Monji Haakh – Kohlrabi cooked in Kashmiri Style

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Monji Haakh-Kohl rabi cooked in Kashmiri style

Writing about Roth – the sacred cookies from Kashmir made me realize just how much I miss the beautiful Valley of Kashmir. I was born there. I sort of grew up there. I can’t say I have all happy memories of the place. It was after-all the place from where I left one dark night in the back of a truck. Crouching amidst whatever belongings my Uncle’s family and a couple of neighbors could load into it in a span of a few hours. If we got caught leaving, our lives could end. The terrorists were threatening to kill Hindus and rape Hindu women in Kashmir. They had already attacked important members of the minority community. So our families hurriedly sent young girls out of the valley with a few belongings.

My youngest sister and I were living with my grandparents at that time. My parents lived and worked in a village a few hours out from Srinagar. We had lost all communication with them. So my grandpa packed a few of my clothes, a few of my school certificates, handed me some money and told me to go live with my aunt in Jammu.

It was difficult leaving them back. But he would have none of it. He wanted me, the young teenage girl, out of harms way. He had to stay back to make contact with my parents and then decide if he wanted to move from the valley or move to a safer place within the valley. My little sister was to stay with them and my uncle and aunt stayed back too.

In less than a night, the big old house that housed 5 families, was housing 5 members of my family. They were all waving silent goodbyes to me and my cousins. Urging us to leave, pleading us to just go and not cry.

It took me days to stop crying. At first because I was constantly worried about my family, especially my grandparents and my little sister. I wasn’t sure if they had averted an attack by sending us away or invited it by sending us away. Then I began to feel the pain of being uprooted from the place I called home. I cried. And prayed. And cried. And I had no idea if my family made it alive. And for the first time in life I felt alone.

It was after a few weeks that news came in that my parents and grandparents were united and safe. My little sister had made it to safety. Relief spread over me and for the first time in days I cried tears of relief.

I did go back to Kashmir a couple of years later because my family still lived there. It was different and deserted. The streets were full of Army bunkers and uniformed men were posted everywhere. It felt odd to know the place yet not recognize it.

But I still have more happy memories of the place than sad, terrifying ones. I choose to remember my home for how beautiful its people are, how gorgeous its mountains are, how youthful the rivers and how delicious the food is.

From the simple people of Kashmir comes this simple yet comforting dish of Kohlrabi, rice and lassi. It’s an everyday dish like the haakh. Comforting and nourishing. Not only does it comfort the senses, it heals the soul. It is my go to dish when I need a piece of home. A home where my roots are and perhaps always will be.

5 from 1 vote

Monji Haakh – Kohlrabi cooked in Kashmiri Style


  • 1 bunch Kohlrabi with greens 1- 1.5 pounds
  • 2 tsp mustard oil or any other oil
  • 1/2 tsp asafetida
  • 2- 3 dry red chillies
  • salt to taste
  • 4 Cups water


Prep the Kohlrabi and the greens

  1. Remove the greens from the bulb of the kohlrabi. Cut out the long stems and keep the greens aside to be used in the dish. Discard the stems.
  2. Peel the kohlrabi and cut the root side of the bulb and discard. Any woody feeling portions you simply discard.
  3. Chop the greens and slice the bulbs. Give everything a generous rinse.


  1. Heat oil until it smokes (mustard oil)
  2. Add the asafetida and then add the kohlrabi slices. Saute for a few minutes, then add the water, chillies and bring it to a boil.
  3. Add in the greens and cook until the kohlrabi and the greens are tender (about 30 – 40 minutes)
  4. Alternately you can pressure cook it for 5 minutes after the steam builds up in the cooker. In that case reduce water to 2 cups.

Recipe Notes

Serves 4- 5 as a side dish

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Comments 11

  1. hello, when i make this tasty,very tasty Haakh i put one tablespoon of grinded Saunf also…please try as it gives a very good taste in your mouth…thankyou so much for a delicious recipe

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Ansh,

    Namskaar !

    First and foremost thanks for sharing this simple but yummy delicious which my husband grew up eating almost everyday in Srinagar at this maasiji’s house during his summer holidays. I’ve learnt to love it too !

    I’m a Malayali but married to a Kashmiri whose cousins had very similar stories to yours. It breaks my heart to hear what you all have been through.

    I shall definitely return to your page to try out all the other authentic recipes too.

    Take care,

    A pity that I’ve not yet visited Kashmir till date but I hope to ,some day.

  3. Just wanted you to know I am making this for the third time. It’s a lovely dish with rich and complex flavors, which was a surprise to me considering how simple the preparation is. I love it. Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

    1. Post
  4. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this recipe, this takes me back to my childhood. Definitely happy memories but their is definitely an ugly side to things still happening in Kashmir. Wishing humanity good luck. After fleeing Srinagar, I have yet to visit – similar story to yours, I must have been 9-10 at the time and I remember everything clearly.
    I am new to your site, I reside in Tampa, FL – Going to search other Kashmir recipes for my reference on your site. Do you know what Sochal is? And what its called in English? Have you every had it?

    1. Post

      Hi Kavita,

      Yes.. Totally beautiful and then totally terrible memories of the place.
      I do know what sotchal is. It’s called the common mallow. Grows as a weed. You can ask a local farmer to leave some for you, That’s what I do!

      Also I make one with kale and spinach. Kind of feels like eating sotchal πŸ˜€

  5. 5 stars
    This was really tasty! Loved it..kids lived it too… I did spoil us and double the mustard oil just to get the oil flavor! Thank you for a great recipe!!

    1. Post

      I am so happy this worked for you and happier that you liked it. Of course a bit of more oil is always a welcome thing.

  6. Many thanks for your wonderful recipes. You are now my go to blog for kashmiri food. I hope you keep adding to the list of koshur recipes.

  7. Lo and behold…. Your site is not a strip on my phone πŸ˜‰
    Looks very nice πŸ™‚
    You’ve told me this story before but it still touches my heart. Makes me grateful for my safe childhood and thankful that you are safe and here, esp so we can hang together!!
    This looks tasty.. Do you know Ive never had kohlrabi? I know… What sort of a food blogger am I ?

  8. Ansh, what an incredible journey your life is. Thanks for sharing your story with us here. I am touched and inspired by your food and by you.

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