On the eve of Sukkot, I was invited with two other members of the Nomads Kitchen to serve a holiday meal at the “Tish” festival for Jewish food held at the POLIN Museum- the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Although roasted kohlrabi is not a Jewish dish, I felt it was the right dish for this occasion. Sukkot teaches us how to get out of our comfort zone, how to expand our boundaries to new areas – and that’s exactly what I wanted to do: take a vegetable that the festival participants are familiar with, and present it to them in a completely different way. I chose kohlrabi both because the theme of the festival was “earth”, and also because kohlrabi is one of the most common vegetables in Poland. The Poles use kohlrabi mainly for soup – a huge mistake in my opinion – and most of them do not know how exciting it is once it meets a hot and smoky oven.
Do not be alarmed by the smoking process – it is short and does not require special equipment, just a large bowl, a bunch of dried herbs and an open window. The kohlrabi is roasted in the oven, and the smoking is just to add another layer of flavor to it. It is very easy to dry the herbs yourself – just tie with a string and hang upside down in a ventilated place, until the leaves are dry and crisp to the touch. You can use any combination of herbs according to your taste, I like to use thyme, oregano and rosemary, which dry better than parsley or coriander.
I like to serve roasted kohlrabi with shanklish – dried labneh. You can get it in Arab markets or make it yourself at home according to the recipe in the link.
Ingredients for Roasted Kohlrabi
- 5 Kohlrabi peeled
- ½ cup olive oil
- Atlantic sea salt
- 1 bunch herbs Dried, leaves and stems, of any variety you like
- olive oil to drizzle
- oregano leaves fresh, chopped
- 2 teaspoons Sumac
- Shanklish (Available in Middle Eastern markets or prepared by yourself - link to the recipe above)
1. Heat an oven to 390F (200C) degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Brush kohlrabi with olive oil, sprinkle some Atlantic sea salt on top and place on a baking sheet.
3. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the kohlrabi browns on top. Turn them over and continue for another 20 minutes, until they are nicely browned on all sides. Set aside to cool.
4. Place dried herbs in a large heatproof bowl and light them on fire. Place a net on the bowl, arrange the roasted kohlrabi on it and cover the entire bowl with plastic wrap; The fire will die down and the herbs will smoke. Leave the bowl covered for 15 minutes.
5. Slice the roasted and smoked kohlrabi into thin slices with a knife or mandoline and arrange on a serving plate. Drizzle olive oil over the kohlrabi slices and sprinkle with chopped oregano leaves, sumac, and shanklish.