This raw Kohlrabi "Noodle" Salad is a lovely balance of intense flavors like Sichuan peppercorns, fresh ginger, nori and lime juice with crunchy kohlrabi.
Kohlrabi is fairly unknown in the US, an oversight that needs to be remedied asap in my opinion.
At the Westfield, NJ CSA, the kohlrabis were always in the for-trade bin because no one really knew what to to with them. I would be torn between educating people about it and letting them go their merry way with ever more kale while I swept all the kohlrabi into my bag with a very grinch like grin.
Because let me tell you, kohlrabi deserves a spot in the Veggie Hall of Fame! It belongs to the cabbage family and has a sweet, crisp turnip-y taste. Kohlrabi can be eaten cooked or raw, both are equally delicious. I love it on a crudités plate with homemade hummus or simply sprinkled with some flaky sea salt as a fresh, crunchy snack.
If I’m making a bit more of an effort, this raw Kohlrabi “Noodle” Salad, an Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage recipe from their Flavor cookbook that has become a personal favorite of mine. In true Ottolenghi & Belfrage fashion they’ve elevated a humble root vegetable to heights of delicacy by adding Sichuan peppercorns, fresh ginger, nori, lime juice and all kinds of delectable ingredients.
I rarely saw kohlrabi at supermarkets in the US, so farmers’ markets or a well stocked Whole Foods are your best bet. You can substitute daikon radish easily and well. But do keep an eye out for kohlrabi and give it a try if you can find it!
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
The salad can discolour and get a bit soggy if left standing around, so it’s best to toss it together just before serving.
2 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp black sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp poppy seeds, toasted
1 tsp dried kombu or nori powder – blitz a sheet in a spice grinder or food processor (I used nori furikake seasoning)
1½ tsp aleppo chilli flakes (or ¾ tsp regular chilli flakes)
½ tsp Sichuan peppercorns, finely crushed
1 tbsp roasted and salted peanuts, roughly chopped
Flaked sea salt
3-4 medium kohlrabi, trimmed and peeled (1,25 lb/570g)
3 tbsp lime juice
2 cm-piece (0,7 coz, 20 g) fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
6 spring onions, finely chopped
60ml sunflower oil
Put the first seven ingredients in a small bowl with half a teaspoon of flaked sea salt.
Slice the kohlrabi as thinly as possible – use a mandoline, ideally. Stack the slices on top of each other in manageable piles and cut into 2cm-wide strips to resemble very short tagliatelle. Transfer to a bowl with the lime juice and a teaspoon of flaked sea salt, toss and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the ginger and three-quarters of a teaspoon of flaked sea salt in a mortar and pound to a paste. Transfer to a small bowl with the vinegar and two-thirds of the spring onion. Heat the oil in a small pan on a medium heat until warm, then pour over the ginger and spring onion, and leave to steep for 20 minutes.
Drain the kohlrabi to get rid of the liquid that’s collected at the bottom of the bowl, then toss with the oil and ginger mixture. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle over the mixed seeds and nuts, and finish with the remaining spring onion.
Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage from FLAVOUR, Ebury Press, 2020