Kohlrabi and lentil stew (Kootu) – Cooking on a Shoestring Budget

Bookmark and Share

Austin, Texas prides itself for being a weird city. In fact, the residents even host an annual event called “Keep Austin Weird”. It is a vibrant city, filled with an exotic, eclectic crowd of people. It is a fun city, because there are lots of things to do. Whether you are the stay-at-home mom, lugging around 2 toddlers or the high flyin’ corporate executive used to having power lunches, or the keep-it-cool, meditative kind who is in eternal search of nirvana, you’ll always find people to hang out with in Austin. The sheer cultural diversity, the fun crowd, the vast open Texas spaces, the hills and plains, the beautiful brush, the cacti, the deer, the throbbing city life, the green farmlands, the farmer’s markets – there is always something for everyone in Austin.

You guessed what is in it for me: the wonderful sights, sounds, colors, aroma, the life and the fun of checking out the Saturday Farmer’s markets! The opportunity to chat with the local farmers, check out their wares, admire their new recipes, buy their products and support them… all of it makes for a fantastic start of the weekend.

Last weekend, I attended the Sunset Valley Farmer’s market. The site mentions that this Farmer’s market has been voted at one of the top 5 markets in the US by Eating Well magazine. I believe that may well be true, because when I spoke with the Market Director, Salila Travers and her husband Jim Moore, I realized how particular she was with what was served at the market and how careful she was about reviewing all the produce and prepared food that was served at the market. The market was well-run, large, thriving and bursting with shoppers and vendors. Everywhere around me were people – people with dogs, people with children, and people with dogs and children. Most people sampled the vast array of international food, bought locally grown fresh vegetables, sat around listening to the music and generally had a fun morning in the bright Texas sunshine.

I too, bought stuff. I bought a loaf of organic bread made with spelt flour, seeds and nuts. Then I went to the stalls I love the most – the vegetable stalls. There were many farmers who brought their harvest: fresh greens, roots and tubers, milk, yogurt and meats. I bought a bunch of fresh Kohlrabi and made this very easy to make Kolhrabi and lentil stew with it. It goes very well served hot over brown rice.

Here is what you need:
1 bunch fresh Kohlrabi (cut the leaves and set aside for another dish)
1/2 cup yellow tuvar dal (lentils)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

For the masala:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh grated coconut
4 dry red chili
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1  cumin seeds
For the garnish:
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds 1 pinch Asofoetida powder
1 stalk fresh curry leaves

Here is how you make this:

Wash, peel and cut the Kohlrabi into small cubes. Place in a pan with sufficient water, sprinkle turmeric powder and bring to a boil. Boil until the Kohlrabi is partially cooked and crunchy. Remove from the stove and set aside.

In another pan, boil the lentils until soft and cooked. Mash with a spoon. Add the boiled Kohlrabi to the boiled lentils. Add salt and simmer.

In a non-stick pan, heat the oil to fry the masala. Add the ingredients in this order: first the cumin seeds and the coriander seeds. Fry for a minute until brown. Now add the dry red chili and fry until roasted. Now add the grated coconut and fry until brown. Remove from the pan, cool, and place in a blender with sufficient water to blend to a smooth paste.

Add the masala paste to the Kohlrabi and lentil stew. Simmer.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan for the garnish. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Wait until they crackle. Now add the asofoetida powder, cumin seeds and the washed and dried curry leaves. Fry until the leaves are crisp. Pour over the stew.

Serve hot with brown rice.

Kohlrabi: $1.99
Lentils: $0.80
Oil : $0.50
Spices: $0.70 (including grated coconut and curry leaves)
Total : $2.99

Makes 6 servings.

Cost per serving: $0.50

No Comments

Comments are closed.

RSS feed for comments on this post.