At the very first glance, one might think of a lotus flower as a perennial aquatic plant with blooming beautiful pinkish blossoms springing up in the middle of a marshy wetland. Little do we know that beneath its delicate exterior resides myriad quintessential health, beauty, and culinary benefits. Not only does this fabulous flower holds great traditional and symbolic value, but it is also considered one of the most sacred plants on planet earth.
From leaves to flowers, and seeds, every part of the lotus is edible. Interestingly, one of the gems amongst all the bounteous ingredients that lotus consists of, is its fibrous stem. Also known as rhizomes, these stems are called lotus roots which are encapsulated in the marshy soil of a water body. This fleshy woody vegetable is native to Asia, Australia, and parts of the middle east and abundantly thrives in shallow ponds, marshlands, and lagoons. Popularly known as Kamal Kakdi, it is a powerhouse of nutrients high in dietary fibre, low in saturated fats, and loaded with B complex vitamins. A long woody object that looks like hollow tubes, it has tiny round holes and is bland and crunchy. With no strong dominating flavour, this veggie adapts the taste elements of the original delicacy it is cooked in tandem with. If stand-alone it tastes like a sweet potato or coconut.
Lotus Stem Health Benefits
Extremely rich in nutrition, the lotus stem is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, manganese thiamin, and pantothenic acid, besides a significant source of dietary fibre.
Here are some health benefits that this vegetable offers:
Improves Blood Circulation
Lotus stem can immensely stimulate blood circulation and energy levels due to the high iron and copper content that is found in it. It helps in reducing the chances of developing anaemia besides aiding the circulation of blood.
Fights Free Radicals
Lotus stem is rich in Vitamin C, an important component of collagen, which can strengthen our organs and protect the immune system. Also, by combating free radicals in the body, it protects the body against chronic conditions, like cancer and various cardiovascular diseases.
Prevents Macular Degeneration
An essential vitamin found in lotus root, Vitamin A has antioxidant capabilities and can prevent macular degeneration and other eye-related conditions such as ocular rosacea.
Lotus is connected with peace and tranquility due to the presence of pyridoxine elements in its extracts. Not only this element helps to manage homocysteine levels in the blood and keep the heart healthy, but it also interacts with the brain’s neural receptors, aiding mood and mental health thus controlling severe stress levels.
An important element in numerous cultural practices, besides the above-mentioned health benefits, Kamal Kakdi has a fabulous culinary value and is relished in umpteen forms in many cuisines. Deep-fried, stir-fried, braised, or boiled, it is cooked in plenty of interesting ways. If you haven’t had the lotus stem or ‘Kamal Kakdi’ pickle, you have missed one zesty, brined pickled vegetable for sure.
Nevertheless, here are two luscious lotus stem recipes that will tempt you to try and add this gluten-free ingredient to your meal, time and again.
Crispy Lotus Stem in Honey Chilly
500 grams lotus stem
3 tbsp honey
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 spring onions
A handful of whole Kashmiri red chili
1-inch ginger root
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp refined oil
1/2 tsp Thai red chili
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut thin slices of the lotus stem and peel them, dip them in ice water to get rid of excess starch
To soften the stem slices, put them in boiling water and blanch for a few minutes
Keep aside to cool down
In another pan, boil the whole Kashmiri chili
Grind the chilies into a paste
Chop the ginger, Thai red chili, and onions into thin slices
Heat half a cup of oil in another pan
Fry the lotus stems until they turn golden
Add them in small batches to retain crispiness
In the remaining oil sauté the chopped vegetables
Add some water to it and add the honey
Add black pepper and salt
Add the fried lotus stems and mix well
Crispy Lotus Stem in honey chilly is ready to be served
The dish has lotus stem as an ingredient that is rich in all essential vitamins and minerals. The honey added in this is loaded with antioxidants and prevents memory loss and disorders.
Lotus Stem Fry
4 tender lotus roots
1 chopped onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced capsicum
5 pieces chopped garlic
1 inch chopped ginger
1 small chopped red chili
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp red chili sauce
1 tsp tomato sauce
Oil for frying
1/4 cup corn flour
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
Spring onion to garnish
Salt to taste
Peel and slice the lotus stem into thin slices
In a bowl combine lotus stem slices, corn starch, salt, and pepper
Heat oil in a frying pan to deep fry the slices
Heat oil in another pan and add ginger, garlic, and red chili. Fry for a minute
Add onion and cook until onion turns soft
Add bell pepper and capsicum
Add the vinegar, sauces, salt, and pepper
Add the fried lotus stem slices
Mix nicely to coat the lotus stem with the sauces
Serve lotus stem stir fry garnished with spring onions
This delicacy has many green vegetables that are loaded with all essential vitamins besides the main ingredient lotus stem which provides ample dietary fibre to the body.