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Kohlrabi


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#1 liuzhou

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:31 AM

I've recently come across these things in the local supermarkets (local being southern China).

IMG_2723 (Large).jpg

They are labelled 芬兰球 (fēn lán qiú) which means Finland Balls. A search of Google or his Chinese counterparts reveals nothing. Even the locals are in the dark, claiming never to have seen them before. I have asked several friends.

Nothing.

They are about 4 inches in diameter and the one on the left weighs 498g.

I know someone out there is going to say "Well, obviously they are _______. Doesn't he know anything?" :smile:

Any clues in any language will be very welcome.

#2 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:45 AM

Reminds me of kohlrabi. In fact, it reminds me so much of kohlrabi that I'll put everything on that horse.

Edited by ChrisTaylor, 08 January 2013 - 01:47 AM.

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#3 rarerollingobject

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:51 AM

Yeah, kohlrabi. They also come in purple. Some people say they taste a bit like broccoli stem. I quite like them roasted, but other than that, they're pretty mild.

#4 liuzhou

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:53 AM

See. I told you! Someone will know.

They certainly look the same. Kohlrabi is not something I've really come across in its raw state before - either here or at home in the UK.

"Finland balls" must be a local dialect name. The more formal usual translation is 球苤甘蓝 or just 苤蓝 for short.

Many thanks.

Edited by liuzhou, 08 January 2013 - 01:59 AM.


#5 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:56 AM

It's something fairly readily avaliable in Australia, which I guess is why both of us--I assume--got it quickly.

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#6 liuzhou

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:02 AM

Apart from roasting, how else might I use them?

#7 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:06 AM

Check out http://www.huffingto...l#slide=1097539

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#8 Ashen

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:09 AM

it is great shredded or cut into matchsticks and used in a slaw/salad if you want a raw application.
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#9 liuzhou

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:10 AM

Thanks Chris. Nice link.

And thanks Ashen - you have given me an idea for a variation on a rare Chinese salad. China doesn't usually do raw food, but there is an exception. If it works, it will turn up in the Salads thread. (If not, you will never hear about it again!)

Edited by liuzhou, 08 January 2013 - 02:15 AM.


#10 rarerollingobject

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:12 AM

Yes, per Ashen, I've used it like celeriac to make remoulade. Also steamed and mashed with butter. And diced small and roasted with chunks of skinned sausage, silver beet, hazelnuts and shallots.

#11 liuzhou

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:03 AM

Also some nice information (and recipes) for people like me is here, courtesy of Hugh Fearnley-Whatalongname.

#12 rarerollingobject

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:14 AM

Ha! I'm pretty sure that's the exact article I got the remoulade idea from in the first place.

Speaking of raw, you could do it a little like Sichuanese cucumbers..sort of a quick pickle in garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and Sichuan pepper or some Lao Gan Ma chilli oil.

#13 liuzhou

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:12 AM

Speaking of raw, you could do it a little like Sichuanese cucumbers..sort of a quick pickle in garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and Sichuan pepper or some Lao Gan Ma chilli oil.


That sounds like an idea. Though I will probably miss on the Lao Gan Ma - it is the Heinz ketchup of southern China - so overdone here. Everything tastes the same. I'd be happy never to come across the stuff again. There are dozens of much better chilli sauces.

#14 Bojana

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:02 AM

Try them roasted together with some root veggies (carrots, parsnips, celery). And some balsamic glaze

#15 liuzhou

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:09 AM

Apart from roasting, how else might I use them?



Try them roasted together with some root veggies (carrots, parsnips, celery). And some balsamic glaze



#16 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:09 AM

Kohlrabi makes a yummy low carb "potato salad"
Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#17 Bojana

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:19 AM

hahaha, apparently I have read too quickly when I suggested roasting.

In essence, kohlrabi reminds me a lot of the root part of the european cabbage, in smell, taste and texture (ok, maybe a bit softer). You can eat it raw, add to stews, use in stir fry but my favourite remains roasting.

#18 rarerollingobject

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:36 AM

Speaking of raw, you could do it a little like Sichuanese cucumbers..sort of a quick pickle in garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and Sichuan pepper or some Lao Gan Ma chilli oil.


That sounds like an idea. Though I will probably miss on the Lao Gan Ma - it is the Heinz ketchup of southern China - so overdone here. Everything tastes the same. I'd be happy never to come across the stuff again. There are dozens of much better chilli sauces.


Well, sheesh..OK then!

#19 liuzhou

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:43 AM

Sorry, didn't mean to offend. I very much like the idea of

a little like Sichuanese cucumbers..sort of a quick pickle in garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and Sichuan pepper


and I'm sure I'll be trying it.

Edited by liuzhou, 08 January 2013 - 06:54 AM.


#20 Dejah

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:47 AM

I am quite surprised that kohlrabi is not common in your area of China. My Mom grew it from seeds we brought with us - from Toisan via Hong Kong. Perhaps it is more of a Toisan veg:-)

My Mom used to sliced it, salted and dried it for the winter - here in Canada before we had access to a Chinese grocery store.

Sliced or diced, kohlrabi makes a lovely simple soup, a nice change from the various gwa (melons, squashes, etc). It can retain some crunch... or softer - depending on how long it is cooked. It is also delicious stir-fried with meat, or in a mixed vegetable dish.
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#21 liuzhou

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:51 AM

I am quite surprised that kohlrabi is not common in your area of China.


Yes. I'm learning that it seems to be quite common in some places (perhaps more in the east), but none of my friends in Hunan / Guangxi had a clue what they were.

Just another reminder that there is no such thing as "Chinese food". A reminder that there are many "Chinese foods".

Edited by liuzhou, 08 January 2013 - 06:52 AM.


#22 huiray

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:18 AM

Perhaps it is more of a Toisan veg:-)


According to the Baidu article (Google translation) it was introduced to China in the 16th Century and appears to be grown in more places than Toisan, with named varieties as well. :-)

Liuzhou, I imagine you had already found the Baidu article earlier - note that there are a few "Chinese" recipes for the stuff at the bottom of the article.

Edited by huiray, 08 January 2013 - 08:25 AM.


#23 liuzhou

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:29 AM

Yes, I've seen the recipes, but i wanted personal recommendations from people here.

#24 huiray

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

Ah, OK. Try using it, shredded, cooked or raw as one prefers, in things like popiah [instead of the celeriac or the more traditional "sar kot"(as I knew it by; a.k.a. jicama)] or spring rolls or Vietnamese-type "summer rolls". It makes a decent substitution.

#25 Beebs

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

I cooked kohlrabi for the first time this year, when I received some in my CSA box. They make fabulous fritters. There's quite a lot of liquid in them, so squeeze the shredded kohlrabi out well.

#26 LesleyC

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:17 PM

the braised kohlrabi with garlic and parmesan on this website is a particular favourite of mine.

#27 liuzhou

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:06 AM

I finally got round to experimenting. See this post in the salad thread.

Thanks to everyone here.

#28 SobaAddict70

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:37 PM

Try shaving it (done with a vegetable peeler or sharp small kitchen knife) and serving it in a salad with young turnips and baby radishes.

Or julienned, lightly sautéed in butter or olive oil, and combined with greens, mushrooms and bacon/pancetta/lardons.

Or, if you have access to a mandoline, make a kohlrabi galette. It's an adaptation of this turnip galette from Saveur -- http://www.saveur.co.../Turnip-Galette

#29 liuzhou

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:40 PM

Try shaving it (done with a vegetable peeler or sharp small kitchen knife) and serving it in a salad


That is what I did in the salad in the previous post.

This afternoon I'm going to try a kohlrabi soup.

#30 SobaAddict70

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:03 PM

You could probably do a version of lion's head meatballs that had kohlrabi instead of water chestnuts, come to think of it.