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Upon reaching the farmer’s market last week, I was greeted by an alien life form.

(I can’t wait to see what kind of google search hits THAT statement yields.)

This was strange on many accounts.  But mainly because they normally only present themselves to me within the confines of Weill Cornell Medical College lecture halls.  They call themselves “medical students”.  But I know what they really are.

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(Before we delve any further into the workings of my inner psyche, I should tell you about medical student syndrome.  A condition that frequently afflicts individuals such as myself, who, try as though they might to deny it, actually are going to be physicians someday, it presents as a form of hypochondriasis in which the student in question becomes convinced that he is experiencing the symptoms of the disease he is studying.

We are studying psychology right now.  And yes, I am pretty sure that aliens are speaking to me.  Controlling my mind.  

They may even, in fact, be fraternizing with the zucchini.  I wouldn’t put it past them.  Sneaky bastards.)    

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Anyway.  The alien life form at the farmer’s market looked quite different from those I normally encounter in that it was little and green and had an uncanny resemblance to the squeeze toy aliens from Toy Story.  Except that rather than being squishy and adorable, it was hard and, with it’s antenna-like protuberances, most certainly not huggable.

It went by the name of kohlrabi.  (Worst disguise ever.)

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And before I knew it, it had entered my subconscious, coerced me into putting it into my little eco-friendly reusable bag and just about pushed me towards the check-out line.  There was no time to argue or even defend myself.

When I finally came out of the trance that it had put me in, I was shocked and appalled to see it on my kitchen table.  I mean.  What was I supposed to do with it?

When in doubt, make curry.  Words to live by.

Or maybe that’s just the aliens talking.  Either way, this was a very tasty and well-balanced meal.  The spice from the curry was subdued slightly by the coconut milk and the starchiness of the kohlrabi.  And the fresh bright flavor of the cilantro-infused rice complimented everything very nicely.

Maybe listening to the aliens isn’t such a bad idea after all…

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Coconut Curried Tofu, Eggplant, and Kohlrabi with Green Jasmine Rice
Serves 4, adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook

1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 3/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
1 cup (packed) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup unsweetened, light coconut milk
4 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp lime juice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 block extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, patted dry, and cubed
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 eggplant, diced into cubes
1 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into cubes

1. Preheat the oven to 400.  Place the eggplant and kohlrabi cubes onto a greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and cooking spray.  Cook for 45 minutes or until kohlrabi is soft.  Alternatively, next time I would boil the kohlrabi.  I think it would cook faster and more evenly.

2. Stir shredded coconut in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat for five minutes or until lightly golden.  Transfer to a bowl.

3. Bring 1 3/4 cups water and 1 tsp salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan.  Stir in the rice and bring back to a boil.  Cover and simmer, lowering the heat, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 18 minutes.

4. Puree cilantro, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1 tsp ginger, lime juice, and half of garlic in a blender or food processor. Mix into rice.  Set aside.

5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Add tofu.  Stir fry until golden, about six minutes. Add onions, curry, cumin, red pepper, remaining ginger, and remaining garlic.  Stir fry 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes, remaining coconut milk, eggplant, and kohlrabi.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let simmer for 2-3 minutes so that flavors can mesh.

6. Divide rice among four plates.  Top with tofu mixture.

I am submitting this to Two For Tuesdays and also to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging due to its extensive use of cilantro, which is being hosted by the lovely and wonderful Janet of Tastespace!

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You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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82 Responses to Coconut Curried Tofu, Eggplant, and Kohlrabi with Green Jasmine Rice

  1. A fantastic vegetarian dish! I have never heard of kohlrabi before but now I’m really interested to see what those little buggers look like.

  2. My friend gave me a kohlrabi last year from her CSA and asked me to guess what it was – I had no idea and in all honestly, I eneded up doing NOTHING with it! Ashamed. Sigh.

    This looks beautiful and to make curry are words to live by for sure!

    Another great post, thanks for sharing the story and the food! LOVE IT ALL!

  3. sra says:

    What I dislike about kohlrabi is peeling it! After that, it’s as tasteless as others of its ilk 😀 It’s nice shredded and stir-fried with some salt, turmeric and Indian tempering.

  4. Raina says:

    You are too funny! That dish is definitely out of this world..lol I have never tried to cook with kohlrabi. I like how you always think out of the box.

    Funny about the hypochondriac symptoms. I always seem to develop the signs and symptoms of a disease or illness I am reading about:)

  5. Oh Boy! Anything with cilantro and coconut sounds irresistible. I had never heard of kohlrabi! That is a funny name!! and I should definitely try these weird kohlrabis…

  6. Giovanna says:

    I hate to say it, but once I bought a kohlrabi at the store and completely forgot about it and it rotted without putting anything to his name. I think I was suppose to use it in a muffin but never got to the recipe : (

    Sad isn’t it, to waste a good little alien like I did : )

  7. Simply Life says:

    ha, I wouldn’t even know where to begin – nice work! The aliens have some good ideas 🙂

  8. Shannon says:

    i keep thinking about getting it, but hasn’t happenned yet… how did it taste??

  9. You know what my mom makes with Kohlrabi? Sambhar– A south indian lentil + veggie runny soup..Love the fact that you have made something exotic with that veggie. A plateful of love is what this is. 🙂

  10. Biren says:

    I did a stir-fry with the kohlrabi I recently purchased. It was pretty good. Your curry and rice looks really appetizing!

  11. elra says:

    What a coincidence Joanne, I just made Indonesian style tofu curry :), I never put kohlrabi in my curry, sounds like a good idea.

  12. What a great use of kohlrabi! And, this sounds like a great curry. I love all these ingredients.

  13. “When in doubt, make curry.” So so true. My bf will confirm that I do live by those words. But for some reason I didn’t apply that mantra to kohlrabi when I first encountered it a few years ago. It ended up going into a surprisingly tasty slaw, but curry would’ve been much much better I’m certain.

  14. Kristen says:

    The coconut tofu sounds fantastic. I am a closet tofu eater. None of my family will allow it within a 15 foot radius of our home.

  15. Ameena says:

    I bet if I was in medical school I would absolutely be convinced I was going to die of 100 different things. I don’t know how you do it!

    Some green jasmine rice would really hit the spot right now. It looks delicious!

  16. Rachana says:

    What a flavourful and delicious rice-curry combo!

  17. Stella says:

    The aliens! The aliens! Hmm, I always wonder if they do exist and go to places like Nome, Alaska and do freaky shiznat to people. It seems so unlikely, but I never like to discount any idea too much. I mean, we’re here & that’s weird, no?
    Anyway, at least you can eat your new alien friends instead of them eating you. And in delicious curry no less (smile)…

  18. Ashlee says:

    This looks so delicious! I have been wanting to try kohlrabi, this might give me a push to do it.

  19. Mary says:

    While that mouthful is not easy to say it certainly tastes delicious. I admire your creativity. I hope the day treats you well. Blessings…Mary

  20. Wonderful tofu dish that just works. Great flavor profile and love the Jasmine rice!

  21. girlichef says:

    Oh, Love it! Another tofu dish I NEEEED to try! I’ve only ever eaten kohlrabi raw & salted…must remedy that situation. thanks for sharing this w/ t4t, too =)

  22. totally never knew what kohlrabi WAS!!!?!?!

    i love your recipes and experiments. keep ’em coming.

    totally tagged you for the versatile blogger award. 🙂

  23. Thats a yummy platter…esp the rice looks so yum with very tempting pics…

  24. Hannah says:

    Pretty much anything green looks delicious to me, so I’m all over that rice especially! It all sounds like an awesome combination of flavors and textures together, too.

  25. Mo Diva says:

    this cracked me up! i totally want to go with you to the farmers market. I speak alien. we can totally work it out.

    Joanne, i think we should cook together… yeah, i just decided we totally must.

  26. Pam says:

    You always make me smile…

    I must say, I am not a fan of tofu (texture or something), but these photos and this recipe is actually making me crave it. I have no idea what kohlrabi is but I’ll be on the lookout for it now.

  27. Nelly says:

    I just got a kohlrabi a couple weeks ago! It was part of an attempt to eat more veggies and not stick to just lettuce and broccoli. Maybe I just got a bad one or it might have been the way I cooked it (boiling until tenderish and then stirfrying), but it had all these weird little inedible hard fibrous bits throughout it. Did you have that issue at all?

    That said, this looks pretty delish! I might just have to get over previous experience and make it. As for kohlrabi not being huggable, despite their cuteness…I just say you can hug anything, if you try hard enough 🙂

  28. janet says:

    I know all about that medical student syndrome. It is the worst during your psych block.. hypomania anyone? 😉

    Thanks for submitting this tasty dish to WHB! 🙂

  29. Sophie says:

    Hello Joanne!

    What a beautiful dish this surely is!! I so much love all of the different flavours you have beautifully combined in here!!

    This dish ROCKS!!!

  30. Love the coconut here and the green jasmine rice sounds so delicious!

  31. Satya says:

    wow what a yummy spread ….love the rice ..yummy

    Satya
    http://www.superyummyrecipes.com

  32. Radhika says:

    Lol at your rendezvous with Aliens. But they have lured you to cook such a fabulous meal with my favorite ingredients.

  33. RamblingTart says:

    I love kohlrabi, Joanne, but have never cooked with it!! I don’t know why – I just love it so raw, sweet and crunchy. 🙂 But I will have to try it!!

  34. Katerina says:

    I can believe you pass through the phase “I have the desease I am studying”. Imagine I had the same syndrome when I was watching Dr. House. So I stopped because everytime I watched the sequel, I thought that my days were limited. I have never heard of kohlrabi but I love the herbs and spices you used in this dish. Unusual as always.

  35. I’ve committed this rice recipe to memory so I can make a giant pot of it asap. Oh, and the aliens only control my mind about dessert 🙂

  36. Cristie says:

    Your discription of kohlrabi really does it justice! My first experience with that vegetable was in my first year of marriage when it was growing in my father in law’s garden. It scared me to death. Your dish looks and sounds like it would taste delicious.

  37. joanne this recipe looks gorgeous! you have the most wonderful palate! when can i come over to dinner??? 😉

  38. Aliens in your head… Now I understand the Tofu 😉

  39. At least you have an excuse for thinking you have weird diseases… my doctor pretty much thinks I’m nuts because the only time I call is when I’m in a panic and NEED him to fit me in to check out my new life threatening illness.

    Looks like a great recipe. Gotta love curry 🙂

  40. Monet says:

    Aliens…I had a dream about some last night…how funny! And I agree with your mantra…curry makes my world go round! This tofu dish looks delicious. I have been adding coconut to everything lately, and the flavor is just spot-on!

  41. Faith says:

    I love happening upon strange new foods! This one sounds delicious…the whole meal is so pretty!

  42. momgateway says:

    green jasmine rice so intriguing but the combination of flavors sound so delicious…

  43. Amy says:

    We went to the Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago and I spotted the most gigantic zucchini I had ever seen (and they claimed it was organic. Hm.) Talk about alien squash.

    I’ve never heard of kohlrabi, but good call on the curry. This sounds delish to me, but Paul would never get on board. See, he’s not perfect after all.

  44. Dana says:

    You had me at curry. And tofu. I’ve never cooked kohlrabi, I’ve only grated it into salads. It really is lovely raw but I’ll try cooking it next time. It is in season here too.

  45. tigerfish says:

    Your concoction for the green rice is inspiring me 🙂

  46. I’ve only had kohlrabi in its raw state, but your dish has me needing some. When my kids were small I had a big garden and grew some beautiful purple kohlrabi. My kids referred to it as “those alien spaceship things.” 🙂

  47. newlywed says:

    I’ve never tried kohlrabli…can’t wait! Sigh, I almost sort of miss my single days of cooking and eating lots of tofu. Cannot get it past the husband!

  48. lol it does look a bit alien-like 😀

    i loveee the idea of green jasmine rice! and i am sure it tastes fantastic with the curry tofu 😉

  49. teresa says:

    how could you resist a plate like that! i love how colorful it is too, beautiful!

  50. this is so very new to me…but with curried coconut veggies sound yummy!

  51. Kalyn says:

    My parents used to grow kohlrabi and we loved it. I think this sounds great.

  52. Kelsey says:

    coconut curried tofu!!! the vegan restaurant i get my take out food from makes the same combo and its insane. some sauce mixins just go so well together with tofu.. and coconut is no exception. i made coconut curried veggie stew once.. amazing!! this looks really yummy Joanne!

    <3

  53. Paul Wynn says:

    I can definitely get down with this and I don’t even like coconut.

  54. MaryMoh says:

    A very healthy meal. I love the look of the rice with all the greens there.

  55. Debinhawaii says:

    Gorgeous dish! Kohlrabi is one veggie I have not cooked much with. I need to rectify that. 😉

  56. A fairly healthy and very delicious veggie treat!

  57. Kim says:

    I feel like I’m surrounded by little 3 foot aliens every day!

    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen kohlrabi before. Like you, I would probably have to buy one and try it out. Curiosity would get the best of me. It looks like it is like a potato, but more firm.

    When in doubt, make a curry! – Love it. This looks flavorful, colorful and satisfying.

  58. grace says:

    i tackled kohlrabi for the first time recently and i didn’t like it all. at. all. and that’s rare for me. regardless, this is a lovely dish, and you’re a zany gal. 🙂

  59. Megan says:

    Sounds yummy! A co-worker of mine makes a lot of traditional indian food and I have been wanting to try making curry for a loooong time. This looks delicious…and I love that it is vegetarian! I know lots of people that would appreciate that!

  60. I marvel at how you have time to make such delicious dishes and study at the smae time Joanne, but we are happy that you find the time!

  61. Victoria K. says:

    I’ve never heard of kohlrabi! How interesting! I love your words to live by, since I love curries 🙂 Can’t wait till our NYC dinner, haha. We’ll plan something soon, I’m sure!

  62. I’ve never cooked with Kohlrabi! How brave of you! The rice looks AWESOME! Mine always comes out crunchy or like glue. Yours looks perfect!

  63. When in doubt, make curry.
    Man – that is deep!
    I need to put that on a t-shirt or pillow or something. 😉
    Love that you tried something new, looks delicious! I have only tried kohlrabi once or twice, I definitely need to get to know it better.

  64. polwig says:

    I love kohlarbi used it eat it like apples as a kid, never really cooked it. Now I have to ask my aliens if its ok to do so

  65. Kohlrabi, nice! I bought it and tried it one day on a whim – roasted it alongside a chicken. I had to. It’s a cousin of my much adored kale. Anyway, it’s much more benign than it appears, right?

  66. Great recipe! Thank so much for sharing, I’ll have to bookmark this. I love tofu!

  67. Mo says:

    I somehow didn’t read the title correctly, so I was wondering for half the post what the “alien” was, and then you said “kohlrabi” and I burst out laughing because thinking it looked like an alien was pretty much my first impression with the stuff, too. 😛

    This looks lovely! I’ve only roasted kohlrabi. So unadventurous. 😉

  68. I love the combination of coconut, ginger, tofu, and rice. Perfect! I need to start cooking with coconut milk more often; so creamy. I can’t wait to try this! I might sub basil for the cilantro though. I’m one of those weirdo cilantro-haters — another sort of alien, I suppose. 🙂

    I am the biggest. Hypochondriac. Ever. I used to think I had malaria, leukemia, and E-Bola, among other things…

  69. Debbie says:

    What a great dish. I would love to try this. I went through a phase where I constantly thought I had one ailment after another. Of course, each ailment was always part of some fatal disease……

  70. Chris says:

    I’m not allowed to have tofu or I’d have my BBQ credentials revoked but I’d hit that green jasmine rice, it looks perfect. I think I can smell that nutty fragrance.

  71. Christy says:

    “When in doubt make curry” may just become my new mantra – thanks for linking this to the Two for Tues blog hop – so much fun.

  72. Reeni says:

    I don’t even know what kohlrabi looks like! But I don’t care. You have a way of making everything and anything look delicious! And of making me crave whatever it is you’ve made. Even alien life forms!

  73. I like the Asian fusion style of this recipe. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had kohlrabi but I’ve definitely seen it at the markets, and would love to try it. It’s good to hear that it is starchy, I love starchy food.

  74. theUngourmet says:

    I think I’m being stalked by these same aliens at my farmers market! Great way to use your kohlrabi. I can’t believe blogger recognizes the word kohlrabi but doesn’t recognize the word teriyaki! Weirdness!

  75. Carolyn Jung says:

    This rice is so pretty looking that I think even bonafide cilantro haters would be converted to the green side. 😉

  76. Joanne
    You keep outdoing yourself!
    I love the idea of that dish!

  77. Barbara says:

    My mother used to make something with kohlrabi but I’ll be darned if I can remember what it was.
    It sure would be fun to visit a farmer’s market with you…alien speak or not.
    Your dish is loaded with super flavors! What a marvelous vegetarian supper; you can’t go wrong with curry.
    What does kohlrabi taste like anyway?

  78. Indeed, words to live by! Thanks for linking up wiht Two for Tuesday.

  79. Yep, been there with the medical student syndrome during my undergrad and graduate work in psychology! Very interesting dish! Thanks for the post.

  80. Love love love the curry! I don’t think I have med student hypochondriasis but Boy definitely does. Just the other day he thought he had acute close angle glaucoma. I just laugh at him.

  81. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked or eaten kohlrabi but that’s just because I wouldn’t know what to do with it. This sounds like a really delicious dish!

  82. Jamah says:

    I love the rice! I added extra lime, just because that is what we prefer. I boiled the kohlrabi for 1 hour and it still had super stiff parts. My kohlrabi was purple and on the smaller side (I peeled it), anyhow, I wouldn’t use kohlrabi in this recipe again. Everything else was great though. I baked the eggplant and tofu on parchment paper until browned. I added carrots & zucchini as well. I also omitted oil, as I don’t use it in my WFPB diet.

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