Posts tagged kohlrabi
Shilbato (Kohlrabi with Ground Meat, Rice and Pine Nuts)

Today I’m sharing Shilbato, or Kohlrabi with Ground Meat, Rice and Pine Nuts.

Shelbato (Kohlrabi with Ground Meat, Rice and Pine Nuts)

This is one of those lesser-known dishes in Syria. To my knowledge, only people from Homs cook it, and I have to say, everyone else is really missing out.

Kohlrabi is a root vegetable available all over the world, but it’s not very popular. I remember receiving bushels of it in my farm produce boxes in Chicago and having no clue what to do with it. The Internet told me to shave it in a salad with apples and cheese, but that got old after awhile. Then, my mom reminded me of my childhood favorite: Shilbato.

Shelbato (Kohlrabi with Ground Meat, Rice and Pine Nuts)

Kohlrabi tastes kind of like cabbage or kale but with a milder, sweeter flavor. This Homsi dish fries the vegetable, really amplifying the sweetness and giving it a nice buttery texture. Syrians love to put all the components of a meal in a single plate, and this is no different. Similarly to makloubeh, the fried kohlrabi is combined with the meat and rice and cooked together. All the flavors meld together into something delicious. It’s also typical to make this Pomegranate Juice with Cucumbers (bottom of the post) and pour it on top to add some acidity, but a lemony salad also does the same trick.

Next time you see this funny-looking bulb with leaves coming out of it at the market, pick it up and give it a try! And you’ll be in on the secret that Homsis have known for generations: fried kohlrabi is wonderful.

Shelbato (Kohlrabi with Ground Meat, Rice and Pine Nuts)

If you try this recipe, don’t forget to put it in the comments and tag #omayahcooks and @omayah.atassi on Instagram! I love to see your creations!


Shilbato (Kohlrabi with Ground Meat, Rice and Pine Nuts)

This dish is typical in Homs, Syria when kohlrabi, a mild, sweet root vegetable, is found fresh at the market.

Serves: 6Name of image (title of post is fine)  
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes  


    1 kg (2 lbs) kohlrabi, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
    500 g (1 lb) ground lamb or beef
    1 tsp 7 spices
    1 c vegetable oil, divided
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
    1 tsp crushed black pepper, divided
    1/4 c pine nuts, toasted
    2 c medium grain or long grain rice, soaked for about 1 hour and rinsed
    2 1/4 c chicken broth, warmed

  1. Heat 1/2 c oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add kohlrabi and cook, stirring occasionally, until it turns golden, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the ground meat in another large skillet over high heat, breaking up constantly, until completely cooked through. Season with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 7 spices. Set aside.
  3. Add 1/4 c oil to the pan and add onions. Cook until lightly caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Combine with the ground meat.
  4. Add 1/4 c oil on high to a large non-stick pot and heat until shimmering. Add rice and cook until translucent. Season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Add the cooked kohlrabi, the ground meat, onions and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to lowest setting. Simmer until rice is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice with a large serving spoon. Top with toasted pine nuts and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately with pomegranate juice and cucumbers or a lemony side salad.