Archive for April 8, 2007

Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables ~ K is for Kamal Kakri

lotus root
the beautiful shapes of sliced lotus root

lotus root pakoras
snow-white inside, golden-crispy outside

It’s Saturday again — time for lovely Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables!

“K” is for kamal kakri, or lotus root. Widely known in Asia, it is just one of many edible parts of the perennial plant classified as nelumbo nucifera. Lotus root has a fairly bland taste, with a texture somewhere between that of a potato and a water chestnut. Wiki states that lotus root (actually a rhizome) has been found to be rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C, among other nutrients, as well as low in fat.

What’s that you say? A nutritious vegetable that is low in fat??? I can fix that 🙂

lotus root pakoras
spicy lotus root pakoras

The shape of lotus root is so lovely; it always seems a shame to chop it up. I decided to be decadent and fry the slices whole, as pakoras. I was really excited about the batter — an experiment that turned out better than any I’ve made yet. I was in the mood for something spicy and feeling lazy, so I used Badshah meat masala in the mix, and plenty of it. You could use any blend you prefer. Lotus root mimics potato in holding its shape for frying; unlike potato, it retains its crunchy texture inside. I wanted my son to try one, so I told him it was a french fry. He promptly gobbled it up and then told me it was good, but undercooked 😉

Lotus Root Pakoras

1/2 – 3/4c sliced lotus root (mine was water-packed from an oriental market — fresh would need to be cleaned and boiled)

1/3 c besan
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 TB rice flour
1 TB thin poha
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp Badshah meat masala (or any spice mix you prefer)

6 TB water

oil for deep-frying

Sift the besan and baking powder into a bowl. Add the rice flour, poha, salt and spices and mix well. Add the water, 1 TB at a time, until you have a medium thick batter. Let the batter rest 15 min.

Lay the sliced lotus root between paper towels to absorb moisture — this helps the batter adhere.

In a kadai or other deep pan, heat oil for deep-frying over medium heat. When the oil is ready, dip the slices into the batter and drain the excess before sliding into the oil. Fry slowly on medium heat about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain well on more paper towels, sprinkle with salt if desired, and serve hot.

lotus root pakoras on Imperial glass
crispy pakoras of crunchy lotus root and yogurt mixed with cilantro chutney ~ served on a canary yellow Twisted Optic snack set by Imperial Glass, circa 1920

Thank you, Nupur, for this continuing alphabetical adventure!

And now I must hop off to the bunny-hole, for even teenagers like candy on Easter morning. For those celebrating, have a Happy Easter, and for those who are not, have a Happy Weekend!


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