November 04, 2011

Borani Kalam Ghomri - Persian Kohlrabi and Yogurt Dip

I have been planning to make this super delicious recipe for quite some time now. بورانی Borani is a Persian side dish/appetizer that's made with plain yogurt and the vegetable of your choice such as borani esfenaj, borani bademjan and borani laboo, which are the most well known and popular among other borani recipes.
 A week ago I made my usual early morning visit to the vegetable market. Most times when I walk in there some of the shelves are still empty while the workers are taking the products out of their boxes and arranging the produce on the shelves. I prefer this not-so-hectic time at the vegetable market so I can walk through the aisles looking for different fruits and vegetables while enjoying their fresh aromas and not having to maneuver my shopping cart through the packed aisles. On that day my eyes spotted kohlrabies once again and since I had بورانی کلم قمری borani kalam ghomri recipe on my mind I picked up a few. As I was placing them into the plastic bag another customer quickly came and took a couple of kohlrabies without any hesitation. I was wondering what kind of a dish she was planning to make with these gorgeous kohlrabies. By the time I decided to ask this random stranger for a recipe in a vegetable store she had walked away onto the next aisle. I walked away thinking that if my mother were there she not only would have found out what this lady was going to make for dinner that night but she would also get to know her personally and find out so much about her in the course of one simple conversation!

In my mother's case, standing in saf-e noon o goosht (store lines) whether to buy freshly baked bread or the good quality hand-cut meat at the butcher shop, it was a precious moment to get to know her neighbors and the people in the community. She loved a good conversation and was always eager to hear ordinary people's real-life stories and that's what she would miss greatly every time she came here for a visit. Not being able to communicate in English with our neighbors, people in the markets or the parks was quite troubling for her emotionally. We were all so busy each time she visited us that we could not accommodate her as fully as she would have desired. I would try to do my best translating her questions which at times were a bit too personal for my taste. She was very much interested in learning how and when someone had migrated to this country, what it was like in the beginning and how the transition and the assimilation process was like for them. At times, I felt so uneasy interpreting this line of back and forth communication between my mother and a non-Iranian guest at a party. But that was the kind of story my mother was interested in, not what people did for a living, how much they were worth or what kind of a house or car they owned. I suppose it was her genuine interest in the human story of displacement and diaspora that people often responded well to her questions by giving lengthy answers.

Borani Kalam Ghomri - Kohlrabi and Yogurt Dip

Serves 4

2 1/2  cups thick yogurt (strained)
3 medium-size kohlrabies, peeled, thinly sliced or coarsely shredded or cubed
1 bunch of fresh parsley, hard stems removed and chopped
1 small bunch of fresh chives or scallions, chopped
A few sprigs of fresh mint, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried mint
1 large onion, chopped or thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
A small pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper (may be adjusted to your liking)
Olive oil (extra virgin) or Vegetable oil

  1.  Place the sliced kohlrabies into a skillet, add 1/2 cup of water and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until they soften slightly. Add a pinch of salt. Discard water.
  2. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil/vegetable oil in a frying pan, add onions and saute until golden brown. Add a tiny pinch of  turmeric and the minced garlic, stir and saute them in the olive oil for another five minutes. 
  3. Add the kohlrabi pieces, salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. At the end add the chopped parsley, chives and mint and mix well.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt with all the ingredients and gently stir together. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let cool for an hour.
Scoop the borani into a serving bowl and garnish with fried onion and garlic. I layered the top with extra slices of kohlrabi.This could be served as a side dish or an afternoon healthy snack with warm bread or pita chips.



  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I love kohlrabi, never ever thought of using this vegetable this way.., next time when I visit Asian store I am going to buy and try this out :)

  2. By the time I make it to the market usually the shelves are empty because they have sold out, you must be quite an early bird. I would have loved to have a chat with your mother, I find the topic of moving country and adapting to a new culture deeply fascinating as well. I wish I had her skills to befriend strangers. And thank you for this recipe, I'm always a bit puzzled by kohlrabi, although I quite like it.

  3. I enjoy eating kohlrabi but I didn't know any Persian recipes for it. I usually just put it in salad or add some olive oil and lime juice to it but your recipe elevates it to another level. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous recipe Azita joun.

  4. I am from kashmir In India. I love kohl rabi. I am going to try this dish today. Love your blog!

  5. This post made me cry. Maybe because I lost my mother a few years back...

    Anyway, I enjoy reading and re-creating your recipe here. I made soup-e-morgh and khorash karat (hope I got the spelling right). My Iranian boyfriend loved both. He ate the koresh karaf for 3 days, and even brought some with brown rice for his lunch (in that 3 day period).

    1. Intrepidtear, thank you for your kind comments and I'm so glad to hear you are enjoying my recipes. Best wishes.xx

  6. This is wonderful idea. I love kohlrabi. My mother use to make abgoost withe lentil and kohlrabi which is delicious. She also use this vegetable mixing it with rice and dill,tarragon, and basil. I love both of her recipes.
    I will try your recipe using kohlrbi in borani. Thanks for sharing.