ... me ... a long time ago.  And yet, every once in a while, there's something that reminds me of a snippet of time I thought I'd lost forever: the smell of a particular convenience store calls to mind the newspapers and candy in "Maxine's," down the street ... the smell and feel of sawdust reminds me of shopping at Packard's with my mother, for extravagant groceries ... the feel of fresh fall air reminds me of apple picking with my father and his high school students, in their huge cars, out of place in the apple fields ... the sound of rustling corn stalks reminds me of the weeks before Halloween at Van Riper's farm, where we'd get our pumpkins and cider donuts, watching them roll off the elaborate fryer's conveyer belt, our noses pressed against the glass in wonder.  It's moments like these that it occurs to me how much the memories I'm helping my son to make really matter.

Along with the mountain of greens, there were some oddities in our CSA box this week: hakurei turnips, and kohlrabi.  I remember my father growing kohlrabi in our backyard garden, watching the funny bulbs bulge out, the look on my mother's face when he'd pick them and bring a pile of them into the kitchen.  I'm not sure what made him decide to grow such an unusual vegetable, but I also remember the way my mother cooked it: boiled, and pureed, with butter, chicken broth and inevitably burned onions.  The smell in our kitchen would last for days, mostly because of the onion.  It was sort of like an alternative to mashed potatoes, I guess: put enough salt and fat on anything, and it tastes like ... well ... salt and fat.

But since I'm determined to make our veggies into main courses, the “cabbage turnip” (the word kohlrabi comes from the German), I wasn't about to boil and puree them.  Another website I consulted said that they're commonly eaten in Indian cuisine, and she made a curry.   I liked that idea, because it meant I could also use a tomato.  And while the cooking itself didn't produce nostalgia (my mother would never in a million years have made us curry), I couldn't help but think about my father, and his garden, and how much he loved the harvest.  I hope that, years hence, my son remembers loving the harvest, too.

 Kohlrabi Curry

1 kohlrabi, diced
2 tsp olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp minced garlic, divided
1/2 cup water, divided
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 onion
1 tomato
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the kohlrabi with 1 tsp of the olive oil and 1 Tbsp of the minced garlic. Spread evenly on a baking sheet.  Bake about 20 minutes.

Dice the onion and tomatoes. In a medium sauce pan, heat the other tsp olive oil and 1/4 cup of the water. Add in the mustard and cumin seeds.

When the seeds begin to sputter, add in the onion and saute until tender. Then, add in the tomato and cook just until tender. Add in the roasted kohlrabi, along with the lemon juice, curry powder, chili powder, salt, and other half of the garlic and water. Cook on low 8-10 minutes or until the water cooks down. Serve over quinoa, rice, or whatever else suits your fancy.

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3 comments:

  1. That looks delicious. I may have to seek out some kohlrabi!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That smells good even over here.

    ReplyDelete

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