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KAMAL KAKDI KOFTAS
(Lotus Stem Balls)
Lotus is India's revered and national flower. It is also known as Indian lotus or sacred lotus associated with Hindu Goddess Lakshmi (meant for wealth and prosperity). This unique Indian dish is an underrated gem made with 'kamal kakri' or Lotus stem.
These are typically 'koftas' or balls made with grated lotus plant's roots or stem cooked in an onion-tomato thick gravy with a distinct yet flavoursome appeal. Lotus stem is eaten across cultures in India, from south India in the form of Lotus root curry, or Kashmir’s Nadru, or North-Eastern crunchy snacks made of Lotus stem or simply in the form of pickles. The vegetable is so versatile that it can be steamed, deep-fried, braised or stir-fried and will taste delightful. Since Lotus stem is rich in nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, this recipe is a perfect source of protein for vegetarians and also helps regulate blood pressure.
● Lotus stem (250 grams) - cleaned soaked in water and grated
● Onions roughly chopped - 2 medium sized
● Tomatoes finely chopped - 4 medium sized
● Ginger chopped 1 tablespoon
● Green chillies - 2 to 3
● Gram flour (besan) 3 tablespoons
● Oil to deep fry
● 1 cinnamon stick
● 2 small pieces cardamom
● 1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
● 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (Dried fenugreek)
● Salt to taste
● Turmeric powder 1/2 teaspoon
● Coriander powder 2 tablespoons
● Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon
● Fresh coriander leaves
Squeeze excess water off the grated lotus stem. Put it in a large bowl along with gram flour, 1 tablespoon oil, salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Now, slowly pour ½ cup water and mix everything with your palms so that it sticks together to form a thick batter like consistency. Make bite sized balls and cover the balls with more gram flour. Heat oil for deep frying the balls (koftas). Once they turn golden, remove them from the hot oil and soak excess oil on a paper towel.
In another non-stick wok, heat 2 tablespoon oil and add 1 cinnamon stick 2 small pieces cardamom till they give a pleasant fragrance. Add the chopped onion and saute till golden. Put chopped ginger and green chillies and then tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook well.
Add fennel powder, dried fenugreek, salt to taste, turmeric powder, coriander and red chilli powder. Mix well and add 2 cups of water for the gravy. Let it boil and come to a soup like consistency. Add the kofta balls and let it simmer for a while so that the balls absorb some gravy. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with hot chapatis, paranthas or even steamed 'basmati' rice. Relish.