Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You guessed it right! - Kohlrabi/Knol Kohl/ Navalkol

You guessed it right, Guys. It is indeed Knol Kohl or Kohlrabi. It is called Navalkol in Marathi. Continuing the discussion on the origin of words, we can again see on this example how a foreign word like 'Knol Kohl' was changed to fit into the local language, and became 'Navalkol'. From the comments to my quiz, I can see that the names for this veggie in other Indian languages are similar (Navila Kosu-Kannada, Nool Kol-Tamil).

As for this vegetable, I have seen that it is not very popular in India (at least in Maharashtra) because it has a strong smell, which many find obnoxious. I remember, I used to be one of the very few ones in my class in school, who used to bring this vegetable for the packed lunch, in their 'dabba'. Having said that, I must mention that it is a popular and much-loved vegetable here in Germany. No wonder then that one of its names, Kohlrabi, happens to be German. (Actually, I feel that the roots of the name Knol Kohl are also German. Knollenkohl, maybe. What do my German-speaking readers think?) However, an interesting fact is that the 'Kohlrabi Capital of the World' is in Michigan, US. Read here more about it.

Well, anyway, what I made with it is a simple Maharashtrian preparation. Navalkolchi Bhaji.


Navalkolchi Bhaji served here with wholewheat chapatis

Recipe for Navalkolchi Bhaji

Serves 3-4 as a side dish.


3 medium sized Kohlrabi
¼ cup Chana Dal
½ tsp chilli powder
a pinch turmeric powder
2 tsp jaggery (optional)

1 tsp oil
½ tsp cumin seeds

chopped coriander leaves for garnishing


From left to right: Chana dal, whole peeled Kohlrabi (above) and diced Kohlrabi (below), Kohlrabi peels


1. Wash the Chana Dal and soak it in ¼ cup water for about half an hour.
2. Peel the Kohlrabi until all the fibre is gone and you have only the smooth flesh. The fibre neither cooks well nor does it taste good. If the Kohlrabi is fresh and tender, then it won't need much peeling. Please refer to the earlier photgraph for this.
3. Dice the Kohlrabi in bite-sized pieces. Pressure-cook the pieces until soft. Roughly, they take the same time to cook as lentils.


Clockwise from top: coriander leaves, cooked Kohlrabi dices, soaked Chana dal

4. Heat oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
5. Add the soaked Chana dal with the water, turmeric powder and the cooked Kohlrabi and steam-cook it for a couple of minutes.
6. Then add the chilli powder, salt and jaggery. Let the Bhaji simmer on low heat for about five minutes.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve warm with chapatis/phulkas or rice and dal.

1. Cabbage can be cooked in the same way. Only that it does not require pressure-cooking. It can be added raw with the soaked Chana dal.

Enjoy this vegetable and wish you a Happy Longest Day!

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Vineela said...

Hi Vaishali,
Yummy curry .Mom makes this and i like to eat with hot rice.

Neelu said...

I have to look if i get it here....and wht r u serving it with ? Is that bhakri or chapati ?

BDSN said...

Wow your pic looks great..cant wait to read the recipe..

lastbeanburrito said...

looks great. i love fresh kohlrabi.

genny said...

ooh yum - this things starts out quite ugly and ends up gorgeous!

Neelu said...

Hey Vaishali
My husband hates bell pepper curry :( So i dont make it. Mein akeli kitna khaungi ?
I m planning to stuff it with potato and bake it in oven till dark brown, Planning for a samosa like filling inside them....It will need a bit of hardwork so postponing it :)
Thanks for the links

Nandita said...

You;ve been tagged dear friend-but fret not-this one is fast to write and good to read:

nav said...


That look's yummy.. Looking forward for the recipe :)


Sumitha said...

Hey Vaish Happy longest day to you too!

Nila said...

Nice one Vaishali. Out of curiosity, Is it taste or texture of kohlrabi somewhat resembles the Bottle gourd?

BDSN said...

Hey I dont see this vegetable much in the US.This is indeed very much a simple recipe..I usually do cabbage curry curry similarly..
Well Happy Summer to u!!

madhu said...

Hi Vaishali,
After seeing very delicious recipe of kohlrabi i am very tempted to taste it. Unfortunately its not available where i live.
Back home we make raith out with this by grating this with redonion and adding tadka. try it.

Manisha said...

Vaishali, navalkol was/is very popular in Bombay. I forget the exact season when it was available but it was not available all year long. It was made as a side with chanyachi dal (no rassa) or added to dalichi amti.

Shankari said...

we use kohlrabi in south indian cooking. My mom used to add this in Mor Kozhambu (kadi type )then just as side dish too. I grate the kohlrabi and add salt,pepper and little bit of yogurt and eat it..yummy during the hot summer

Puspha said...

I've never seen it in Malaysia but I c lots of them here in Switzerland.

Yes, Vaish, the name is actually German. Knollen as for the shape. Kohl is also a typical German word. I wonder wat rabi means. hehehe

shammi said...

heehee... knollenkohl? :) Sounds perfectly German, actually. Maybe kohlrabi is a German-Hebrew word ;)

Sowjanya said...

Thats a delicious bhaji. :-)

Krithika said...

That's one looks really delicious !

Vaishali said...

Vineela, I have always eaten it with chapatis/phulkas. Will try pairing it with rice next time.

Neelu, hope you find it where you live.

Thanks for stopping by, BDSN and lastbeanburrito.

Genny, it does, doesn't it?

Neelu, looking forward to your post on stuffed bell peppers.

Thanks, Nandita. You must have seen my post by now.

Thanks for stopping by, Nav.

I did have a rather happy day, Sumitha. Despite the fact that I had an appointment at the dentist's. :)

Nila, Kohlrabi does not resemble bottle gourd in any which way. Does my picture give you that feeling?

BDSN, we too cook cabbage like this. In fact, I have mentioned it in my notes.

Manisha, I too don't remember when exactly it is available in India.

Shankari, your kind of raita sound interesting. Must give it a try.

Pushpa, re: Knollenkohl, I too thought so.

Shammi, wait until the Germans beat England in the World Cup finals. Then I'll see what you've got to say about them and their language. *wicked grin*

Welcome to my blog, Sowjanya.

Thanks, Krithika.

Siri said...

This is one of the rare vegetables that i hate! But not because of its odour, its more to do with the vein like things which are present inside the flesh of this vegetable which become more pronounced with time.

Nandan said...

Hi Vaishali, thanks for answering my question abt Kobichee bhaji and chanaa daal. Navalkol, as you've mentioned was not my favorite, too but I'd tolerate it as 'buffer' between two fav. sabzis. :)

Ilaiy said...

That looks really good .. Shall try it soon ..


Anonymous said...

Had no clue we had this in India. Now I can buy them and try your recipe. I love to try new stuff like this.Thanks Vaishali.

Vaishali said...

Siri, if Kohlrabi is peeled to remove those fibres, only the coconut-like flesh, which remains inside is quite enjoyable. Hey, but I am not trying to convince you to become a Kohlrabi lover. Don't like forcing things on anybody. :)

Nandan, 'buffer' between two favourite sabzis? Funny. You could try out the cabbage version of it, though.

Welcome to my blog, Ilaiy. Please keep visiting. :)

LG, I, too, love trying out new vegetables. It makes the whole affair of cooking so much more exciting.

lastbeanburrito said...

i found some kohlrabi at our local farmer's market so i'm going to try your recipe. can't wait to see how it comes out.

Vaishali said...

Hi LBB, did it turn out well then? Do let me know.

lastbeanburrito said...

Hi. It came out great. The kohlrabi was tender. But I forgot to garnish with coriander. Next time.

Vaishali said...

Thank you so much for the feedback, LBB. And yeah, don't forget the coriander next time. :)

Anonymous said...

I had this vegetable, and didn't know how it is supposed to be cooked.
I tried your way, and it came out great. Thanks for posting this recipe

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