Kohlrabi stew – Karalábéfőzelék

by | Jul 8, 2022 | Vegetable dishes

Kohlrabi belongs to the cabbage family, so if you enjoy cabbage, broccoli, and even Brussels sprouts, there’s a high chance you’ll also love kohlrabi. Kohlrabi’s taste and texture are similar to those of broccoli stems and cabbage, although it’s slightly sweeter. It has long leafy stems and a round bulb that’s usually purple, pale green, or white. It’s always white-yellow on the inside.

Kohlrabi / Karalábé
Home-grown kohlrabi – photo: zserbo.com

When buying kohlrabi, choose bulbs that are about three inches in diameter or less. Smaller kohlrabies have a more intensive taste, while larger bulbs tend to lack in flavor and may have woody sections on the inside. When the bulb is harvested too late it can become tough and woody. This can also happen when the weather turns hot in early summer.

In Hungary kohlrabi is a popular ingredient for soups, but it can also be stuffed or used to make főzelék. Karalábéfőzelék is a divisive food, however, if it’s well-prepared, kohlrabi stew can be a tasteful and delicious vegetable meal. I used Szoky’s recipe, which is made with a milky roux and enriched with butter.

Kohlrabi stew -  Karalábéfőzelék
Kohlrabi stew – Karalábéfőzelék – photo: zserbo.com


  • 7 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 300 ml (~1 1/4 cups) milk
  • 3 kohlrabies (gross weight approx. 800 g / ~1 3/4 lbs)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • a small bunch of parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 50 g (~3 1/2 tbsp) butter

First make the roux. In a saucepan heat 3 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, add flour and cook, while stirring constantly, until its color turns blond (it takes 1-2 minutes). Using a whisk mix in cold milk until smooth, then turn off the heat. Set aside and let the roux cool completely.

Peel and dice the kohlrabies, remove any woody section. Chop onions and garlic.

Heat 3 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a pot, add onions and garlic, and sauté until translucent. Add kohlrabi cubes and stir fry for 4-5 minutes. After that add sugar, salt and pepper, then pour in water just enough to cover the food (approximately 600-700 ml / 2 1/2 – 3 cups). Cover and over low heat slowly simmer until tender. Stir regularly and keep adding water.

Once the kohlrabi is done, combine roux and some hot cooking liquid, then pour the mixture to the kohlrabi while stirring continuously. Bring it to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add finely chopped parsley leaves and butter, and stir until the latter melts completely. Let the kohlrabi stew rest for 30-40 minutes before serving.

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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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