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Lotus Root Curry

July 19, 2009


Last week when I went vegetable shopping at my local Asian market, I saw lotus roots and thought I would try them out. As I’d never cooked with lotus roots, I looked for recipes online and was fascinated to read about soups, chips, fritters, and myriad other preparations with lotus root. I also polled my family for recipes. So, now I have a few recipes to try. Given G’s off spicy food for a bit, I decided to use a variation of my sister-in-law’s recipe.

All websites and recipes warned about the fact that lotus roots take time to cook, and that they could be bitter to taste. There were numerous details of the health benefits of lotus roots, especially its fiber content.  Most Japanese preparations suggested soaking the chopped lotus roots in water spiked with a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, to avoid browming and also lose its bitterness, of any. I decided to do this and also to cook the lotus roots in the pressure cooker ( I don’t have the patience needed to boil it till it’s done and know my pressure cooker will get it done without me fussing over it)!

What you need
– 2 cups of lotus roots
– For soaking, a large bowl filled with water mixed with 2-3 Tblsps of vinegar
– 4 Cups of water
– 1/2 Tsp of turmeric
– 1 Tblsp of fresh grated coconut
– 1 green Thai chile
– 1-2 Tbsps of plain yogurt
For Tempering
– 1 Tsp of oil
– 1 Tsp of mustard seeds
– 1 Tsp of Chana dal
– 1 Tsp of Urad dal
– 4-5 curry leaves
– 1 dried red chile

How it’s Done

– Cut the lotus root in 1/4 cm discs; stack 4-5 discs and quarter them. Put the cut pieces in the water and vinegar bath. Repeat till you have even sized, lattice like pieces.
– Drain the water and add to pressure cooker with 4 cups of water and the turmeric and a pinch of salt. Close the pressure cooker lid and cook on high till tue cooker starts making a loud whistling sound. Reduce heat and let cook for 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and wait till the cooker releases all the steam and it is safe to open the lid.
– While the roots are cooking, blend the coconut and chile into a smooth paste.
– Heat a non-stick pan and add the oil. Add the mustard seeds to the hot oil and once they start spluttering, add the other ingredients for tempering.
-When the dals are a golden brown, add the cooked and drained lotus roots. Add the coconut-chile paste and salt to taste and cook for a couple of minutes so the flavors meld.
– Add the yogurt and cook till all liquid evaporates.

This was part of my lunch with a tangy rasam and rice. The lotus roots were slightly crunchy with the  yogurt balancing the flavors of coconut and chile.

One Comment
  1. This is such an intriguing recipe, I have never used lotus roots in my cooking yet…this recipe sounds so simple and inviting would love to try it !

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