Not Exactly a Traditional Combo ~ Featuring Kohlrabi


Summer has arrived at long last, and the garden is beginning to come along. Eggplants have yet to blossom, but the tomatoes are catching up quickly.


omar’s lebanese tomato ~ July 12 ~ note the rungs on the cage, and the window…


omar’s lebanese tomato ~ July 19 ~ what a difference the sun makes!

Cucumbers are growing like crazy…

burpee’s sugar crunch cucumber ~ masses of yellow blossoms

various chili peppers are setting fruit as well…

serrano peppers growing in long-awaited sunshine

I actually planted summer squash from seed today — with only 50 days to harvest, what have I got to lose? Dear Mom reminds me often that my Papa liked to say: “best garden he ever had, he planted on the 4th of July”!

Patience is not my strong suit. While waiting for my little garden to produce,
I find myself almost daily in one store or another, searching out fresh veggies. Yesterday I found some tiny kohlrabi with gorgeous greens attached. I went googling for recipes and came to Anita’s monjji haak.

It looked so good. It looked so GREEN! I had to have it πŸ™‚

I don’t have cold-pressed mustard oil, so I used a smidge of extra-virgin olive oil (from Greece, my *flavorite* — no pun intended — I do believe the best-tasting olive oil comes from Greece. There is a little shop in Cambridge where you can go and have an olive oil tasting — but that’s another story!).

Other than that oil-sub, I followed Anita’s instructions exactly. My greens were young and tender, so I omitted the hing and special Kashmiri masala.

I was happy to be reminded of the old trick for preserving color in greens — baking soda. And what a delightful treat these greens are!!

Rather than break out the pressure cooker, I simmered the greens. I plan to take them to work tomorrow, so I drained off all the liquid to prevent further cooking.

Earlier this morning, I had mixed up a batch of ISG’s easy-breezy oats’n grits dosa. This time the batter was so thick that I think I unwittingly made uttapam.

As usual, I wanted sambhar — especially to go with the uttapam/dosai.
I decided to make some with the reserved haak broth.


Subtley-spiced Kashmiri haak and fiery sambhar?? Not exactly a traditional combo — but I eat at my desk and nobody’s watching πŸ˜‰

It hardly seems necessary to set down a recipe for sambhar, but here’s how I made it tonight.

Kohlrabi-Haak Sambhar

4-5 small kohlrabi, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced

1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp urad dal
2 tsp chana dal
2-3 dried red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves

cooking water reserved from Anita’s haak mixed with
1 TB tamarind pulp (or to taste)

1 TB ISG’s magic sambhar podi

1/2 c cooked toor dal

salt to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat oil and add mustard. When it pops, add cumin, urad and chana dals, red chillies and curry leaves. Cook for a few minutes, then add onion and cook until translucent. Add diced kholrabi and saute for a few minutes, then add the reserved haak water and tamarind. Stir well, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes over med-low heat.

Now add sambhar podi and mix well. Cover and cook an additional 10-15 minutes.

By this time the kohlrabi should be tender-crisp. Add the cooked toor dal and mix well. Simmer another 5-10 minutes. Add salt to taste, and turn off the heat.

Let cool slightly before packing for lunch. Did I mention I can’t wait for lunch?? πŸ˜‰

lunch tomorrow ~ ISG’s oats ‘n grits dosa, uttapam-style, and Anita’s shaak

and kohlrabi sambhar to go with!

A few things I want to make with kohlrabi:

Pavani’s kohlrabi greens curry!

Shivapriya’s noolkol kalan

Shilpa’s navalkola sukke (which I said I was going to make way back in 2006!)

Dear Lera’s kholrabi masala — come on back Lera, I miss you! πŸ™‚



  1. Nupur said

    I want your lunch!!! Can we swap lunches?

    If you’re cooking, Nupur — *anytime*!! I’ll be getting the best end of that deal πŸ™‚

  2. indosungod said

    The dosas/oothapam looks really good. I have not been eating oats of late. The garden is looking great and those cucumbers a delight.

    Hi, ISG! You don’t need oats where you are — you’ve got tastier treats πŸ™‚ Garden is finally beginning to look decent. I hope to have some tomatoes after all!

  3. Shankari said

    What a lovely garden! We are in the triple digits here and can’t bear the heat. You can also make a kohlrabi salad. Slice them thin with a mandolin. I slice half a green apple, salt, lime juice, pepper, and cumin powder. Try it, you will enjoy the crunchy salad.

    I just saw your lovely summer salad, Shankari! Kohlrabi salad sounds great too.
    Hope you get a little relief from the heat soon. Could use a bit more here to get the eggplants blossoming πŸ™‚

  4. Vani said

    Your summer garden sure is blossoming well, Linda. Me, I have no green fingers to speak of. Many times (especially after reading posts like yours) I think about planting something but never get to actually do it. Your lunch box looks green and healthy & the sambar yum, Linda!

    Thanks, Vani! You can grow something, surely. I never had a green thumb till I tried. I still don’t — it’s more luck than anything. I once read tomatoes are so hardy, they will grow in shredded newsprint! This, and we baby them so πŸ™‚ Give it a try — if I can do it I am sure you can!

  5. Anita said

    You ate dosa with haak?! πŸ˜€ North meets South! That is really good-looking haak!
    Isn’t kohl rabi one of the best veggies to put in sambar? I am just back from sambar country!

    Lucky you, Anita! I can only imagine the *real* sambhar you had πŸ™‚ Thanks to your haak recipe, kohlrabi sambhar is now my new fav. You should try it with the reserved haak water — it really makes a difference πŸ™‚

  6. Cynthia said

    It is exactly because it’s not a traditional combo that makes it delightful.

    Agreed, Cynthia! BTW I made your fantastic cherry cobbler. More on that later πŸ™‚

  7. Pelicano said

    That is all MOST interesting… πŸ™‚ I’m on a green kick too, Linda: planted mustard and radishes (“watermelon’) right away in spring and was able to harvest week before last! I fermented the mustard-greens and half of the radish-greens into a pickle- and froze the other half in bunches for things like sambhar…and haak. And the radishes?…those I sliced thin and pickled in a sweet-vinegar marinade. It IS a blessing to have summer here, yes indeed! So now, I’m waiting for the new seeds to sprout, and I KNOW our tomatoes will be doing well. πŸ™‚

    Hey Pel — I have tried radishes but have no luck with my clay soil. Great job using the greens, good on you! The tomatoes are growing like mad now, but still waiting on fruit. However, I am picking cukes! πŸ™‚

  8. mandira said

    nice wholesome meal Linda. Your plants seem to be doing very well. πŸ™‚ I am still waiting for my tomatoes to ripen πŸ™‚

    Hi Mandira,

    I hope you have lots of tomatoes! Summer visited very briefly, here. Now it’s another week of rain predicted…. at least some of the tomatoes have small fruit now, but nothing near big enough to ripen. Oh well, there is always August πŸ™‚

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