Amba Pickled Kohlrabi

The nuts store we frequent is up by the Bucharian shuk. It’s named Mizrahi. Down the corner to them is the butcher we buy from. It’s also named Mizrahi. They’re not related to each other and neither am I to them. But I don’t believe it’s a coincidence. Mizrahis take food seriously. So when my husband came home with a container of homemade pickled cabbage that was tinged a suspicious yellow from Mizrahi The Butcher, I hunched my nose in hesitation. I find store bought fermented vegetables are either too vinegary or simply tasteless. But I told you, Mizrahis know food. That cabbage, sitting in a pool of amba and chile peppers, was revelatory. It hit all the right notes: from the sweet, earthy mango flavors of the amba to the sharp spice of the peppers. I found myself spooning a few leaves next to my morning eggs and evening dinner and not because of all the digestive benefits fermented foods are lauded for. Just because it was flavorful.I had to recreate it at home and I came closer than I expected. I chose kohlrabi because I think the vegetable is neutral and crunchy and perfect for the job. Pick whatever vegetable you love. You need 8 minutes to put it together and then enjoy it day after day.

Amba Pickled Kohlrabi


1 ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 ¼ cup water

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

1 tablespoon amba paste

2 medium kohlrabis, peeled and sliced

½ chile pepper, sliced

3 whole garlic cloves

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper


In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and amba. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. In a 1 litre lidded glass jar, place the kohlrabi slices, chili peppers, garlic and black pepper. Pour the amba mixture and, with the back of a spoon, press the kohlrabi down so it is under the liquid. Close tightly and give it a shake. Store in the refrigerator and use as needed.