Kamal Kakdi Ki Sabzi is a succulent brown curry made with crisp and fibrous lotus stem. The juicy slices of lotus stem are pressure cooked in onion and tomato gravy till al-dente, later served with hot puffed Phulkas or with Jeera Rice. The lotus stem is one root vegetable which as a kid I could clearly distinguish from the other vegetables because of it’s hosepipe like shape, round slices of lotus stem swimming in the curry on my plate always struck my adolescent imagination as a wheel. Hence I started referring to it as pinwheel – curry but more than the amusing name it was the taste of the curry that lingered in my food memories even till date. This easy peasy curry can be prepared in a jiffy in the pressure cooker, does not require any pro cooking skills yet it tastes simply divine and add great variety to the vegetarian menu.
During our stay in the South India, lotus stem and I crossed path on a very rare occasion, once in a while I used to find it in abundance in one of the supermarkets else it was confined to the guest appearance in my kitchen. While back here at home province, during summer lotus stem are a routine selling item in every vendor’s vegetable basket. In some parts of the country, lotus stems are available throughout the season, which is a real boon, in Nainital it will slowly start vanishing post summer and then will again be seen in the winters. It requires a special set of experienced mastery to select the lotus stem apt for making the curry from the whole lot and I am slowly learning the art under the guidance of mother-in-law. She has her own checklist for picking the perfect ones for cooking, her criteria is pale white color with light tones of brown, unsoiled vents and the crisp sound while snapping the lotus stem. Her extensive discussion with the vegetable seller about the quality and whereabouts of lotus stem is part of the routine, and somehow it helps her to eye for the impeccable batch of lotus stem. The soupy, bold mutton like curry along with steaming rice and julienne of onion is really worth the whole selection effort. This season when most of the fresh produce is under hibernation lotus stem curry brightens up our lunch table, in the hot and humid afternoon slurping rice with lotus stem curry is the only joyous activity which make the mundane prolonged summer afternoon bearable.
- 4 medium-size lotus stem
- 1 large-size onion roughly chopped
- 2 small-size tomato finely chopped
- 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1 green chili fine chopped
- salt to taste
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala see recipe here
- 2 tbsp oil for cooking
- To prepare the Kamal Kakdi for making the curry, first thoroughly clean and wash the lotus stems. Make sure no dirt particles remain inside the vents of the lotus stem. Once cleaned, peel the lotus stem and chop into thin oval shape slices. Soak in water and set aside while you prepare the masala for the curry.
- In a pressure cooker (Buy it here) heat oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, green chili and saute till onion turn light brown in color. Next add the ginger-garlic paste and saute once again till the pleasant aroma of roasted masala is released. While roasting if masala is sticking to the pan add a tablespoon or two of water.
- Add the drained lotus stem slices in the pressure cooker (Buy it here) along with the salt, red chili powder and turmeric. Stir to combine and saute for 2 - 3 minutes.
- Pour 2 cups of water in the pressure cooker, seal with the lid, put the weight on and over high heat cook the vegetable for two whistles.
- After two whistles turn off the flame and let the steam release naturally from the pressure cooker.
- Open the lid and add the chopped tomato and garam masala. Stir to combine and let the curry simmer over low heat till the tomato is nicely cooked, gravy thicken and the lotus stem is cooked as well. At this stage adjust the consistency of the curry by adding more water if required.
- At the stage of adding tomato, if lotus stem requires more time to cook then pressure cook the curry for few more minutes.
- The cooking time of the curry entirely depends on the variety of the lotus stem, it is always recommended to buy soft textured pale white one.
- Once cooked transfer Kamal Kakdi Ki Sabzi in the serving bowl. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve Kamal Kakdi ki Sabzi hot with jeera rice or chapati.
Pan Used: Pressure Cooker (Buy it here)