Kohlrabi is one of those funny looking knobby winter vegetables that can be rather intimidating if you've never cooked it before. Kohlrabi has a tough outer skin that needs to be peeled and inside is a crunchy vegetable that is most comparable to the stalks of broccoli only slightly sweeter. I have always loved the broccoli stalks the most when sliced for stir fries so I was delighted when I first realized that kohlrabi would give me what I liked most of all in the Cruciferous family - the crunch. It is often roasted or even boiled and mashed, but then you lose that wonderful texture that makes it so good in a stir fry. One of the natural accompaniments to all Cruciferous vegetable is ham and the best kind is the salty variety. Chinese people in America often use Virginia Ham, although I have found that Southern Country Ham is really great too. I had a small piece of Country Ham left in my freezer from my ex-husband's last visit to Tennessee and so I combined with a bit of garlic and stir fried it with a little chicken broth for added flavor. I cut both the kohlrabi and the ham into little cubes, although it would be just as good julienned into matchstick pieces. Cutting everything in the dish the same size is part of my Chinese obsessiveness about cooking. I just think it looks better and tastes better too. So, try this funny looking vegetable and I think you will love the flavor and crunch!
Stir Fried Kohlrabi and Ham
4 Kohlrabi, peeled and cut into chunks or julienned into strips
1/3 cup ham, cut into pieces the same size as the kohlrabi
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
Heat frying pan or wok and add oil until just smoking (or sizzling if you throw in a few drops of water to test). Add garlic and stir quickly until you can just start smelling the garlic fragrance. Add in ham and kohlrabi and cook until the kohlrabi just begins to brown slightly. Add in chicken broth and cook until it boils down - no more than five minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Five Element Analysis
Kohlrabi is a green stalk, even if bulbous so it is considered part of the Wood Element and chicken broth enhances the Wood. Ham belongs to the Water Element and the garlic brings in just a hint of metal. This dish is obviously a side dish and it certainly needs the addition of both a Fire food and and Earth Food to balance out the meal.