Also Known As
Kamal kakri, Kamal kakdi, Bhein, Bheen.
Lotus stem is a mellow spring to lime green colored stalk that persists into the fall, even as the leaves and pods are withering and browning on the edges and tops. Its length varies from 2 meters to as much as 5 meters in some species. It has hollow air cubicles within. It has a mild sweet flavor. Lotus stems are very much used in Asian cuisines and are much relished for their taste and nutritional value. Lotus stem vegetable can be prepared in following manner :
· Peel and finely chop the lotus stem.
· Boil until tender and then fry in ghee.
· In a pan roast pomegranate seeds and cumin seeds in little ghee. Add chopped tomatoes, salt and red chilli powder.
· Grind the above mixture in to paste.
· Cook the paste in a pot.
· Add fried lotus stem and paneer. Sprinkle chopped coriander. Serve hot.
Chopped lotus stem
Wash the lotus stems gently. With a knife, cut the two extremes, which are inedible. Place the stem in bunches horizontally on a chopping board and slit them into two halves. Now cut them vertically using a sharp knife. Try to keep it equidistant as possible. Chop it by cutting it into small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter, although the chopped food doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "coarsely chopped," make the pieces slightly larger. Similarly if you want "finely chopped " long beans, cut it into still smaller size.
Lotus stem cubes
Wash the lotus stem gently. With a knife, cut the two extremes, which are inedible. Place the stem in bunches horizontally on a chopping board and slit them into two halves. Now cut them vertically using a sharp knife. Try to keep it equidistant as possible. Cut it into square shaped pieces approximately one inch in diameter vertically, although the cubes doesn't need to be exactly the same size. Try to keep it equidistant as possible. You can increase or decrease the size of the cubes to small, medium or large depending on the recipe.
Blanched lotus stem
Blanching is the process of removing the outer thin skin layer from the vegetable, without removal of the pulp. For blanching lotus stem, heat water to the first boil and cut the stem in to three parts. Now immerse the washed stem pieces to the boiling water for just less than a minute. Drain out the hot water and remove the outer peel of the stem. See to it that the inner surface of the stem is not torn. The nutritive value is not lost and the green color is even more enhanced. Blanched lotus stem can be used in sauteed salads.
Boiled lotus stem
Wash the lotus stem gently. Now cut them into desired length, may be cubes or chopped. Boil minimum water in a dekchi. Add the cut beans to the boiling water and lid the dekchi to avoid nutrient loss. Once the stem start turning lighter in color and can be smashed easily on pressing, they can be considered boiled and cooked. Alternatively you can pressure cook them till 1 whistle to boil them. Boiled lotus stem is used in preparing a curry.
How to Select
Sliced lotus stem
Wash the lotus stem gently. Remove the two extremes. With a knife, slice the stem from top to bottom in the vertical direction. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "thickly sliced," make the pieces slightly larger. Similarly if you want "thinly sliced "lotus stem, cut it into still smaller size.
Lotus stem is available in places where there is enough lotus plantations. Only selected vegetable vendors stalk it. While buying check the freshness of the stem by viewing on its crisp nature. Avoid the brown spotted or the wilted ones, which happen due to long storage. Culinary Uses
· Lotus stem can be eaten raw in the form of salads. Here you can mix in finely sliced shallots, cucumber and squeeze little lime juice to enhance the flavor
· Lotus stem salad can be combined with crispy pork and prawns.
· You can also make tasty lotus stem pickle. Canned lotus stem is combined with presoaked chick peas and cranberries, while adding all the pickle ingredients like fenugreeek seeds, ginger, garlic, turmeric and red chilli powders, salt, lime juice and cracked black peppercorn and black mustard seeds along with nigella seeds..
· Lotus stem Curry can be prepared by adding boiled and peeled lotus stem to the prepared ginger-garlic-green chilli paste with onion and tomatoes chopped and cooked in it. After adding lotus stem, just add the garam masala, salt and other spices. This goes well as an accompaniment with rotis or even rice.
· Sliced lotus stem can be stir fried with sliced spring onions and capsicum with addition of ginger, garlic and green chilli paste. This recipe can be had with multi grain roti to improve its nutritive value. How to Store
Lotus stem can be washed and stored as a whole by wrapping it either in a paper or in net bag under refrigeration temperature. This will last its freshness for at least 1 week. Alternatively you can chop, blanch or cut it and store in a container in deep freezer for later use. Also canned lotus stem is available, which has an extended shelf life due to the processing.Health Benefits
· They are very rich in iron, which is required for RBC formation in blood.
· There is good amount of calcium also present, required for maintenance and repair of bones and teeth.
· Lotus stem is high in dietary fiber. It is highly recommended for pregnant women and people with chronic complain of constipation.
· The chlorophyll present in the stack acts as active anti oxidant to fight against cancer producing free radicals.