Noolkol / Kohlrabi kalan

dsc03889.jpgKohlrabi is more commonly known as Noolkol in Southen part of India, often seen in Asian and Indian grocery stores in US. This pale green vegetable (turnip shaped portion) looks like a green sputnik/ bulb is a member of cabbage family which taste like fresh, crunchy broccoli stems and cabbage accented by radish. Kohlrabi is a good source of vitamin C and potassium, magnesium and copper. It is low in both sodium and calories, also is high in dietary fibers and contains the dietary minerals and folic acid .Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked.

Yogurt is widely used in South Indian cuisine. Yogurt is used as a base in making spicy stews (Majjiga Pulusu), chutneys (Perugu Pachadi) and curries. Yogurt is extensively used in Kerala, Kalan is one of the classic version of Kerala Cuisine.

Kalan is also known moru curry/ thickened yogurt curry. Tradition way kalan is prepared with raw bananas and yam’s; usually made during special occasions and elaborate meals, served along with avail and other tradition dishes. Before tasting Kalan, I was thinking that it will taste similar to Avial but it didn’t. There is a difference between Kalan and Avial. Kalan is a very thick gravy curry made with particular vegetables and no tamarind is added, where as Avial is a semi-wet curry with assorted vegetables, tamarind or sour mango pieces are used in avail. Except for few common ingredients used for gravy, even thedsc03903.jpg preparation method is different. Few days back I got Noolkol and wanted to make something different than the regular version my mom makes, more over my husband did not taste Noolkol before. As I was looking around Kalan recipe caught my eye. My husband loves the combination of coconut, chillies and curd, and I was very sure that he will definitely like this. Noolkol is very plain in taste; it’s really easy to infuse flavors. Kalan gravy really worked well with this vegetable, and the end result was a clean pot sitting in the sink. For me kalan tasted more creamy, peppery and spicy, avail was more like a savory dish.

I got this recipe from South-Indian cookery book my sis gave me.


2 noolkol(peel and cube)
½ tsp black pepper corn (ground or cracked)
½ tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste

Beat 2 cups sour curd and keep aside.

For the kalan gravy
1 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
2-3 Green chillies (according to taste)
1 tsp Cumin seeds
Grind the above 3 ingredients to a fine paste and keep aside

For seasoning
2 tbsp oil (preferably coconut oil)
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp methi seeds
1 dried red chilies (broken)
Curry leaves


Cook the cut vegetables in 2-3 cups of water in a saucepan along with turmeric powder, black pepper and salt, cook till the vegetables are done and water is evaporated. Make sure the vegetables are not overcooked and mushy. It should be ‘fork tender’, the vegetable is done. Stir in the sour curd to the cooked vegetables and let it simmer until very little yogurt remains as liquid. Now add the coconut-cumin-green chili paste to the above mixture and stir. Keep it on a low heat for 3-5 minutes. Do not let it boil or burn: remove it from the stove top.

Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat, add red chilli, mustard seeds, methi seeds and curry leaves. Allow mustard seeds to sputter and remove from heat. Pour the seasoning over the curry.


Notes and Tips

You can use chilli powder instead of pepper. Let the curry sit for ½ hr or so before serving. This will help to blend the flavors.

For more varieties check out Sandeepa’s, Lakshmi’s and Swapna’s blogs.

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47 Responses to “Noolkol / Kohlrabi kalan”

  1. May 5, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Yummy P! Looks so gorgeous.I love Knol Kohl.Thanks for the recipe:)

  2. May 5, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    hey, that kohlrabi kalan looks great! good to know the diff bet’n kalan & avial :)

  3. May 7, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    I too like Kolrabi…You know I loved the way you served aloo-gobi in your last post very unique

  4. May 7, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    i love noolcol, this is very yummy here only sometimes able to find tender ones.

    the dish looks mouthwatering!

  5. 5 sia
    May 8, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    its never been my fav veg but ur pic here is tempting me to change my mind:)

  6. May 9, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    hey noolkol is in Tamil right? I never used to like the smell of it and my mom used to force it on us saying its good for health.:)
    I remembered her when i saw the pic of it.

  7. 7 CPG
    May 9, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    I made this curry today and must say…it was great,DH liked it a lot too…I love the simple presentation and great pictures…reminds me of Mahanandi…Indira`s blog :)

  8. May 9, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Hi padmaja
    nice version of noolkol.i never tried this.next time i am going to do this.

  9. May 9, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    U have always been ahead to give feed back, thanks a lot:) Give it a try when u get noolkol next time.

    Thanks Richa.

    I remember ur post on Kohlrabi. I have try ur version sometime. Thanks Sandeepa.

    Roopa, you can get good one’s in chinese and asian markets, I buy mine from korean market.

    Hey Sia ,If you love yogurt and coconut combo i’m sure you will like this curry, give it a try.

    Sharmi even in telugu we call noolkol.

    Thanks for the compliment CPG and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Lemme know how it turned out when u try swapna.

  10. May 11, 2007 at 1:47 am

    This sounds great! I bought kohlrabi for the first time a few months ago at a local market. But I wasn’t sure what to do with it! Wish I had this recipe before :-)

  11. May 11, 2007 at 2:39 am

    Beautiful photo, by the way!! :-)

  12. May 14, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    great recipe….looks so lovely….hmmmmm

  13. May 18, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Did you have the B’Day Party or is it this weekend ?

  14. December 6, 2007 at 9:41 am

    Hi Shivapriya.This is the first time I am visiting your blog.I came across your blog through a comment you left in my blog.You have just and amazing blog dear.You are recipes are just so near to my everyday cooking.You are pictures are really superb and I have bookmarked to try this noolkol kalan .I also liked apple pie recipe.You have a great blog shivapriya

  15. 15 Mamatha
    May 30, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks you for this recipe, I liked it.

  16. 16 Asha Anand
    April 2, 2009 at 5:39 am

    Hi Shivapriya,

    I was Gooling for some information, and I landed on your blog page. And got hooked to the easy and yummy recipes! The simplicity is excellent. Thanks for having this site.

    Asha (not the same as Asha of Foodie’s Hope!) :)

  17. 17 larry cress
    April 14, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    if you want the kalan or moru to taste spicier, just add finely chopped ginger and a little bit of ginger powder and it will add a pleasant heat and the taste of ginger.

  18. June 7, 2010 at 7:26 am

    looks fantastic! It was great to meet you at the farmers market.

  19. 19 sylvie
    August 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    I’m getting giant kohlrabis in my CSA box and I’d love to make your recipe. But “2 noolkol” isn’t very specific, since they can be varying sizes. Can you tell me weight or volume measure (e.g., 2 cups) how much noolkol to use for this recipe?



  20. October 19, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Sounds really yum! I think I’ll make this with my cooking class :)


  21. 21 Priya
    August 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Very very nice. Me & My father loved it. missed my mom as she is no more, for she too should have tasted this simple yet superb recipe. Will go well with rotis too. Keep up ur good work

  22. 22 spotness
    September 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. I love this recipe and I finally had some real success cooking South Indian food.

  23. February 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Hello Shiva Priya,
    i accidentally stubled upon your blog while searching for a recipe using Nookkol; Thanks a lot for the kalan recipe. I used noolkol and chow chow in preparing traditional koottu ( tamil brahmin family regular item ) This Kalan thing from Kerala is really mouth-watering. I will try it over the weekend.

    Rajan Iyer

  24. April 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    What is sour curd?

  25. April 24, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    It’s difficult to find well-informed people in this particular topic, but you seem
    like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  26. April 26, 2013 at 2:57 am

    I need to to thank you for this great read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it.
    I have you book marked to check out new things you post…

  27. May 5, 2013 at 6:24 am

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  29. 29 karen
    January 15, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Hi, I made this curry today and really liked it ..came out well !! Thanks a lot for the rescue 😉😉😉😉

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