Knol-Khol Kootu – Kohlrabi With Spiced Coconut Paste And A Giveaway!
Here Kohlrabi is cooked into a “kootu”, which is a Palakkad Iyer style of preparing certain vegetables (mostly of the gourd family) with lentils and a spicy coconut gravy.
  1. Soak the Bengal gram lentils (chana dal) in about 1/2 a cup of water for about half an hour. Drain the water and keep aside.
  2. In a small pan, roast the cumin seeds over, low heat until it gives off an aroma. Do not brown. Grind this with the green chillies and coconut with just enough water to a smooth paste. You can add the cumin seeds as they are, but roasting them gives the u201ccurryu201d a better flavour and taste. Keep this paste aside.
  3. Steam or cook the cubed kohlrabi in the microwave until done. If you donu2019t want to steam cook or microwave the kohlrabi, follow this procedure.
  4. Take a largish pan and heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the black gram lentils (urad dal) and stir fry till they turn golden. Then add the cubed kohlrabi, the drained Bengal gram lentils (chana dal), turmeric powder, curry leaves, salt and a cup of water. Bring this to a boil, turn down the heat and cook till the kohlrabi is done.
  5. If you have steam cooked or microwaved the kohlrabi like I do, then follow this procedure. As above, take a largish pan and heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the black gram lentils (urad dal) and stir fry till they turn golden.
  6. Add the cooked kohlrabi, the drained Bengal gram lentils (chana dal), turmeric powder, curry leaves, salt and sprinkle a little water. Stir everything together, and cook for a couple of minutes on medium heat.
  7. Whichever method you used to cook the kohlrabi, from here the method of cooking is the same. Add the spicy coconut paste and mix well. If the vegetable-coconut paste looks very dry, add about 1/8th (or a little more, if necessary) of a cup of water and cook for another couple of minutes till it comes together. The u201ckootuu201d should have the finished consistency of vegetable coated with a thick gravy and should not be watery.
  8. Transfer the kootu to a serving dish and add the coconut oil (if using), then cover the dish and let it sit for about 15 minutes to allow the flavour of the coconut oil to develop. Remove the lid, mix in the coconut oil and serve hot with rice, as a side dish.
Recipe Notes

Sometime back, I had mentioned that I would be doing a giveaway for my readers in India. I’m keeping that promise and here it is. Sellers Publishing have been kind enough, as always, to sent me a copy each of 500 Italian Dishes by Valentina Sforza and 500 Asian Dishes by Gillie Basan to give away to the readers of this blog.

500 Italian Dishes: The Only Compendium of Italian Dishes You’ll Ever Need by Valentina Sforza

Another book from the 500 Series, the book has all the features of books in this series including well written and simple recipes with variations on the basic recipes. The recipes are divided into various chapters which are colour coded for easy use and accompanied by beautiful photographs.

The author also includes an introduction on basic ingredients used in Italian cooking, with an emphasis on fresh and seasonal produce. She also includes instructions for preparing basic stock and fresh pasta. The recipes in this book are divided into a First Course Pasta, A First Course of Gnocchi, Risottos and Pizzas, Vegetables, A Second Course of Fish Seafood, A Second Course of Meat, Poultry Game, and Desserts.

Valentina Sforza, descended from the famous Renaissance Sforza family and an expert on Italian gastronomy, teaches at several cooking schools in London where she lives. She also a caterer, writer and consultant.

500 Asian Dishes: The Only Compendium of Asian Dishes You’ll Ever Need by Ghillie Basan

One more book from the 500 Series, with all the attractive features of books in this series. This particular book presents a wide variety of recipes from Asian countries like China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia Singapore. The book includes an introduction to the cuisines covered in the book as well as the ingredients used in them.

The book includes an introduction to the ingredients used in Asian cooking as well as sauces and dips, and recipes for soups, rice, noodles, spring rolls, meat and fish, vegetables and desserts.

The author of the book, Ghillie Basan is an internationally acclaimed cook and food writer. A Cordon Bleu Diploma holder with a degree in social anthropology, she has written over 20 books and many articles on food and travel.

If you would like a chance at winning one of these books, please leave a comment at this post telling me if you have cooked Kohlrabi before and which way you like it best. Please make sure your comment includes a link or e-mail id where I can contact you should win.

Please also include in your comment, the name of the Indian city where you would like the book to be shipped should you win. This will make picking the commenters for the random number generator easy for me. If you do not leave the name of the city in your comment, you will be ineligible for the giveaway.

This giveaway is open till the midnight of the 20th of March, 2011. Please note that this giveaway is open only to residents of India. If you do have a shipping address in India** you are most welcome to enter the giveaway. I will randomly pick two commenters who will each win one of these two books. I will announce the winners around the 24th/ 25th of this month. Good luck!