A new and fun vegetable in our CSA box this week - kohlrabi! I know this veggie but never buy it since I didn't know what to do with it other than stir-frying it like broccoli stems. We received two medium-small, tender kohlrabi bulbs this week and I figured that this would be a good chance to find out all about them.
The overwhelming net-census on the best way to enjoy them was eating them raw in salads/slaws. I saved the smaller bulb for future use in a colourful salad that I have envisioned using some of our other gorgeous Zephyr Organics produce. The larger bulb I decided to use with some of the organic zucchini we've been receiving to make a kind of pakora or fritter.
Fritters are a great covert way to introduce a lot of vegetable to your child's diet. I know they can be a little on the fatty side, but you could always fry them with minimal oil in a non-stick pan if you were concerned about the amount of fat in your child's diet.
I don't think these are technically pakoras since I used some egg in the batter and I think pakoras are usually just besan (chickpea) flour and water. They are not as crisp as ones made with just flour and water but I wanted the fluffiness that you get with added egg. I find the softer, fluffy fritters are easier for my kids to eat than the crispy ones (more like a doughnut and less like a chip).
The method is pretty simple. Grate or finely chop the vegetables you want to use (onions, peppers, spinach, zucchini, etc) and squeeze out as much excess water as you can for the wet vegetables, like my kohlrabi and zucchini. I like to grate half of my veggies finely and the other half coarsely. That way my finished fritter has some recognizable vegetable bits but most of the veggies are hidden from a child's prying eyes and fingers.
You could be really diligent and squeeze out the water using a cheesecloth or dishtowel, but I just squeeze the grated stuff with my hands over a colander in the sink. If I feel I've been really unsuccessful getting all the water out, I just make my batter a little thicker to compensate. The batter is made with besan (chickpea flour), an egg, spices (coriander, cumin, green cardamom, turmeric - today), salt and water. Usually, I start with a little less flour than the volume of my veggies and mix it with my liquid until I get a thick paste.
Stir in your vegetables. (Notice that my mixture looks pretty thick right now... don't worry... the water I couldn't squeeze out will soon thin the batter down to a sloppy pancake batter consistency).
Heat up a good bit of oil to deep fry (if you want them pakora style) or a little oil in a skillet if you want to press them a little flatter and fry them like a pancake (fritter style). In my case, these were pakora style and I just dropped the batter into the hot oil in big forkfuls.
Fry them until they are golden and cooked through, flipping once. If you find they are getting too brown for your liking, either lower the heat or reduce the size of your fritters so that they will get a chance to cook through before overly browning. Remove them to a draining rack or paper towel-covered plate with a slotted spoon.
Enjoy them warm - crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and oh-so-good with some chutney!
Kohlrabi and Zucchini Pakora-style Fritters Yield: 16-20 medium sized fritters
(measurements are totally approximate, depending on the amount of veggie you end up with)
1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and grated
1 medium yellow zucchini, grated
2 small green zucchini, grated
1-1/4 cups besan (chickpea flour)
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1/4 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 green cardamom pod, seeds removed and ground
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
water, to thin batter
Prepare, grate and squeeze excess moisture from kohlrabi and zucchini. Set aside.
Combine all remaining ingredients to make the batter. Fold in the vegetables. Add water as needed until the batter is thick pancake or muffin batter consistency.
Drop by the spoonful into hot oil and fry until golden, flipping once.
Drain over a rack or paper towels and enjoy.
p.s. As a sidebar, we enjoyed our pakoras with a tomato and yogurt based chicken curry. Check out the mise en place for the curry ---->
So colourful and fresh looking! No wonder I love making curries and the Indian ones are the best for richness and depth of ingredients :)
p.p.s. Love that tomato season is starting. I cannot stand tomatoes from the grocery store, so bland and sour. These ones were super meaty and sweet. Also managed to use one of the Anaheim chilis we received in our CSA box last week. Perfect for adding a little heat (but not too much for the kiddies).