Lotus stem (also wrongly called as lotus root) is very popularly used as a vegetable in India and is also used by many other Asian countries like Japan and China. Lotus stem (English Name) as the name suggests is the stem of lotus flower whose scientific name is Nelumbo Nucifera. Lotus stem has a sweet, mild and crunchy taste and is very, very rich in nutrients. It is called Kamal Kakdi | Kamal Kakri in Hindi, Nadru in Kashmir, Renkon in Japan and Thamarai Thandu in Tamil. Many refer to these stems as lotus roots but in reality they are the rhizomes (modified stems) of lotus plant and the real roots are thin and are found beneath the stem buried inside the soil. Lotus plants are grown commercially for harvesting the stem in countries like Japan where it is used extensively in cooking. Though we don’t get lotus stem very commonly here in India, last week when I went to my local town, I saw lotus stems placed in a huge bucket filled with water. I was overjoyed and got a few for cooking at home. Lotus stems are long, plump and are light brown color and the height of the stem can vary between 2 to 4 meters. When you peel the outer skin and then chop into pieces, you will find small holes inside which makes it look beautiful and unique. The holes are nothing but air cubicles that run through the entire stem. This unassuming vegetable is packed full of nutrition and if you read it’s nutritional values, you will be impressed like me too. Nutritional Value Of Lotus Stem: 100 grams of lotus stem have around 74 calories, 17 grams of carbs, 2.5 grams of protein, 5 grams of finer and .1 grams of fat. It is also rich in zinc (.39 mg), manganese (.261 mg), magnesium (23mg), iron (1.16mg), copper (.25mg), potassium (556mg), sodium (40 mg) and vitamin C (44 mg). In addition, lotus stem is also rich in niacin, pyridoxine, thiamin and selenium! Here are some of the health benefits of lotus stem: 1. Lotus Stem For Constipation: Lotus stems are very high in fiber, dietary fiber adds bulk and helps in passing the stools easily and will greatly prevent constipation. It also promotes digestive health. 2. Lotus Stem For Hair & Skin: Lotus stem is very rich in vitamin C (more than 70 % of the daily recommended value). Vitamin C is a wonderful antioxidant and it prevents free radical damage greatly. It also helps in collagen production which is very essential for healthy skin, hair and bones. Also it is rich in copper which is very essential for healthy hair. You can read that study that proves it’s antioxidant properties here. 3. Lotus Stem For Lowering Cholesterol: Any food that is rich in dietary fiber helps in lowering cholesterol. Fiber binds with the fat in the food thus greatly reducing the overall absorption of fat in the body. Regular intake of fiber rich foods like lotus stem and banana stem in the diet along with drastically cutting down on processed food will go a long way in keeping us healthy. 4. Lotus Stem For Weight Loss: Being rich in fiber, low in calories and very high in nutrients, it a perfect food to be included in a weight loss diet plan. Consume roti along with lotus stem sabzi and you will be fuller for longer periods of time without having the urge to snack in between. 5. Lotus Stem & Vitamin B: Lotus stem is rich, in fact very rich in vitamin B especially niacin, folate, vitamin B6, thiamin & pantothenic acid whose deficiency will lead to irritability, memory loss, tension and headaches. To reduce stress and have mental clarity we should consume vitamin B rich vegetable like lotus stem. 6. Lotus Stem For Regulating Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar: Lotus stem is especially useful for diabetes and high blood pressure patients as it helps regulate both blood sugar levels and blood pressure, since it is rich in potassium it helps regulate blood pressure very effectively. You can read the study that proves it’s use for diabetes here. In addition, lotus stem has anti bacterial and anti viral properties and regular consumption will improve immunity greatly. How To Buy Lotus Stem? When selecting lotus stem, make sure to buy ones that are firm, tender and does not have soft spots. The skin should be smooth and unblemished. We also get tinned lotus stem (I would suggest not using tinned) and frozen lotus stem too, but in India it is hard to get frozen lotus stem. How To Cook Lotus Stem? I have given a recipe for lotus stem sabzi that I make at home below but you can also add it to salads and it can be pickled too. Lotus Stem Side Effects: Lotus stem is very high in fiber so slowly increase the quantity for your body to get used to the fiber. Also try not to eat raw lotus stems. Since it grows in the mud, it is really hard to clean it well and the chances of getting parasitic infection is very high when consuming uncooked lotus stem. Especially pregnant women should not consume raw lotus stem….
Kamal Kakdi Sabzi Recipe | Lotus Stem Sabzi Recipe:
1. Before using the lotus stem, wash them in water well to get rid of any dirt and then cut the end parts on both sides.
2. Now peel off the outer brownish skin with a peeler, yow will find white stem inside.
3. Cut into thin rounds, you can cut it slantingly too.
4. Wash in water again to remove any dirt.
5. Now boil in water till it gets cooked, you can also pressure cook it. Don’t throw away the water it is cooked in, add it to the gravy along with the cooked lotus stem.
6. My kamal kakdi sabzi: For the gravy, saute 1 large onion, 3 tomatoes, a small piece ginger and 3 garlic cloves (garlic and ginger pounded together) in little oil and grind it finely in a mixer. Heat oil in a pan and add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder (make sure to keep the flame on low and don’t burn the powders). Once the raw smell of the powders goes, add in the ground mixture and salt and boil till thick. Once thick, add in the cooked lotus stem along with cooked water and 1/2 tsp of garam masala powder. Cook till it forms a semi gravy, finally garnish with coriander leaves. A simple but very healthy sabzi….