There's an exciting world of unusual vegetables to explore. If you find yourself always gravitating towards the usual staples — broccoli, zucchini, carrots, peas and spinach — read on!
Kohlrabi (Cabbage Turnip)
Kohlrabi can be found in many grocery stores. They resemble turnips, and are generally sold with their green tops. The greens are also edible. Look for small heavy bulbs without blemishes or soft spots, with fresh green tops. Kohlrabi can be white, pale green or purple on the outside. They are generally crisp white on the inside. They are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. They contribute the pungent and astringent tastes, and are excellent for pacifying Kapha.
Kohlrabi resembles the texture of a potato when cooked. They have a tough skin that needs to be peeled off, and are quite firm and need some muscle to actually cut into pieces. However, once you manage to dice them into bite-sized pieces, they make a sumptuous vegetable side dish. Sauté the pieces in olive oil or ghee with Organic Vata Churna and cook, covered, until fork-friendly. Do not overcook. You can also boil them until tender and mash them like mashed potatoes with ghee, salt and pepper. You can add cooked, diced kohlrabi to dhal soups or vegetable stews. Kohlrabi has a peppery flavor, and combines well with carrots or peas.
Loki (Lauki, White Gourd)
Loki is a crook-necked squash shaped like an eggplant and grown widely in Asia. It has a pale green exterior, and is a fresh white inside. It is highly recommended, according to ayurveda, and helps all body types, especially Pitta. It'is supposed to be good for the liver. You can usually find loki at Indian or Asian grocery stores. Loki can be substituted for zucchini in many recipes.
Loki can be peeled and grated and cooked into a sweet pudding with milk, sugar and nuts, just as you would make rice pudding.
This is another member of the cabbage family, with a pungent-astringent flavor, generally a bruised purple or green. Choose young fresh Brussels sprouts for the best flavor. Brussels sprouts that have been over-boiled and cooked whole are not so appetizing, but if you buy fresh Brussels sprouts, not frozen, slice them in half and sauté them with ghee and Kapha-balancing zesty spices, it is a completely different taste and texture experience. They are excellent for balancing Kapha and good for balancing Pitta.
Fennel root is another vegetable that is quite uncommon. It is very sweet, just like the seeds, and bursting with a fresh licorice flavor. It is considered good for digestion, and is a tri-doshic vegetable. Try sautéing sliced fennel with ghee and a little cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Cook until tender but do not overcook it. It should have a slightly crunchy texture when done. Fennel bulbs also taste excellent baked or grilled.
Cucumbers are primarily used raw in salads, but they can also be cooked for a different taste and texture.
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