Kamal Kakdi Ki Sabzi is a succulent Indian curry made with crisp and fibrous lotus roots/stems. 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. It is a vegan and gluten – free curry.
Lotus Stem is known as Kamal Kakdi or Kakri in Hindi, or he’s inde or bhey. Lotus is the national flower of India. The lotus stem has a fibrous and meaty texture. It is a seasonal ingredient.
During our stay in 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 the home province, during summer lotus stems 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 Uttarakhand, it will slowly start vanishing post-summer and then will again be seen in the winters.
Apart from making curry, you can use lotus stem to make crispy stir fry. It tastes delicious.
It requires a special set of experienced mastery to select the lotus stem apt for making the curry from the whole lot. I am slowly learning the art under the guidance of my mother-in-law.
She has her own checklist for picking the perfect ones for cooking. Her criteria is a pale white color with light tones of brown, unsoiled vents, and the crisp sound while snapping the lotus stem.
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 (kamal kakdi ki sabzi) but more than the amusing name it was the taste of the curry that lingered in my food memories even to date.
This easy peasy kamal kakdi ki sabzi 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.
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Kamal Kakdi Ki Sabzi
- 4 medium-size lotus stem (root)
- 1 large-size onion roughly chopped
- 2 small-size tomato finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1 green chili fine chopped
- salt to taste
- 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala see recipe here
- 2 tablespoon 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 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.