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Makhana, Nadru & More: Why India’s National Flower Is Great For Your Health!

If there is anything jam-packed with essential nutrients for the human body, it has to be the Lotus stems or Kamal Kakdi.

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The lotus plant is deeply connected to the history of China and India. Lotus has not only been admired as a beautiful flower but also because of the unique flavour it brings to dishes while providing numerous medicinal benefits.

For example, lotus leaves have been used in various Ayurvedic practices as they have a strong aphrodisiac property. And as lotus leaves are a good vasodilator, they can lower high blood pressure considerably.

And it’s not just the leaves, but each part of the plant that carries benefits.

Lotus plant
The lotus plant. Source: Pexels

So we decided to look into some desi dishes which use the lotus plant. They are listed by the part of the plant being used.

LOTUS STEMS

These rhizomes are buried underground like potatoes and shoot out nodes. Source: Wikipedia

If there is anything jam-packed with essential nutrients for the human body, it has to be the Lotus stems or Kamal Kakdi. The lotus stems are widely used in Sindhi cuisine as well and commonly referred to as “Bhee”.

The stem packs a unique mix of nutrients and minerals, including potassium, phosphorous, copper, iron, and manganese, as well as thiamin, pantothenic acid, zinc, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.

As seen before, the stems have good vasodilator properties hence they help in blood circulation as well as lowering blood pressure. This positively affects stress, bringing it way down.

The stem lies beneath the mud and is technically called the rhizome. This is why it is commonly confused as a root, when in fact, it is the opposite. The roots are those that protrude from the stem.

Though your local sabji wala might not know the difference, do look for thicker and healthier “stems”.   With that, let’s look at some delicious dishes that use Kamal Kakdi.

Kamal Kakdi ki Sabzi
This easy-to-cook dish takes about half an hour to make and goes well with chapati and roti. You can look at the recipe here.

Crispy Lotus Stem Honey Chilli
This mouthwatering dish is easy to make with just a few ingredients. The sliced stems are dipped in a batter of corn flour and then deep fried till they turn a crisp brown. Then mixed with chilli sauce to give an uplifting flavour.

Nadru Kofta
This Kofta curry is combined with the stems of the lotus with mashed potatoes. They are cooked in a delicious gravy and can be made within 45 minutes!

From left: Kamal Kakdi ki Sabzi; Crispy Lotus Stem Honey Chilli; Nadru Kofta
Source: TarlaDalal.com/ Kashmir InFocus

LOTUS ROOT

The lotus plant is quite different from most plants and flowers. The stalk that you see above the water surface is, in reality, the root of the plant: nodes that are attached to the flower.

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Its benefits are just as numerous as that of the lotus stem. It greatly aids in weight loss and digestion.

The roots are thin and cook easily, going well with most vegetable curries. They go well with seafood too, especially in fish and prawn curries.

Lotus roots cleaned and washed. Source: sawin-kh.blogspot

LOTUS SEEDS

These white seeds are gems of health indeed. The fox nuts or tal makhanas are low in cholesterol, fat and sodium, and make an ideal snack to munch during movies.

They have a natural flavonoid called kaempferol which is a great antioxidant that helps against ageing and can fight against cancer!

Lotus seeds are used in many dishes and here’s where you can use them too.

Makhane ki Kheer
This is a sweet that is rich not only in taste but also in desi ingredients. It uses jaiphal powder or nutmeg powder along with Makhanas to give a unique taste. You can read the recipe here.

Masala Makhana
A snack that will leave you feeling satiated and healthy at the same time. Tal makhana has almost a flavourless taste; this means when cooked with a certain mix of condiments, it gives off a taste that is delicious and addictive.

This simple dish only takes about ten minutes to make and will leave you wanting more.

Khoya Makhana
No Indian dish is complete without the sabji being used in gravy and Makhana is no exception. Fried in ghee, the Makhana is mixed with a concoction of ingredients that will delight your palate with any naan or roti.

You can read the recipe here.

Lotus plant leaves
From Left: Makhane ki Kheer, Makhana Masala, Khoya Makhana.
Source: TarlaDalal.com

The lotus is truly a versatile plant which can be used in various dishes for numerous health benefits. So go ahead, turn over a new leaf and try these dishes.

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)


Hey, like food science? Here is more: Cook up a Healthy Storm With These 5 Superfood Categories From the Himalayas!


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