How cliché is the phrase “Lotus retains its beauty even though it is surrounded by muck”? Lotus symbolizes purity of mind and thought while amidst the impurity of the worldly affairs. Lotus is the National flower of India.
Each time I see this beautiful flower in a dirty pond, I am reminded of its goodness. It inspires art, religion, and folklore from times immemorial.
But, what about the lotus root, have you given a thought to its’ roots? It’s down there in the muck, dirty and coated with mud. You have to scrub it well before you can even use. It is relished for its taste and its nutritional value, not a thought is given to its origin in muck and mud.
Lotus stem is an interesting vegetable that changes its nature from the way you cook it. Have it raw, its bitter; cook and it has very unique, crunchy texture; stew and it turns starchy. Besides its high dietary fiber, Lotus stem is very rich in iron and calcium content. It is highly recommended for pregnant women. People with chronic complain of constipation can also profit from its use.
Unfortunately, you don’t see this Lotus stem at every vegetable vendor in Mumbai. You may find this mainly at specialized vegetable stalls. But whenever I see it, I am reminded of my mom’s experiments in the kitchen. Mom used to clean each pore with a matchstick, and cooked differently each time, sometimes in curry, sometimes bind them as koftas and sometimes make patties for evening snack. Mom made them in combination with carrots, or with potatoes or mushrooms. Whatever combination she chose, she always made a tasty meal.
This week I made lotus stem with potatoes.
2 medium size onions
2tbsp mustard oil
2 green chilies
4-5 cloves crushed garlic
2 medium tomatoes
1tsp turmeric powder
2tsp coriander powder
1tsp cumin powder
1tsp red chili powder
1tsp garam masala
2 medium size potatoes
200gms lotus stems
salt to taste
1tsp lime juice
coriander leaves for garnishing.
In a heavy base pressure cooker, cook finely chopped onions in 2tbsp oil
Cook till the color changes to light brown.
Add ½ cup water
Add crushed garlic, grated ginger and chopped green chilies.
Add chopped tomatoes
Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, Garam masala, red chili powder and salt
Mix and mash till masala begins to dry.
Add the chopped potatoes and chopped lotus stems
Mix and stir till it begins to stick to the sides. Add 1 cup water.
Pressure cook till 3 whistles
Garnish with coriander leaves and lime juice.
Serve with hot buttered parathas.